- Is your website mainly for existing clients or is it more to recruit new customers?
- Will people be able to download programs?
- Is the site driven by a data base?
- How many pages will your site have?
- Is Ecommerce enabled?
- Are you going to create mailing lists?
- Are you going to use a content management system (CMS)?
- Will there be many images/slide shows?
- Will there be video?
- What will be the basic programming language?
- Do you prefer Windows or Linux hosting?
- Are you going to use sub domains and/or extra domain names?
- Does the firm offer the latest version of your preferred CMS and is it included at no extra charge.
- How much bandwidth do you get? Of course your requirement depends on how many visitors you expect. Keep in mind that unlimited traffic is impossible. All hosts have implemented limitations on bandwidth and their "unlimited" advertising is just a slogan to attract more new customers. The same applies to the disk space that you will get.
- Customer support is one of the most important key elements of website hosting. Is it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the whole year through or are there closing times? Call them and ask some difficult technical questions, fill out the company's online contact form with relevant questions for their sales team etc.
- How many domain names can you host on a single account? How many sub domains are allowed? Will you have full control over your WHOIS and DNS information?
- How old and reliable is the hosting provider? Do they offer an up time and money back guarantee? Up time should be at least 99,99% and the company should be at least five years old. The money back feature should last at least 30 days. And how fast will your website load in browsers once it's hosted in your account?
- What is the price? Is payment per month or per year? In general web hosts that charge per year are more reliable. After all, these providers have more cash at hand to invest in infrastructure, support etc. This is the exact reason why providers who accept monthly payments, will do much to earn more. Tactics such as up and cross selling can often be found on their websites. Upselling means that the business will try to convince you to buy a more expensive package than what you originally came for. Cross selling means that the company will try to entice you with complementary or additional services or products. Monthly payment web hosting businesses also have to reduce expenses such as technical support and data centers which may result in deteriorating services. Other financial questions to ask are: What are the company's payment options? Are all major credit cards and Paypal included? Is it possible to pay by check or bank wire?
- Does the hosting control panel offer all the features you need? From the control panel you should be able to do everything that can be done with a hosting account. This includes management of email, domains, data bases, file manager, FTP, SSL, DNS, WHOIS, applications installer, site builder, statistics, PHP version, Cron jobs, SSH, .htaccess, redirection, profile information and more.
- Are there free extras included in the account? We are talking here about extras such as phpMyAdmin, MySQL, phpPgAdmin, PostgreSQL, Tomcat, PHP, Perl, CGI, and Python for example. And how about shopping carts, blogs, counters, clocks, forums, wikis, guestbooks, image galleries and chat rooms?
- Are website statistics included? How extensive and informative are these statistics? Think about what search terms visitors use, what pages do they visit, where are they from, what is their browser etc.
- Email. How many email addresses can be created? Is filtering possible? Is there a spam filter? Is it possible to setup email forwarding and autoresponders?
Good web hosting vs bad providers.In a hurry? You can click here to jump to the conclusion or solution.
If you want your web site to be visible online for the whole world to see, you need web hosting. Web hosting providers own or lease special computers called web servers. A building housing web servers is called a data center. Web server computers are configured in such a way that they make web sites visible on the Internet. Cost of hosting varies, depending on your requirements, and packages are offered between about $5.00 to $150.00 per month. It isn't necessary to look for high priced hosting in order to find reliability but we can't deny it's difficult to distinguish which are the good ones and which are not so good. Let's have a look under the hood. The first step actually is to determine what your needs are. To determine this you should ask yourself the following questions:
Once you know the answers to these questions and probably more, your web host selection process can start. Among others, you now know if you need Windows or Linux web hosting and, if you have chosen a content management system (CMS), you also know that you should select a web host who is specialized in that area. At least the web hosting company's support team should know everything about that specific CMS. Call and/or email the web host and ask these questions:
Thinking about free hosting? Better forget it. In most cases it includes irrelevant and annoying pop up advertisements that can ruin your interaction with the public. Bandwidth and disk space are small and there is often no support or limited support available to free clients. Last but not least it's more difficult to achieve high rankings in the search engines because these robots consider free website hosting in general as unprofessional and/or as spam sites. Paid domain names, registered for at least five years and hosted on a paid plan, are considered as professional by the search engines and will not be seen as spam domains.
ConclusionWe hope that our information will contribute to a more advanced selection procedure of your new web hosting service and that it makes the choice easier to you. We would also like to mention that the size of the company doesn't really matter. However, our experience with smaller companies has shown that these services are generally of a higher quality. The advantage of smaller businesses is the fact that they are able to give better personal service and are better able to offer customized hosting solutions. On the other hand a disadvantage could be a higher chance of disappearance from the website hosting scene. The disadvantage of large companies however is that you have a relatively high chance of just becoming a number instead of a customer. The reason for this can be the fact that there sometimes are too many different departments causing employees not to communicate well with each other and sometimes a large hosting company is owned by a parent company that, from origin, has no relation with the webhosting business. A good example of this is the world's largest webhost Godaddy which is now owned by a global investment firm. On the other hand an advantage can be that you have more options to choose from and the chance that the firm disappears from the domain and hosting scene is as good as zero. Last but not least we would like to emphasize that this article is not waterproof. New developments in this industry go fast and things can change at any moment. Take for example the phenomenon of unlimited hosting. Basically currently it's nothing more than a sales slogan but, in the future, it may become a reality thanks to the Cloud. Finally, may we invite you to read the banner at the top of this page so you can visit the website of one of the best hosting services? That was all for now. Please come back now and then for updates on this page. Thanks for stopping by and if you need more explanation, you can also watch the video below. Success!
Best regards from Dick Detering.