How To Select A Web Hosting Company
by Ed Zivkovic – http://www.ezau.com
Here is a few things to look for when selecting a web host.
When starting out, it is easy to overlook some of the most important factors when selecting a web host while paying too
much attention on great features which you may not need at the start.
For example, most people judge a web host by the amount of disk space they offer. The thinking is generally, the more the
There are many other factors to take into consideration. Each factor can be weighed up according to the features each
specific web hosting company offers.
Each company may also
offer several different plans. The features from plan to plan
may also differ.
Some deals may look good at first but if one feature that is
important according to your needs is missing, then that deal
may not be so good in your opinion.
This does not cast a value judgment on any particular web host.
The deal in and of itself may be good for me for example but
not for you. So do your research and compare different
companies and plans until you weigh up all the factors that are
important to your needs.
What factors do I weigh up?
Tech Support – I don’t know about you, but I like the feeling
of knowing that support is available when I need it.
different companies before you sign up by sending them an email
with a question or two. If they respond quickly, this is a good
Uptime – The more uptime they guarantee, the better. 99% uptime
is the minimum acceptable standard. I look for 97%-99%
Disk Space – Decide how much disk space you will require. A web
page with one logo does not take up much web space at all.
Calculate how big your web site is in relation to the disk
Bandwidth – This factor is usually overlooked until the
bandwidth limit is reached. If you go over your alloted
bandwidth, you will get a hefty bill. If you are running a site
with lots of downloads, or a site with lots of images such at a
photo post site, your bandwidth will be a lot higher than a
site with mainly text.
CGI Bin – This is now standard with good hosting companies. If
you do not have access to your own CGI Bin, you cannot install
scripts and programs.
Perl – If you do not have Perl, you cannot run Perl Programs.
Many good scripts that you buy or get for free are written in
Perl. In my opinion, it would be a limitation not to have the
latest version of Perl installed.
SSL – If you intend to accept credit cards orders directly from
your website, you will need Secure Socket Layer included in
your plan. This is one of those easily overlooked features.
might sign up for a plan that looks attractive for whatever
reason, then down the track, you might discover that you need
this feature. If it is not included in your plan, you might be
gob-smacked if the extra monthly charge is $10.00. To use this
feature you need a merchant account. There is no need to make
this a priority if you have no merchant account because you can
use a third party credit card processor.
SSI – Server Side Includes are great if you want to spend
minimal time updating your site. Here’s how it works. This page
contains SSI’s. The left and right nav menus and the little
search engine in the left nav menu are “included” with an SSI
command in the master page template. If I need to update one of
the nav links, there is no need to edit all the pages that
contain the menus. I just edit the one page which contains the
menu HTML and upload it to my site. It’s awesome.
MySQL – What scripts are you going to run? Some programs
require a MySQL database to run. I had this problem with a
particular webhost. They wanted to charge me $10.00 per month
for a MySQL database. WOW. I just took out a new plan with
another hosting company for under 10 bucks a month and 5 MySQL
Databases are included in the price. Say no more.
PHP – Many new scripts and programs require PHP support. Again,
this feature can be a $10 extra but most good hosts offer it
standard. Imagine if you do not have PHP support but the latest
new FREE toplist, blogging script or shopping cart requires
PHP. Again, this feature is almost standard these days.
Domain Name – What’s the point in buying web space if you
cannot point your own domain name to the site? Some companies
will help you register a domain name but you should compare
prices and learn how to register your domain yourself. This way
you are in control of your domain name if you ever change
FTP Access – Unlimited and unrestricted FTP access to your site
is essential. You will need an FTP program to transfer files.
Control Panel – Not all control panels are the same. Some are
easier to use than others. Some control panels the learning
curve is steep while others are easy.
If you select a plan
where you cannot preview your control panel before you buy, you
can always use the 30 day money back guarantee to get out if
you are not happy.
If they are not offering a working demo of
the control panel, maybe they are not proud of it. In my
experience, I have always been disappointed with the quality of
the control panel when a demo was not available.
Statistics Program – A good stats program is handy if you want
to keep an eye on how many visitors you are getting, where they
are comming from, referrers, top entry and exit pages and so
Some companies offer excellent stats programs as standard
while others offer basic stats but you have to pay extra for
advanced statisics. If you find a good hosting deal but the
stats program is a bit basic, why not email the company and ask
if they can install AWStats before you sign up. AWStats is an
excellent FREE advanced statisics program.
The author, Ed Zivkovic is a self-taught webmaster. His website
(http://www.ezau.com) contains articles with all sorts of tips
for work at home webmasters.
Contact Ed here: http://www.ezau.com/zcontact.html
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