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Hints to Help You Find an Effective Web Host Provider

2006-05-17 by Stoney deGeyter

Finding a top notch web hosting service for your company is probably one of the most important business decisions you’ll have to make concerning your online presence. Take a little time to look over some of the important features web hosting services provide so you’ll know exactly what you’re getting. Your web hosting company plays a role in the success or failure of your online efforts.

Cost

The old saying “you get what you pay for,” is applicable when researching web hosting services. Web hosting costs have dropped significantly in the past few years but don’t be tempted to choose a provider by price alone. Quality is always a more reliable measurement than price. A cheap web hosting service may cost less month to month but thousands more on an overall basis if continuous technical failures take a bite out of sales.

Tech Support

It is not too much to ask for 24 hour technical assistance capability from your web hosting service. Quality technical assistance should allow for call-in support but many companies are downgrading by offering email or online support only. You will want to make sure that response time for either communication method is hours and not days. Resolution of technical issues can be costly in fees as well as loss of business through down time if you have to go outside your provider. Get the facts on technical support before you commit to a service.

Down Time

Many providers offer a guarantee that their server network will not go down more than (x) number of times per year. This is called an uptime guarantee and is usually found in small print in your contract. Make sure the guarantee covers you website and email.

A more or less standard guarantee is 99.9% uptime. Translated into real numbers this allows a provider to have 8 hours of down time per year or less than 45 minutes each month.

If a provider exceeds the time guarantee you can usually expect to have your charges waived for the month. This is convenient but does not cover the cost of business loss if your website goes down and stays there during peak times or holiday shopping.

Server Load Monitoring

Your allocation of bandwidth is critical to your website because it keeps your site up and running during peak times or traffic surges. You want to choose your hosting plan carefully to ensure that it will be able to handle whatever server load your site might generate. Be sure you know what your extra fees will cost if you exceed your allotted bandwidth. Some providers will make your site inaccessible until extra fees are paid for.

Secure Server

Security is one of the most important issues if you’re doing business on the web. If you’re customers are using credit cards or you’re collecting personal information, you must make sure that you are on a secure server. Security is also a big issue with shoppers and statistics show that when “secure symbol” is displayed in the shopping cart area, more conversions take place.

Web host providers have secure servers which clients can use. An entire online store can be moved to a secure site. This is done by migrating off your site, www.yourdomainname.com, to a secure service with a different address. When this happens, your ranking may be affected because each page that is removed holds important keywords that could be used for search engine indexing.

You can own a secure area on your site by purchasing a security certificate which is installed by your web hosting provider on your domain. This is a professional solution for security issues and allows keeping all web site pages available for indexing by search engines.

In-House Hosting

Many have tried and many have failed - there are some advantages to owning in-house servers but you should be aware that there is much more to web hosting than meets the eye. If you’re contemplating hosting your own site, you will need a full-time IT employee who is skilled at web server management.

With in-house hosting you may also experience access and download problems because your local ISP provides much slower connection speeds that those available to web hosting services. If your service goes down or your power goes out, your site will not be accessible to visitors.

Free Hosting Services

Never use free web hosting providers such as Geocities for business applications. Free sites are great for hobby or personal use only. For image as well as ease of use you will want to have an address like www.domainname.com for your business instead of www.geocities.com/~mycoolsite/index.html.

Quality web hosting is the foundation for the web site marketing strategies on which your build your online presence. Don’t entrust your online business to just anyone. With a small investment of time you should be able to find a quality provider to keep you up and running.

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Author

Stoney deGeyter

Stoney deGeyter

Pole Position Marketing Stoney deGeyter is president of Pole Position Marketing, a professional search engine marketing and optimizationfirm providing SEO services since 1998. Stoney is also a part-timeinstructor at the community College in Reno, Nevada, where he resides,as well as a moderator in the Small Business Ideas Forum. He alsocontributes daily to the (EMP) E-Marketing Performance search marketing and optimization blog . You can email him with any SEO/M related questions at stoney@polepositionmarketing.com View Stoney deGeyter`s profile for more
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