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Why host your website instead of using a website-builder?
You have decided to choose to create a website by your own means or through a CMS. Know that it is possible to host your site for free with a subdomain on most major platforms like Wix, Wordpress and others. We compared these website-builder here.
But if you want a proper domain name, and not a subdomain name then it will be cheaper to take a hosting and create your site with a CMS: a tool (like Wordpress, the most used CMS) that allows to create sites without needing to code.
A subdomain does not look very professional, unlike a domain name : shoes-michel.wix.com (subdomain of wix) is less seller than shoes-michel.com - own domain name.
To have a domain name on Wix for example, without advertising, you have to pay 8.25 € per month while shared hosting offers start at just 1€ per month. While in terms of management, this does not require much extra time, if any.
The solution to reduce costs: take a shared hosting. Shared simply means here that you share the resources of a server with other users.
We have therefore compiled a comparison of the cheapest hosting providers to host a site of small size: blog, corporate showcase site or even small e-commerce site.
Because there is no point in getting alarmed by giving in to the sirens of overpriced offers on the pretext that you are thinking of creating the future Facebook. Start small and change your formula if necessary when the time comes is the best advice to avoid putting the cart before the horse, so as not to kill his project with costs that it is possible to minimize without creating a problem.
The criteria used for the selection of shared hosting
To host a small site, the bare minimum is enough. As we only selected one offer per hosting provider (in order to make the comparison readable) we have proceeded to a selection of disciminating criteria. We have determined that the following criteria are required:
Having a domain name included is a plus that inevitably increases the price of the offer. Please note that a domain name costs about 10€ excl. tax per year. I did say a year! It's not expensive.
Not all hosts are registrars, i.e. registrars authorized to deliver domain names. So if some offer do not include a domain name it is not necessarily a choice of the publisher but only an inability on his part.
You can in any case buy a domain name elsewhere than at the hosting provider that you will choose. There are often promotional offers on domain names.
The simplicity is however to take everything at the same place, so when an offer includes a domain name offered the first year and / or renewal - the purchase of a domain name is done all year-round - so you might as well jump at the opportunity, that simplifies the procedures.
"Already, 150Mo is a big blog […]"
Only if you have a large number of photos, videos or large files to host should you turn to offers with high storage capacity.
MySQL & PHP database
The vast majority of sites work with these technologies. The database (managed via MySQL) is used to store information (site name, passwords, articles, etc.) when PHP is the language that allows - among other things - to interact with this database.
It is therefore imperative that the offer chosen has a capacity of at least one database. For information it is possible to put several Wordpress sites on a single database, just give a different table prefix. This is mentioned when the project is created.
On a small project you rarely create many addresses. Often only one address like [email protected] mysite.com is enough. Hence our decision to select any offer proposing at least one email address. Many hosting providers, like OVH and 1&1 - heavyweights in the sector - manage email accounts separately, this means that it is possible to increase your number of email accounts without changing your project contract. This flexibility is pleasant.
Neophytes, note that an email account is different from an email. An email account is an email address.
It is so difficult to know how to quantify the bandwidth quota needed for a site that we prefer offers with unlimited bandwidth. You can therefore receive as many visitors as you wish.
In fact, as soon as your site will start pumping a little too much compared to what you pay, the host will quickly ask you to upgrade your account. This happened to me at 1&1 with the site on which you read these lines: from shared to dedicated server 1, then 2, etc.. I ended up at OVH; but that's another story.
In short, remember that unlimited means "as long as it corresponds to what you pay". In brief, as long as you do not have 1000 visitors / day, any offer should be sufficient. Few sites make 1K visitors per day. Even less from their creation so don't stress for the bandwidth, you will have time to adapt ;)
Primordial is FTP access would say Master Yoda, without that no possible manual transfer of files to your site. This is so important that all offers include at least 1 FTP account. Having multiple accounts is just a luxury. As several people can use a single account (certainly not at the same time, but you don't spend your life on an FTP) it's enough to start.
Having several FTP accounts is useful to separate access to different projects and therefore allows a tightness conducive to a healthy security: you can then give each of your customers an FTP account to exchange files.
Being able to manage several domain names via a hosting is very practical but in the absolute a project is often linked to a single site. So we have not set a low limit for this criteria, to be able to manage a single site being already sufficient for many projects.
Of course, if you have a multi-site project in mind, pay particular attention to this option.
Having an SSL certificate will allow you to have a site accessible in HTTPS rather than HTTP. So you will have a "secure" logo with the green padlock to the left of your URL in the address bar of your browser - as you can see netbusinessrating has an SSL certificate.
To be honest, SSL management is difficult to estimate as long as you have not taken a hosting. Each hosting provider will offer you its solution. For this rasion we did not choose the presence of SSL directly in the hosting provider's offer as a predominant criteria.
If you don't have a green padlock, nobody will blame you as long as you don't manage sensitive data. But today, with the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation, which is a European regulation ) what is more, data security is at the heart of any great web project that respects itself. But who says big project also says dedicated server at least, so we are not talking here about a crucial point for a shared server hosting.
In short, you don't do e-commerce? Then forget SSL. You want to sell online and store important information about your users, go to HTTPS.
Why not take a free web hosting?
Of course you can, but as the saying goes:
When it's free, you're the product!
Free hosting providers do exist, there are even some very good ones, like 000webhost.com, Hostinger's sub-brand.
The snag? One of these elements will necessarily bother you because a free hosting can:
- Post advertising on your site
- Not guarantee a site accessible 24 hours a day
- Confine yourself to a sub-domain
This last option is the case of the aforementioned 000webhost. Wix puts advertising on your pages (free) and some cut your site one hour a day.
The presence of one of these 3 elements in a formula makes it unsuitable for a professional project.
Therefore we have excluded (at least for the moment) all free offers from our comparative list to let you to choose the best hosting provider for your website.