7 Simple Steps For Choosing A Great Web Host

7 Simple Steps For Choosing A Great Web Host



There are thousands of​ web hosts around today with thousands of​ plans to​ choose from making what was once a​ simple procedure seem like a​ daunting task for​ both newbie and​ pro alike.

Whether you're looking for​ your first host or​ looking to​ move on to​ a​ better one there are 7 simple steps you must follow to​ succeed in​ choosing a​ great host.


1. Platform
The first and​ most crucial step in​ choosing a​ web host is​ determining the​ platform the​ web server should run, usually a​ choice between Unix/Linux and​ Windows.

Your choice is​ largely determined by your website and​ the​ technologies used to​ create it, generally a​ website created with Microsoft technologies (ASP, VB) will run on Windows servers while most other sites using open source technologies (PHP, Perl, Python etc) will run on Linux based systems.


2. Features
Once you've chosen your platform the​ next step is​ determining the​ features you'll need from your web host. Take your time with this step as​ the​ feature lists of​ web hosts are getting longer and​ longer every day and​ while some plans may look similar on the​ surface, a​ good look at​ the​ feature lists may tell another story.

Only you can determine the​ specific features you'll need, but some key things to​ keep an​ eye on are:

Disk Space
Bandwidth
Backups
Uptime
Money Back Guarantee
Domains Allowed
Databases (Number & type)
CGI, PHP, Perl, Python, SSI
Cron
Email accounts

The list goes on and​ on, just remember to​ take your time and​ make sure your new web host is​ going to​ provide you with everything you need.


3. Cost
Often this is​ the​ only thing people consider when choosing their first web host, funds are usually tight and​ on the​ surface most hosts look very similar. Sometimes you get lucky and​ choose a​ good host, but more often than not it​ turns out to​ be a​ horror story.

I can't stress enough that choosing a​ web host based on price alone is​ asking for​ trouble, remember that the​ cost of​ your web hosting is​ more than just the​ monthly fee, think about the​ total cost of​ ownership. TCO includes lost sales due to​ downtime & slow speeds, downtime rebates, extra bandwidth charges, setup costs, extra feature costs, and​ your monthly fee.

Many hosts will require you to​ pay yearly to​ get the​ best price available though there are some that allow you to​ pay by the​ month and​ still get the​ best price, it's really a​ matter of​ personal choice as​ to​ what payment method works best for​ you.


4. Customer Service
Customer service is​ another aspect that is​ often forgotten about until it​ is​ too late, something breaks and​ you need it​ fixed and​ those wonderfully handy sales people who were more than helpful in​ taking your money are now nowhere to​ be seen, all the​ while you're losing out on sales every minute.

You shouldn't settle for​ anything less than 24/7/365 service, your website needs to​ be running all the​ time so it's no good if​ your hosting company doesn't work during the​ holidays. Don't take the​ web hosting companies word for​ it, they all claim 24/7 support but few back it​ up with consistent performance. Be sure to​ test them out at​ various times of​ the​ day and​ night via phone, email and​ live chat if​ they offer it.


5. Support
An extensive knowledge base or​ faq can be a​ real time saver as​ well as​ being an​ indication of​ the​ level of​ customer service support and​ expertise you can expect to​ receive. Spend some time browsing the​ support sections of​ the​ website and​ see for​ yourself the​ level of​ support provided.

Are questions in​ the​ knowledge base answered thoroughly? Are real solutions provided or​ are they just “cut and​ paste” replies?


6. Longevity
Do a​ whois on the​ web host's domain name and​ find out the​ creation date, anything less than a​ year ago and​ the​ risk that they won't be around next year increases. They could be a​ great host, but considering more then 95% of​ new hosts go out of​ business within a​ year that really isn't something you should be taking a​ chance on.


7. Uptime
It's a​ fact of​ life that a​ web host cannot be online 100% of​ the​ time, servers need to​ be rebooted for​ security and​ software updates and​ any web host that doesn't get updated faces the​ increased risk of​ being successfully hacked.

99.9% uptime guarantees are pretty standard in​ the​ industry however a​ guarantee is​ only as​ good as​ how it​ is​ defined and​ the​ company behind it. Look for​ no less than a​ full months free hosting should they not meet their guarantee, a​ prorated refund based on the​ amount of​ downtime is​ virtually worthless. Say you pay $10 for​ a​ month of​ hosting and​ your site is​ down for​ 24 hours. They will refund you for​ one day of​ downtime which ends up being about 33 cents.


There you go, 7 simple steps for​ choosing a​ great web host. It's not rocket science, just a​ little research and​ investigating that can save a​ lot of​ heartache in​ the​ future.




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