Web Site Hosting
"Top 5 Steps to Choosing Your Perfect Host" by Eva Almeida
In my opinion, the features a hosting service offers is the
most important factor when choosing between options.
For large interactive sites, I look for a host that offers
SSI (to streamline maintenance of the site), FTP access,
POP email accounts, and your own CGI-bin for running
discussion forums, forms, mailing lists etc. Top hosts
also realize the importance of including a detailed web
site statistics program in the hosting package.
Look for multiple email addresses, A CGI-BIN to run cgi programs,
a SMTP server address of your own, high bandwidth allowance
but be wary of "unlimited" since it may slow down the server
you are sharing other sites with (6 GB is approx 600,000 hits).
E-mail forwarding, Autoresponders, FTP access, web-based
control panel are also features to look for if you are
building an interactive site.
Examples of this type of hosting are as follows:
- Globat.com 1000 MB Hosting & 50 GB Transfer for $7.50/mo. including webmail, 1000 POP email accounts, FrontPage, MySQL, FLASH and more.
- WarriorPro.com: a hosting package for Internet Marketers... includes business level hosting account with Host4Profit.com (300MB), membership to the online forum WarriorForum.com, A complete Ad Tracking System with TrackThisHit.com
and a subscription to the radical GuruKiller.com all for $24.95/month.
There are currently three main platforms to choose from:
Unix, Linux, Windows 2000, and Windows NT.
Unix is generally more reliable and more affordable, suitable
for most sites. If you're using the site for email or as a
personal site Unix is definitely more affordable. Windows NT
is more appropriate if you need ODBC for a database-driven site,
and Windows NT works better with Microsoft Frontpage. However
you can still build database-driven sites using PHP on Unix if
the host supports it.
This is such a critical issue when looking for a webhost. I have
learned this from experience! Make sure that the hosting company
offers 24 hour technical support via email and a toll-free phone #.
Even phone the support number several times throughout the day to see
how responsive they are before you order their hosting package.
Don't wait until your email or site is down to discover that it
is impossible to reach your host. You need a lightning fast
response from your host when you run into trouble with your site!
Ask people you trust who they use as a host and whether they have
had troubles contacting support.
Surprisingly, most people think price is a priority and settle for
a free host. When those sites go under, so does yours! It has
happened to me several times when I started out and I won't do
it again for my main domains. Mini-sites are fine with lower
cost hosting services such as DigitalSpace.net since it won't
matter if the site has to be moved quickly when it is only
several pages long and you are not relying on them for your
primary email address.
Low cost hosting options:
The majority of hosts compete on price and standard features
such as bandwidth allowances and webspace. Once in awhile,
you come across a "trendsetter" that is clearly above the
rest of the competition due to its unique capacity to look
beyond and see what their customers desire; then they create
special benefits and features to accommodate them. An example
of an innovative hosting service is Site Build-It at:
The developers of SiteBuild-It recognized the need for online
small business people such as ebook publishers to focus on
publishing ebooks instead of having to worry about spending
precious time designing and maintaining the site, keeping up
with search engine submissions, etc. You simply upload your
graphics and content to the control panel and the Site Manager
literally does the rest. All links are tracked going in and
out of your site. Each page automatically gets submitted
to search engines. It is the perfect medium for building
theme-based content sites to sell your own books (or any
product or service for that matter.) I have two sites hosted
with them and it is amazing what a timesaver their service is.
They are currently working on a system that will allow you
to sell your products directly from your domain using your
own merchant account (will be included in the hosting price!)
Definitely my host of choice for busy clients who don't
have time to manage every detail of their sites... the
features in this hosting are second to none. Period.
Lastly, you can visit a hosting review site to help you
choose your perfect host. Examples of sites include:
Good luck on your search and remember, you can always
switch hosts if you aren't satisfied!