Choosing Web Hosting
You could literally go crazy trying to compare all of the hundreds of hosting plans and providers on the market. To narrow down your options, talk to friends and business associates who have professional web sites.
Ask them which providers they use or recommend. A number of Internet sites, such as CNET and Epinions, allow users to share their thoughts about web hosting companies, so their input could be valuable in your search also.
Once you've found a manageable number of potential providers, you can begin to compare plans. Here are a few things you should focus on:
* Money Back Guarantee - Many providers offer a 30-Day money back guarantee so that you can try their service risk free. Always look for this option so you don't get stuck with a service you're unhappy with.
* Storage Space - This is the amount of room you will have for your site. Of course, you don't want to pay for room you don't need, but you also want room to grow. If you've a small site in mind 10-15 MB should be sufficient to begin with.
* Bandwidth/Data Transfer - Data transfer (bandwidth usage) refers to how much data/information is sent to or received from your hosting account on the server over a specified period of time. Usually it is measured monthly.
More the visitors to your site, more bandwidth you'll require. Small sites usually suffice with 1 GB/month.
* Site Speed - This is very important factor while considering a hosting service. This will decide how fast
your site loads when some one visits your site. Online surfers are extremely busy, so you need a fast server. Or else they will leave your site even before it gets loaded!
You may ask your hosting provider to provide you with a list of their client's sites (if they can) for checking
their speed. Here's a good tool to check a site's speed: http://www.hostpulse.com/app/networktools/ping.asp
* Customer Service - You strive to provide exceptional service and you should expect nothing less from your web hosting company. Look for multiple methods of receiving service, such as a toll-free phone number or live chat. You may also want to consider testing their response time in advance.
* Uptime Guarantee - Your web site is like your store. If your store is closed, you aren't making any money. The same is true if your web site is down. You should only choose a plan that provides at least a 99% uptime guarantee.
* Cost - Price should also be a deciding factor. Cheaper is not always better, but there are reasonable rates for quality hosting available if you do your research.
Never pay for a full year of service upfront, though you are likely to pay less in the long run. You have to take into consideration their after sales service too.
Also, as far as possible, try to choose a hosting company that allows easy upgrade/downgrade between plans. This way you can trim down your costs to the maximum.
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* Editor's Advice: See an example of a Hosting Company that puts the emphasis on the quality of the customer support here.
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Using these tips and suggestions, you should easily be on your way to establishing a successful web presence and to reaping all the benefits the Internet has to offer.