How to define the best website hosting?
This question is perfectly normal, don’t worry. If you are looking for a host or a hosting modality for your projects, but do not have enough information for decision making, this content was created especially for you.
Some points are more relevant than others when it comes to hosting packages and data centers, and this variation will be determined by the type of project versus the characteristics of each host.
But as a rule, these are the main points to be evaluated:
- Total Visits / Accesses
- Concurrent Visits / Accesses
- Data traffic
- Disk Space
- Domains and Subdomains
- Security Certificate (SSL)
- Server Location
- SLA and Uptime
For a better understanding of the content, we will address each point individually. 😉
Total Visits / Accesses
Total visits or accesses are the sum of all accesses for the stipulated period (usually this data is treated monthly), regardless of the device, whether desktop (PC’s and notebooks), mobile (smartphones) or tablet.
Some data centers / servers limit the amount of total accesses, to 1,000 accesses, for example. If the website or online store reaches the limit established by the server, the platform becomes inaccessible. This can occur through an error screen, such as the page not found (Error 404), the timeout or connection timeout (Error 500), or the service temporarily unavailable (Error 503). It can also happen the simple fact that the page is loading, loading, and does not open, without even presenting any error screen to the user.
Without going into too much depth, imagine yourself as an e-commerce owner, whose total number of accesses has reached the limit imposed by the server on the 18th, with 12 more days to end the monthly hosting cycle. More than losing pageviews, you will lose sales, with your revenue being harmed.
Another important detail on this point, is that it usually causes confusion, is the difference between visit and visitor, as well as the particularities arising from this situation. A visit consists of access to a specific platform, and from that point on, that user becomes a visitor. A visitor can make as many visits as he deems necessary, each of which will impact the number of visits or total accesses that the platform reached during the selected period (day, week, month, among others).
Among the particularities arising from the aforementioned, we will address only that of unique visitors or unique accesses. The unique visitor is the user who, regardless of the number of accesses or devices used, is counted only once. Access management and analysis tools, such as Google Analytics, report this data by differentiating total accesses from single accesses.
Concurrent Visits / Accesses
Concurrent visits or accesses are users who access the platform at the same time, in the same second, regardless of the device. Some servers count the number of simultaneous requests (requests) instead of the accesses, which in this case, is more advantageous for the server’s client, because through an optimized programming, a website or virtual store can have the number of requests decreased, maximizing thus simultaneous accesses and also total accesses as a result.
It is customary for the hosting market to limit requests and simultaneous access. The negative effects, if the limits are exceeded, are: the site will be slow, for opening and loading, for the period that peak demand occurs.
This requirement can also harm those who own or intend to have a virtual store. Despite the lesser penalty, it is a period whose inactivity can lead to a drop in revenue.
Data traffic is the amount of information that passes between the server hosting the website or online store, and the user’s device. Both the information sent and received are included in this equation. It is literally a two-way street for exchanging data.
Basically any and all access generates data traffic, what changes is the volume of information exchanged, which in turn varies according to the number of pages and content accessed by the user. The more content is accessed, the greater the data traffic. The type of content also influences this mathematics, with content in video format, which most consumes the data traffic limit.
Data traffic can also decide the number of total or simultaneous accesses. Each data center stipulates a traffic limit, and its customers must follow this restriction in order not to have their website or online store down or access blocked. In this case, an average is made between the result of dividing the total accesses by the amount of data hosted. Basically, if a website’s home has 10MB and normally that website has 500 hits monthly, at the end of the month it will have generated 4.8GB traffic. It is an illustrative account that does not represent the real, as the data received or collected from users, the amount of data sent and received by email accounts, and also the traffic via FTP, which also impact the amount of traffic Dice.
A tip for this specific issue is to try to use hosting and streaming video platforms, such as Youtube and Vimeo. In such cases, regardless of the number of hits or views of the video, the traffic from your hosting package will not be used, as the video is hosted on these platforms, and your website is just a place to redirect or display the content.
Disk space is the amount of MB or GB that has been allocated on the server to host the information on your website or online store. All content, programming and database formats count here. For some data centers, this space is also accounted for creating accounts and storing e-mails.
The variation of the sizes of the disk space occurs through the packages of services or products. The current offer of packages in the hosting market is quite diverse, with variations ranging from 10GB to 100GB for basic packages, and from 25GB to 200GB for more advanced plans.
The disk size must be defined according to the needs of your platform. An institutional website does not need a very large space, unlike an online store, as each product can have several photos and videos. The tip is to check the size of your platform and add it to the size of the database, and then check which plan will meet your need.
What backup is, everyone already knows, as well as the importance of doing it regularly. Despite this and unfortunately, not every data center backs up the structure of its customers, nor does it even provide this tool, either as a function assigned to the hosting package or as an extra service sold separately.
It is worth mentioning that no data center is obliged to back up its customers’ platforms, or even provide this service. This is because the responsibility for the information hosted on the leased platforms is the responsibility of the customers. However, it is a tool that provides more security and agility, because in case of problems, customers find in backups a quick and efficient solution.
Having this tool available, the main thing is to organize a backup routine. An efficient routine is to structure daily bacukps for 7 days in a row, subscribing to the next backup over the oldest. This way you will always have a ready-to-use backup, almost immediately of all the last 7 working days or of information, changes or additions to the platform. This drastically minimizes job losses and consequently rework, an extremely costly factor for any service provider.
Domains and Subdomains
Domain is the name given to your company or project on the internet. It is everything that appears after the “www” in the case of web addresses, and after the “@” in the case of emails. Domain names allow for a multitude of combinations, due to extensions. Some extensions indicate the country of origin of the domain, such as “.br” to indicate that it is a Brazilian domain, and “.uk” for the United Kingdom, for example. Others point to possible segments of activity, such as “arq.br”, for Brazilian architects. But there are also so-called special extensions, which enable an even more expressive representation of the segment, such as “www.xyz.store”, for example.
The amounts to register or renew an international or special domain change depending on the extension, and can vary from R$ 14.99 to R$ 2,000.00 or more (values based on dollars, according to the quotation on the day of publication of this content). For national domains, the price is unique and does not vary depending on the extension. Each and every domain works on an annual cycle system, that is, it is necessary to make only one payment per year to keep the domain under your ownership with exclusive right to use. Speaking of payment, it is crucial to stress how delicate this issue is. Reason: one of the most used scams on the internet is sending fake slips for payment of registration or domain renewal. In case of doubt, pay only the slips sent or made available through the website that made the registration, or through your data center (if they perform this service) or through the DEV or development company that serves you.
Subdomain is everything before the domain name. The most used subdomain on the internet is “www.”, But here it is also possible to have infinite possibilities. This is because this variety has opened space to work with different objectives, that is, with an assertive subdomain, organic traffic can be generated or even the use of numerous tools or systems, individually, without compromising any coding structure or database. . Examples of subdomains: “blog.meusitenovo.com.br” for blog, or “nfe.minhalojavirtual.com.br” for invoice issuing system.
The choice for a data center that provides domain search and registration allows for easier management, as it centralizes services (hosting and domain registration) in one environment or supplier. That is the main advantage in this regard. Another important situation for decision making regarding the data center to be contracted, is the number of domains and subdomains that the package allows, because if you plan to use more than one domain or subdomain, this can become a problem if you do not observe this detail before hiring.
Security Certificate (SSL)
The security certificate or SSL, of the acronym in English for Secure Socket Layer, is a tool created to authenticate the identity of the platform (blog, website, online store or system) and enable more security in the data traffic between it and the user. Its function is basically to encrypt information from end to end, preventing criminals from using it if they manage to intercept and view it.
Identifying the use of SSL is very simple. In any browser, after accessing the desired platform, check the left side of the address bar to see if the padlock appeared, and if there is “https: //” before the domain. An important fact is that most browsers are blocking access to the platform that does not have SSL installed. Currently, it doesn’t matter if your platform generates a large volume of data or not, maintaining their security is essential.
There are some types of security certificates, and they vary according to the validations performed, and they are: domain (validates the domain), organization (validates the company), extended (validates the domain, platform and organization), multi-domains (valid until 100 different domains and subdomains) and wildcard (valid subdomains of the same domain).
Other differences between them are the number of validated domains and subdomains, the issuing time, the level of encryption (some use 256-bit encryption, others use 2048 bits), compatibility with web and mobile browsers, and lastly, the guarantee. Yes! There are security certificates that guarantee insurance of up to U $ 1,750,000 in case of breach of encryption, interception or capture of data.
Prioritize plans that include the security certificate in the package of services offered. If your project or platform has higher needs in terms of security, preferably by data center that also offer the purchase of certificates, as the installation and configuration of SSL is not so simple and, as your platform is already in the same structure, this supplier will be able to perform this service more easily and assertively. Google has given preference to platforms that have SSL in the delivery of searches, that is, this can also impact the organic SEO of your company or project.
The server location is important for two situations: support and latency / ping. The closer the server is to the visitor, the more agile it will be to open and navigate, making it possible for ping to remain low most of the time. Servers installed and operating in Brazil have a lower average ping. In the case of servers anchored in the USA, for example, the average ping is 150 ms (150 milliseconds).
Pay attention to the physical address of the company and the location of the server before closing the contract. This information must be clear and accessible. Remember that the opening fee of a website or online store is extremely decisive for the stay of the visitor. The higher (time consuming) the opening rate, the higher the bounce rate.
As for support, prioritize data centers that offer support in your language, and preferably with several options of service channels, such as chat, WhatsApp, phone, email, website, or knowledge base. In times of crisis, support will be your lifesaver, so having quick and easy access will be decisive.
Support is the customer service channel in case of doubts or crises. It must be easily accessible, regardless of the relevance of the hosted platform, the number of accesses, the size of the database or the language used in the development. This will be the department that will assist you in optimizing resources, solving problems or clarifying doubts.
This is the main factor or one of the most important in deciding which data center to hire. Transparency and commitment are the watchwords. All assistance must be clear and direct, actually addressing the real problem, without inaccurate or fanciful answers.
The support structure must also be analyzed, to check if the service channels are sufficient and effective, anticipating situations where it is necessary to contact this department. Allowing requests or opening of tickets through different channels, such as those mentioned in the previous item (Server Location) are essential. As well as providing extra support and training materials, such as FAQ, tutorials or knowledge base.
Another item to be analyzed is the support team. Find out if the data center has agents with the capabilities that your company or project needs. Being more specific, try to find out if the data center has dev’s / programmers among the members of your team, since the vast majority of technical problems are more easily solved with more qualified support.
Charging is something that generally does not demand much attention when hiring a hosting plan, but this attitude should be avoided. Collection is a delicate and important issue due to some aspects that can, in specific situations, even bring losses to the operation or project.
In the case of data centers based in Brazil, which charge in reais and also issue invoices for the provision of services, these create the best scenario for the tax / accounting issue. The problem is when you, as a PJ (legal entity), hire a data center based abroad, which only allows billing in dollars (or any other foreign currency) and does not issue invoices for services. The taking of services abroad generates the payment of taxes, which are: IRRF, PIS, COFINS and ISS. According to Brazilian law, the payment of these taxes is the responsibility of the service provider, however, as the provider is headquartered abroad, it becomes exempt from our legislation, and the collection of taxes will be made to the service taker, or that is, your company. Ditto for situations where the data center based abroad allows billing in reais.
This tax trap can harm a project to the point of making it unfeasible, as well as inducing the company to a considerable loss. This is because hosting is generally a monthly paid service. Imagine that negative impact multiplied by 12! For it is this exact scenario that must be faced, since it will impact the company’s annual balance sheet.
Unquestionable the importance of charging for the decision on which plan or data center will be contracted. More than calculating the basic costs of the operation and ensuring that it generates profits for the company, it should be avoided that this contracting generates losses with extra charges. Of course, in situations where costs are passed on to customers, this is no longer a tax problem, but it becomes a commercial problem, as the values of their services may rise to the point of losing their competitive capacity.
Uptime and SLA
Uptime is basically the time spent online guaranteed by the data center, that is, it is the amount of time, by specific period (day, month, week or year), that the data center assumes to the contractor that its services will remain available. This number is presented as a percentage, and currently most data centers claim to have a 98% minimum uptime.
The SLA that we are going to address in this content is related to the time of completion of calls in the support department. This count is performed from the receipt or opening of the ticket / ticket, until the conclusion of the service in question. As a rule, the hosting market installed an SLA of 1 hour to start the service, and 3 to 48 hours for the conclusion. This variation in time is due to different levels of complexity for performing tasks. The final SLA time is different between data centers, and the longer, the longer it will take for support to solve the problem.
These are two important points that can impact your business. A data center with low uptime can bring a drop in sales in your online store, for example. In the case of SLA, having a high index translates into a long and inefficient support. It is important to note that the maintenance time, which is necessary for any server, is counted within the uptime, as well as possible internal and external problems that can make the hosting service unstable or inaccessible.
Only the day-to-day usage experience, which will make sure that the data center you are willing to hire, has good uptime and SLA numbers. If this information is not explicit, with easy access, an alternative is to seek evaluations and testimonials on social media channels, company profile on Google or even on complaints sites, such as Reclame Aqui, for example. In them, you will be able to see the experiences of each user who had a problem, if it was attended to, and how the problem was solved.
That’s it folks!
These are important points that must be evaluated and, yes, influence the decision of which data center will be hired, based on the premise of which one best meets your need.