Hosting Buyers Guide

When you take your business online, be it in the form of full website, or simply a more professional email address, you need to source a hosting provider.

Choosing your hosting provider may seem to be a daunting task, however it does not have to be that way.

In this article we will go over some of the key points you should consider and clarify some of the terms.

What is hosting?

  • Do you already have a domain name?
  • If you do not, do you wish to register a .ie, .eu, or the .com/.biz ?

upwards, depending on the reseller, while .com domains are available for .

When registering a domain ensure that the administrative contact is you and notsee what other people are saying about them

  • FTP: File transfer protocol. You will need this to upload content to your site
  • Disk space: The amount of space allocated to your account.
  • Bandwidth: The amount of data you are allowed to transfer per month. A busy site with lots of images will need more bandwidth than a small site with lots of text.
  • POP/SMTP: Email. POP (or POP3) usually refers to your mailbox, while SMTP is used for sending mail. Check how many are offered with the hosting plans. Most hosts will allow you to add more or upgrade as your business grows.
  • Webmail
  • Windows & Linux: Operating systems. Unless you are doing something very complicated, or need a particular scripting language, there is no difference between them from a hosting perspective. One or two technologies are Windows (Microsoft) specific, such as ASP and


If, however, you need to put together a more complex site with an online shop you will probably need more disk space and database support. Databases commonly available include: MySQL, MS SQL, PostGres and Access.  Should you wish to gather sensitive information, such as credit card details, you will need an and a fixed IP address. A 128 bit SSL cert can cost from per annum upwards. If you are confused by the choices there is a clear guide available at:

If you are not sure about something do not be afraid to ask your host to explain it. If they cannot explain it, then maybe it is time to move on.

by Michele Neylon, Managing Director, Blacknight Internet Solutions Ltd

This article originally appeared in the IIA magazine "Net Gain".

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