How To Choose a Web Host for your Parish

If your parish has a website (and you really do need one) you need to have web hosting. Web hosting is basically where your website lives, it’s a server, it just serves out your site to whomever comes to it.

Web hosts vary in size and quality, there are a number of thing you should be looking for:

Support.

If your site is inaccessible, or you have been hacked, or your email isn’t working. Is there 24 hour support that you can email, what about call, or live chat with.

Data capabilities

If you already have a site, and you have a lot of content, do they have the size for you, or room to expand, if you expand will it mean you has to leave them?

If you don’t already have a website (agin, you really, really need one), she. You will need to guess at what you will need. Take into account that most hosts will also include your email boxes in their total storage available. For example, if you have 10 x 1 GB email accounts, then you will need 10 GB plus what you need for storing your site.

Uptime

Check in on a hosts uptime, usually it is front and center. If not, look for one that does.

Storage and Bandwidth

Are you storing original sized photos, and lots of he video, the you will need both bandwidth (the pipe) and the space (the sink) to host all of that. I usually recommend that churches host small and place their heavy content on shareable services like YouTube, Vimeo, audiofile, these services would continue to have your content available even if you switch services or your server goes down.

Varial Hosting based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan has it’s servers in Canada, and their plans are a great starting point. I have used Varial on many occasions for hosting clients websites. They really have been around for ever.

Location

If you are in Canada, keep your data in Canada. It will usually mean that you have to pay a bit of premium, but if your data needs to have privacy keep in here. Simplified, American laws allows for any data on an American server to be taken and duplicated without your permission or knowledge.

If you are in the US, keep this in mind as well.

Costs

Cheap is not the best judge of character. Starting from three dollars to higher priced packages. Look at quality vs discount prices.

Again, Varial Hosting is really a great option for your church to get going on your first website.

Shared or dedicated.

A shared server means that your data is hosted on the same server as a few or many other businesses, sometimes it can be in the 1000s of other websites. You are all separate, but on the same server. Usually this is cheaper, but other clients can degrade the speed of the server, or even take it offline. However, unless you have a lot of e-commerce going on, this option is perfect for parish websites, it is low-cost, and pretty reliable performance.

I recommend and have worked with multiple clients on Varial Hosting. It’s a local, medium-sized hosting company with attention to detail. Their owner works directly with the server and the clients to be sure that their needs are met. Response is quick.

Up next: How to Set Up a Parish Website with New Media

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Cary Molyneux

I'm a freelance designer in Saskatoon, SK. I work in both web and print. I also work with organizations for ongoing website assistance, like webmastering, and site updating. PHP, ColdFusion, MySQL and more.

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