How To Choose Your Web Host
Ask any Internet entrepreneur what the most important decision they had to make for their Web site was, and chances are pretty good they'll say:
"choosing my Web host".
Here are the most important things you need to ask your potential Web host before you part with your hard earned cash.
1. "How long have you been in business?"
Very important, as Web hosting is a business that requires a lot of technical experience. It is very high tech, and a new company might not have had the time to get accustomed to all the many different technologies you'll be using for your Web site.
2. "Who are your customers?"
Are their current customers serious business people or just hobby Webmasters with personal homepages? Ask for some URLs of serious ecommerce sites that they host.
3. "Do you provide live 24x7x365 support?"
You will definitely require support from your Web host from time to time. Questions will arise that you'll need answers to. Sometimes you'll need these answers as soon as possible, or even immediately. A good Web host must have 24 hour support staff available on hand to take your emails and calls. Your emails should be responded to within 1-2 hours max.
4. "Do you guarantee 99% uptime?"
No matter how good a Web host, your site will be unavailable for short periods of times due to routine maintenance work. The best Web hosts however offer a money back guarantee in case your Web site isn't up 99% of the time (over the period of one year usually).
5. "What kind of Internet connection do you have?"
You need a fast connection from your Web site to the Internet. The fastest connections are leased lines (includes T-1, T-3, OC-3 and DS-3). You should be looking for a Web host with leased lines. No leased lines? Simply look for another Web host.
6. "What features do you offer?"
You MUST be provided with a CGI directory for your scripts. Also, PHP capability is becoming more and more important. Of course, you want the obvious features such as POP email accounts, email aliases, autoresponders (very important) and access to log files. For a full list of features you should demand from your Web host, click on the link below:
7. "How much data transfer am I allowed per month?"
Unless you're going to purchase a dedicated server, you'll be limited to the amount of traffic you can drive to your Web site per month. Don't worry however, as you'll be offered more than enough transfer for a small-medium site. And if you get so much traffic that you exceed the transfer quota, well then that's a good thing! For it means you can make more money, and so can afford to upgrade to a more powerful server. A quota of 3GB of monthly transfer should be enough to begin with.
Note that I haven't mentioned price anywhere above. This is because:
ONE: You'll find prices published on the sites of Web hosts. No need to ask for them.
TWO: Good Web hosts are more expensive. You get what you pay for when it comes to Web hosting. A basic package of around
$30 per month is a good price for a good host.