Web Hosting for Web Designers and Web Developers In the world of web hosting, there are many types of customers. Many will be satisfied with any type of service they are given but there are some who only want the very best in quality. Many of the customers who demand the highest quality in service and features are web designers and web developers. These customers often want prompt and knowledgeable technical support, large amounts of webspace andbandwidth, the ability to resell their web hosting plans, lenient CPU and RAM usage quotas, and the most in terms of featured and platforms supported. If you are one of these customers, you may find that hosting to suit your needs is hard to get. In this article, we will look at many of the features you are looking for and suggest some hosts that might be fit for you.
Web designers and developers are one of the few types of web hosting clients who may need large amounts of space and bandwidth, especially if they design and develop with high-bandwidth programs such as Macromedia Flash. Designers and developers will often want to display their work for the public to see in order to show off their skills and attract more clients. More often than not this means large files for people to download and demo. This can potentially be a major bandwidth-eater in terms of the hosting plan. If the web designer or developer writes some truly popular templates of scripts for the public to use, then he or she can be looking at bandwidth usage in the range of several hundred gigabytes or even well into the tera-byte range. The space concern that many developers and designers have directly ties in with their ability to resell their hosting. Since these types of customers will most likely have many clients of their own, they will want to be able to sell separate smaller accounts off of their clients. Since many of their clients themselves may have large files that they host, this could quickly pile up in terms of disk space usage. Because of the disk space and bandwidth requirements and the need to be able to resell space, you as a developer or designer will probably want to opt for some kind of reseller plan from a host. Look for a reseller plan that has a decent amount of space(2-6GB) and bandwidth(100-300GB) to start off and upgrade your plan as the need arises. Do not buy huge plans at the beginning otherwise you will be wasting your money.
The next concern for developers and designers is CPU and RAM usage. This is especially true since web developers host many of their clients and any one of these clients could get suspended for excessive CPU/RAM usage. This is also the main reason you do not want to buy an overly cheap plan from a massive overselling host. Such hosts simply pile too many clients onto the same server and have frequent downtimes and network outages because of this. In general, the % of CPU and RAM that resellers are allowed to use are generally greater than the % that regular shared accounts are allowed to use but there are still limits. Before buying a reseller account, ask the hosting company what their limits are for reseller accounts and how they handle account suspensions. You’ll want a host that allows you to use 7% or more of the total server resources in peak hours. Hosts also handle account suspensions on sub-accounts of resellers differently. Some will suspend the account without your notice while others will work with you and your client to investigate and remove the content in question. You should always go with a host that follows the second route as I know many designers/developers who have lost a significant number of clients and gained a undeserved reputation because of their host suspending client accounts without notice. You should also look for a host that lets you keep track of overall resource usage on your account. This usually only comes with VPS accounts but there are a few reseller accounts that offer this feature. This way you can spot potentially troublesome accounts and deal with the issues before they reach the surface.
Another thing for designers/developers to look out for is technical support. This may actually be the most important of things to look for in a webhost. Because you will potentially have many clients that you are reselling your webspace to, the chances are pretty good that one of them will suffer some kind of database error or outage at some point along the line. Since you are on a regular reseller account and do not have root access into the server, you will many times not be able to fix this problem and will need good technical support in order to not lose your clients. Technical support staff for resellers need to have superior knowledge when compared to support staff for regular shared accounts because of the complexity of problems you will run into regarding your clients. They need to have knowledgeable about scripts, optimizations, and common server errors that scripts like WordPress will run into to be able to give adequate support. To get a good idea of the quality of a host’s technical support staff, go around to forums such as webhostingtalk.com and ask the staff some questions yourself before you sign up. A good technical support staff is priceless in times of crisis.
While technical support, CPU/RAM, and space/bandwidth issues are important, the first thing you need to decide as a web designer/developer is what kind of platform you want to be hosting on. This usually comes down to Linux or Windows. This mostly depends on what type of language you want to be developing in. If you are looking to primarily develop in PHP, a Linux platform is the way to go. If you are looking to develop in ASP or .NET, then you’ll want a windows platform. If you are looking for a budget option, you’ll probably want to go Linux as Linux plans are somewhat cheaper than Windows plans. When looking at the platform, also look to see if the host has optimizations in place such as Zend optimizer as this will help a lot with the CPU/RAM usage of your account.
Now that we have looked at what designers/developers need, let look at a few companies that might fit you in terms of hosting.
1. Hostgator– Normally I would advise against over-sellers but the general opinion of Hostgator has been pretty good. Most people report that they have adequate technical support and good uptime. Their reseller packages start at $24.95 and only offers 250GB bandwidth but considering the fact that you will be hosting many people, that is a very good deal for the price. This is probably one of the best bang for the buck plans in terms of resellers. You can also upgrade to their dedicated plans once you outgrow the reseller plan.
2. Mosso– An expensive option at $100/month but one that gives you 80GB of managed space and 2TB of bandwidth. The thing that makes Mosso so appealing is that you can run ASP and PHP, Linux or Windowsapplications on it at the same time. I would love to give my whole-hearted recommendation to these guys but they still have some trouble with their new setup which have impacted a decent number of clients. If they ever get these worked out, definitely give them a look
3. Downtownhost– Downtown host has reseller plans starting at $16.95 for 5GB space and 60GB bandwidth. While price per GB does not pan out in this host’s favor when compared to other hosts, the quality of technical support and customer service is unquestionable. This host is highly regarded in many web hosting circles and can be considered a premium(although more expensive) web hosting provider.
4. Gate2vn– This is the host I personally use both for my arcade sites and for my PHP development site. I have been with them for over 2 years with very few complaints. Network uptime is great and technical support is always there for me. Starting at $25/month for 3GB space and 120GB bandwidth for resellers, they are also on the expensive side but they are a good host to put your trust in.
5. Media Layer– The most expensive out of the group of hosts I recommend but probably the best for serious application hosting. Hosting prices here are about $.80 for every gigabyte of bandwidth used. However, this host’s service comes with all the optimizations and safety precautions for intense application hosting. CPU/RAM usage allowances are also higher here than most other places and they have great technical support. If you plan to run intense applications, this is the host I would suggest.
For web designers and developers looking for a new webhost, these are the five I would suggest. There are many other out there that are good but I cannot vouch for their service. Look around in web hosting forums for advice and talk in-depth with sales and support staff before you buy. Do not rush in and buy a hosting plan before doing the required homework or you may be sorry in the future.