By: Richard Clement
Can we take this whole internet thing one step further and host our site ourselves on our own PC? Well, the basic answer is no! If you need to get a site live quickly or cheaply, it can be nearly impossible to do it yourself. Outsourcing these tasks to professional web host prividers that will save you money and headaches. The company will lodge your site on a web server, make the necessary connections between your domain name and their server configurations and then you’re up and running. Your site is out there on the internet for all to see . But there are so many web hosts. How can somebody choose between them?
Different companies offer different plans, features, transfer rates and support levels, so how can you choose what’s right for you?
The problem is that there are so many, and to some shoppers, there is a lot of technical jargon that can get in the way of picking the right one. This article is meant to simplify matters a bit by giving a reasonable way to estimate a web host’s value.
The first thing to be done is to decide what you need your page to do.Is this you personal site, business site or some organization’s site. Do you think selling things on your site, or maybe managing a forum , do you need a hit counter ect. These are just some of the questions you need to answer yourself before even starting to choose.
There are more factors in what will determine the best hosting provider for you and that will be the primary goal of this artcle.
First thing to consider: Storage Space and Data Transfer
A small information site or personal site will usually only require a few megabytes of disk space, however, data transfer depends on the size of the pages your are offering your visitors multiplied by the number of visitors. Therefore, a popular and graphics heavy website requires a greater monthly transfer than a text site. You should look at a minimum of 2 GB (2000 MB) data transfer a month. Check with the company that they can upgrade your account if your site increases it’s need for storage or monthly data transfer. Prepare for growth now so that you are not caught off guard by unexpected costs when you go to expand your services.
Second thing to consider: Reliability
For any online business, uptime is critical. You absolutely cannot go with a host that has an uptime of less than 95%.
No web host can have 100% uptime, and it’s impossible to guarantee. Avoid any hosts promising more than they can deliver. Most claim 99.9% uptime, but due to the nature of computers and communications equipment, outages will and do occur occasionally. You can contact a company and ask, but they will tell you they’re very reliable. Instead, ask for a couple of sites they currently host, that you can check out for yourself. The word of mouth is probably most powerful in helping to judge these companies.
Third thing to consider: Technical Support
Critical to success, you’ll need an internet hosting company that can help you resolve problems quickly with the least possible disruption to your site activity. As most hosting companies offer inclusive technical support, you shouldn’t pay extra for this. If you’re not offered 24 hours/7 days you should look elsewhere. Most hosts have email support, but keep an eye out for hosts that have phone numbers listed. These are obviously more valuable. Though some hosts have excellent turn around on email service requests, there’s no substitute for actually being able to talk to somebody if you need to. The test is to contact the company and ask questions. If they don’t reply within 48 hours, or don’t reply at all, consider another hosting company. A good company should reply within 24-48 hours.
Fourth thing to consider: Added Features
Various internet hosting companies offer a variety of services. Web hosters provide a listing of overwhelming features to hosting plans to entice you into joining their services. However, more importantly, what features you need and what ones you don’t need. Make a list of what you know your website must be able to do and find out if the company you are researching can make it happen for you.
If you are paying for a website, you should definitely be getting email accounts and FTP access. Don’t settle for a site without them. Make sure the email addresses are for your domain and not at your host’s domain. FTP access is critical is you intend to do any amount of uploading files to your server. Don’t settle for web applications. Also, you will want a host that provides a user control over these two features. Examples of services include also visitor counts, e-mail forwarding options, real time chat, shopping cart functions, and web statistics. The list goes on. With a predetermined needs list in hand, you won’t forget to ask important questions.
Fifth thing to consider: Pricing Structure
If the previous four steps check out, then you need to consider price and this can vary widely. You need to consider setup fees, monthly fees, plan discounts and optional extras in your calculations. Don’t let price be the primary factor in your decision unless you are launching a personal page. For ecommerce, businesses and organizations, the quality of the service is more important. Some companies offer you no monthly fees, but check the fine print before agreeing to anything. Free sites almost always have popups or require space invasive banners. Don’t simply look for the lowest price. You need to know how much the prices will grow as you expand your services and customer base. Ask about a variety of scenarios. For example, a small business owner who knows he will only need a small site to get started should ask about internet service provider hosting prices for medium sized websites with a larger number of visitors.Think for the future!
Keep also in mind that the most expensive plan is not necessarily the best, and the biggest name company may not be the right match for you.
Many perfectly fine packages for small businesses now run between $15 – $25 per month. Some people say that there are three types of Web Hosts: free hosts, cheap hosts and good hosts – and there is more than a grain of truth in this.
A good web host company will not tie you into a long-term contract that will prevent you moving if you don’t like the service.
The most important thing to remember is to research and shop around. The are options and features that are offered by a wide variety of web host providers that is bound to suit you. The more requirements you have, the most likely you pay more. But paying for a quality web host provider is a good investment especially if your business will in the future become more reliant on the Internet. Finally, don’t hesitate to ask questions and inquire about the services of web hosts – you don’t want to regret it later.
Finally you can find more information about web hosting services visiting my site www.itstandard.net.
Richard Clement is an online publisher dedicated in helping online users in various categories. He is an online marketing specialist and owner of ItStandard.Net hosting company. For more info visit his site