Choosing the Web Host with the Most
Why spend hours building, marketing and maintaining a site that isn't available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? If your web site isn't being served up every single time a visitor requests it why do you have a web site?
Choosing the right host is one of the most important decisions any webmaster can make. A bad hosting experience can be ugly and expensive. The right host can make your web site even more effective just by offering a few key features. With everyone claiming to be the best how to choose? Arm yourself with some knowledge, decide what your needs are and go after them!
There are basic features that are essential in deciding what type of package is right for you. These are fairly straight forward and easy to understand. It is the additional features that initially you may feel you don't need, but that may come in handy later that you need to understand so you can make the right decision. In most cases, as with anything in life, you get what you pay for. The first option that tempts many webmasters is a free host.
A free hosting service is perfect for personal home pages, you can get your own space on the Internet without having to pay for it. Take the time to review several free hosts as some offer banner ads, others have pop-ups and still others appear to have nothing on the site but usually find some other way to get their advertising included in the deal.
Free hosts usually offer no guarantee of site uptime and you have few or no additional features.
If you plan to make money with your web site however you need to forget the idea of a free host. Immediately you create a credibility problem with your visitors that you will not be able to overcome in most cases.
Bring it into the real brick and mortar world. If you need to find a business are you likely to use the one with their own location, their own street address or one camped out in an abandoned lot. Where will you feel more confident in making a transaction?
Web hosting fees are nothing like that of a commercial rent. If you can't afford the minimum hosting costs ($5-$10 a month) you may want to re-think your business plan.
Choosing The Right Host:
How important is choosing the right web host? After all they maintain access to your site 24/7, If your site goes down so does your chance of making any transactions. You need a stable company that monitor their servers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week so that they are instantly alerted if their is a problem. Make sure you have access to technical support 24/7 and whenever possible get references from people you trust who have had a positive experience.
Then decide what features you need from a hosting package and make sure your host offers them, and whether they are included or extra.
There are certain features that apply to all hosting packages, these are usually straight forward and easy to understand.
Disk Space: Decide how big a site you'll need, disk space is sold in chunks of MB (mega bytes). Packages usually start around 5 MB and range all the way up until 300 + MB. The amount of space you need is governed mostly by the number of images/graphics you'll have on the site. Text by itself takes up little room.
E-mail accounts: This is one of the traps hosting companies use to net extra profits. They allow you a set amount of e-mail addresses, email@example.com and then when you discover you need more they charge you $5 per additional account. Make sure you have enough e-mail addresses when you get started, and find out in advance how much extra you'll be charged if you need more.
There are dozens of other features you may or may not need from a web host, the following is just a sample list. Decide which you need and then use it as a checklist when choosing a hosting company:
- FrontPage Extensions
- 24/7 Support
- Site Search Engine
- Daily Backups
- Hit Counter
- Unlimited Bandwidth
- Your Own CGI-BIN
- FTP Directory
- Protection Archive Manager PHP / MySQL
- Unlimited FTP Access
- RealAudio & Video
- File Manager
- SSL-Secure Server
- Customized Error messages
- Server Side Include
- Redirect URL
- Site Creation Tool
- E-mail Accounts
- Form Mail
- Mailing Lists
- Shopping cart
- Unlimited Aliasing
- Unlimited Responders
- Unlimited Forwarding
- Web Site Statistics
- PGP / PGP Mail
- Access Logs
Now that you've armed yourself with some information, you are ready to make the right decision. Decide once, decide well, and focus on making money with your web site, not worrying about if your hosting company is doing their job.
About the Author:
Mike Beriault Webmaster of http://www.surf22.com