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How to Find a Reliable Web Host

2002-06-05 by

Never had a real hosting account before? Or are you disappointed with your current host? For those of you who are unlucky enough to be looking for a new web host, chances are you already know how difficult finding a reliable host can be. Although I cannot guarantee anything, if you follow the guidelines below, you should end up with a web hosting that you can rely on for a long time to come.

Research, Research, Research

Before you actually begin your search for a web host, do your homework. First of all, if you are new to web hosting, learn as much as you can about how web hosting works, the various control panels offered, and maybe even a little background history on the hosting industry. This will allow you to make a much more informed decision. Think of it as learning the mechanics of a car before deciding on one to buy. Forums are an excellent tool in finding more information - Web Hosting Talk especially is a huge repository of information where many helpful people will be able to answer your questions and provide information on hosting companies you may be considering. It is also important to .know the lingo.. Never purchase a hosting account that offers software or a service that you are not familiar with.

What do you need?
How much bandwidth do you estimate your site will use? Is your site .graphic intensive.? Does your website require any specific software(s) to run such as Front Page, PHP, CGI, ASP, Perl, etc.? These are all important questions that you must ask yourself and be on the lookout for when comparing various hosting plans.

What are your Budget/Scalability Requirements?
Other than the actual features you will need, make sure that you consider the costs associated with running a site. Many times people fail to take this into account, and later face the reality of shutting their site down due to lack of funds. You must also consider growth - obviously the more popular your site is, the more bandwidth your site will consume. You need to make sure you have a plan for upgrading to a bigger hosting account or even a dedicated server in the future. Try and be realistic . many times people over-estimate their actual requirements and end up paying far more than they actually needed to.

What to watch out for
Plain and simple, do not purchase a hosting account from a host that offers unlimited bandwidth, or unlimited space, even if the account you are interested in doesn't have these allowances. The word .Unlimited. is used like the word .Free. to grab your attention, and sucker you in to buying a product. In reality, offering unlimited bandwidth or space is technically impossible. Hosts that offer this often state in their TOS (Terms of Service) that they have the right to terminate your account for any reason at anytime. Common excuses are .excessive CPU usage. and .performance considerations.. While in theory a great resource for information, you should also avoid hosting directories as a general rule, because they often list hosts by how much they pay in commissions, rather then for quality or reputation. Personally I find Web Hosting Ratings and Web Hosting Choice to be two ad-free unbiased sources. Finally, I highly discourage the purchase of .ultra-cheap. web hosting plans that cost less $3.00 a month. Most of the time even reliable hosts will pay less attention to the cheaper accounts. You cannott blame them either, why would a host waste time with someone who is only paying them less then the price of a cup of coffee? The old saying applies here . if it looks too good to be true, it likely is. And do not forget - you get what you pay for.

Ask Questions!
Once you have found a host that meets your needs while breaking none of the guidelines I have mentioned, contact them! Most hosting companies have an option where you can speak with one of their representatives either over the phone or through instant messaging. This is where your research can come in handy . ask them some web hosting related questions and see how well they answer your inquiries. Also, this would be an excellent time to ask them about their own company. Good questions include:

  1. How long have you been in business?
  2. Where are your servers located?
  3. What is you uptime guarantee?


If they answer all these questions politely, and quickly, then they should be reliable.

Remember - you are the paying customer here, so make sure you are happy with the company you choose.


This article was written by Moxsum for Webmaster Stop.The article may be freely copied as long as the entire content is left unmodified and this footer is attached.

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