Find this page online at: http://developers.evrsoft.com/article/web-development/website-technology-issues/5-steps-to-choosing-a-great-host.shtml

5 Steps To Choosing A Great Host

By Breal Web Design
Posted Wednesday, June 16, 2004

This article may be published electronically or in print,
free of charge, without alteration to any content and the
resource box at the end of the article is included in it's
entirity without alteration. A courtesy copy of your
publication would be appreciated.

***********************************************************

Being online used to be quite expensive. You had to have the
hardware to run a site, or pay a small fortune for hosting. These days, there are so many hosting companies it can be
confusing. Different companies offer different plans, features, transfer rates and support levels, so how can you
choose what's right for you?

Follow these 5 simple steps to find the right package for you.

1. Storage space and data transfer.
A small information site or personal site will usually only require a few megabytes of disk space, however, data
transfer depends on the size of the pages your are offering your visitors multiplied by the number of visitors.
Therefore, a popular and graphics heavy website (such as online art gallery (http://www.clickart-gallery.com))
requires a greater monthly transfer than a mostly text site (such as (http://www.brealweb.com)). You should look at a minimum of 2 GB (2000 MB) data transfer a month. Check with
the company that they can upgrade your account if your site increases it's need for storage or monthly data transfer.

2. Added Features.
Make a list of the features you want before you start your shopping. Many features such as e-commerce shopping carts and real time credit card processing will cost you a lot of
money. Pre-installed scripts such as email scripts and page counters and use of a secure server (SSL) should be included for free. If you can get a browser control panel and browser
mail, this allows you extra flexibility with your site. Browser based email lets you access your mail from any
Internet connected computer. Be sure you know what's included in the cost of your hosting package. If in doubt,
contact the company and ask.

3. Technical Support
As most hosting companies offer inclusive technical support, you shouldn't pay extra for this. If you're not offered 24 hours/7 days you should look elsewhere. The test is to contact the company and ask questions. If they don't reply within 48 hours, or don't reply at all, consider another
hosting company. A good company should reply within 24-48 hours.

4. Reliability.
How reliable is a web hosting company? Most claim 99.9% uptime, but due to the nature of computers and communications equipment, outages will and do occur
occasionally. You can contact a company and ask, but they will tell you they're very reliable. Instead, ask for a
couple of sites they currently host, that you can check out for yourself. Not only will you see that the site is
available, it gives you the opportunity to see how well they perform during peak periods too.

5. Price and Guarantee.
If the previous four steps check out, then you need to consider price and this can vary widely. You need to
consider setup fees, monthly fees, plan discounts and optional extras in your calculations. Some companies offer
you ridiculously low or no monthly fees, but check the fine print before agreeing to anything. Free sites almost always have popups or require space invasive banners. Cheap hosting
companies often fail on steps 3 and 4, so check them out first, or you may find your site is often not available to
your visitors. Setup costs vary widely too. Basically, this is the cost that a company will charge to set up an account
for you. This is justified if you are getting a lot of features included (see step 2). You should not need to pay
over $50. If you can get a money back guarantee, then you know the company is concerned about it's customers. The
longer the guarantee, the better. Seven days is not usually enough to judge if the company is suited to you.

So, if you follow the steps listed above, you should find the perfect hosting company for your needs.
**********************************************************

About the Author
Breal provides cost effective web site design and hosting
with a full 30 day money back guarantee. Web hosting even
comes with six months free hosting on yearly accounts. To
find out more visit (http://www.brealweb.com)
For a complete list of current articles, send any email to
mailto:articlelist@brealweb.com