If you help operate a website for an institution of higher learning, you have plenty of obstacles and challenges. Whether you are a state-funded university, community college, or even a small private accredited university, your website is a key tool for marketing, information delivery, and communication. University classes change every term. Student accounts come and go. And you may have thousands of hits per month just from prospective enrollees!
With all this frequent updating of your website, you need a web hosting service that can keep up with you. Below we have listed what we believe to be a few of the most important aspects of a web host you should seek.
Whether you are the webmaster or an IT administrator, you will need easy access to your website to perform all the updates necessary to keep it up to date. The choice of control panel that your web host provides is therefore extremely important.
You want one that is both easy to navigate and control. Top control panel software like cPanel and Parallel’s Plesk are great choices because they are configurable and provide easy access to all web management functions.
Your university likely has plenty of data it needs to share on your website. You have teacher bios, classroom information, and potentially thousands of new class descriptions every term.
Be sure your web host supports unlimited MySQL databases so you can frequently update, post, and archive your database information.
With so much information, you need search functions to pull the data for your website visitors. Your web hosting company must support scripting like Java, Pearl, and others so you have the ability to pull and present data from all those databases.
You’ll need plenty of support for email accounts for all your staff, faculty, and ever-changing student base. These accounts change and update frequently. Partner with a web host who provides unlimited email, giving you access to add, delete, and change permissions for all your accounts. You might also want to choose a host that offers Windows Exchange for your own email server.
Shared-server hosting is a great and affordable way to go for most any small to medium sized business website. However, your university site may require a bit more computing power.
Research web hosts that offer the ability to upgrade plans when needed. A VPS package may be all you need to provide the extra disk space, privacy, and bandwidth you need. However, also look for a host who offers dedicated hosting if you need to upgrade to your very own server to support your university website needs.
24 Hour Support
Even if you have a trained IT staff, you need a web host who can be there when trouble befalls you. If ever there is a problem with your dedicated server, you need fast support to help get your website back online. Be sure your web host offers round-the-clock support or even upgradeable and dedicated support as well.