The 411 on Web Hosting

by Matt Hedges

Working with a web host provider means anyone can have a little place to call their own on the internet and have people come visit them. This service enables people to upload images, have graphics and content about them on the site and tell some interesting tales about them or life in general. Some web host providers will offer this space in addition to the internet connection itself. They will likely host everything in a data center. Not every firm operates in this manner though and some will provide space with internet connections that are not owned by them. The correct name for this type of service is a collocation. It will provide an opportunity for many visitors to contact you and correspond or allow them to see your content. All hosts, including the small ones will provide the ability to host files and have some storage space. Some more advanced providers will provide a larger selection of tools and services to customers including the ability to manage email accounts and to utilize script installation tools.

Web Hosting Features:

You must consider your budget needs and what storage and bandwidth you require before choosing what web host features you want. If you have an e-commerce site you will need a payment facility. This can be done through SSL, Secure Sockets Layer, encryption and the addition of a shopping cart. If you run a forum or discussion board services like PHP or Perl are useful as is CGI scripting. In addition you may wish to be able to access database such as Microsoft SQL Server, Postgre SQL or even MySQL. All of this means your initial tasks should be to focus on what you need to have to run your site as extra costs equals extra money. This means knowing how much bandwidth you’ll want, what limit of storage space and will you need facilities like protection from spam or assistance with building your site.

It is very essential to find a reliable web hosting company that have the ability to cope up with troubles on system breakdowns. There are certain guidelines, with the help of which you can avoid the common mistakes while searching a web site hosting company.

The Do’s:

Undertake a lot of research: Study all the different web host firms and compile a list of the features you need. Compare the firms and how they match your list. See which one offers the best deal. Remember to search forums and ask webmasters and other users for what they think about a company. Read online reviews of companies and see what other users say. Study the awards and achievements if a company. Try to find out what data centers they use, how many customers they serve, how many staff members they employ and what support they offer. If you can, discuss matters with a client who already uses the company.

List what you will need: You need to know what features your site will require, such as bandwidth or how much storage space you need. Everyone wants more bandwidth but do you need it all? Why pay for bandwidth that you will never use, this is a waste of money. If it is likely you will use many features on your site, try and find a host that offers leeway. This will minimize the chance of you being given a large bill for excessive use.

Have something in reserve just in case: Every reliable business needs to have a secondary plan in case things go wrong. Although web hosts will claim to be reliable, things can go wrong, for some sites more than others. If your site offers backup and can help you fix things, this is not a major issue. This will enable you to recover quicker and prevent you from losing a lot of data. Make sure your host provider offers these facilities and if they don’t, consider finding a new host.

Make sure you will be supported: Prior to signing any agreement, take the time to speak to firm and give them questions. Ask them about their service options and what their experience and skills are like. It is easy to understand a company better just by talking to them for a short spell.

The Don’ts:

Do not choose a host on price alone: It is always better not to choose a web hosting company only on the basis of their pricing. You will find a number of cheap web hosting providers from whom you get only what you pay for. But there is a very less chance of getting quality service from them. For an average reliability, generally, you need to pay at least .50 cents for one gigabyte of bandwidth. However, if you want high quality hosting you will have to pay three or four times more.

Ignore the chance to use a free web host: If you want people to take your firm seriously, avoid this common mistake. Free web hosts are able to offer this service by offering adverts on the site. It is obvious that customers are not a fan of this and many users will not consider you a serious firm if you do this. It is also true that some of the advertisements on the site can cause damage to your computer. This is another thing consumers disapprove of and will weaken your reputation. If you are getting customer credit card information and want to be seen as reputable it is always best to work with a web hosting professional.

Do not trust customer testimonials blindly: It is advisable not to trust the customer testimonials published at the site of your potential web hosting company. Most of them are self created or just a part of the whole story, thereby better not be taken at face value. Instead, you can read the reviews or better go to the various online web hosting forums and speak to the webmasters, who have been using or have earlier used the services of the same company. This will give you better and authentic information about the company’s services. However, if the web hosting company lists contact information as well as the web site of the testimonials listed then they may be reliable.

Do not look for web hosting that incorporates free domain: A large number of people like to find a web host who will also provide a domain free of charge along with its main package. If possible, try and keep these issues separate. The way this approach can work is if the domain is registered in your name and is your property. Sometimes this is not the case and the web host will register it in their name and grant you the opportunity to use it. If the name becomes popular they may seize control of it or if you want to move hosts, they may try and hold onto the name.

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