Posted Friday, October 1, 2004
"The page cannot be displayed." Have you ever encountered this message while surfing the net? Of course you have. We all have. Think it can't happen to you? Think again. If you're hosting your business on one of the free hosting services, you're literally placing your entire business in the hands of a complete stranger.
Free hosting services don't need to have a reason to shut your site down. You may get up one morning, try to access your site and instead of your site loading, this message will appear, "The page cannot be displayed." There goes all of your hard work, your web site, your traffic, your search engine positioning, your customers, all gone.
Free hosting services aren't interested in your business or how hard you've worked to design your web site and create a steady stream of traffic. Their main concern is their business. That's why they're doing it. They display banner ads on every site they host. Pop up ads are not only irritating, but they make your site appear to be unprofessional. In addition, many Search Engines will not allow free host URLs to be listed.
If you're serious about your business and you have a sincere desire to succeed, having your own domain name is a must. It's not a luxury; it's a necessity. Businesses using the free services are not taken seriously. Having your own domain name is just as important if not more important than a professional looking web site. They go hand-in-hand.
The cost to register your Domain name is only $60 for the first two years. Very reasonable and well worth every penny. Domain names are going fast, so if you have one in mind, you'd better register it now before someone else does. You can register your domain through Virtualis right online, with no monthly fees, even if you're not ready to order a server. (http://www.virtualis.com/vr/slowery/)
Selecting Your Web Page Host
When selecting a professional web host your first consideration should be the company. Check out their background. Talk to some of their customers and ask them if they've been satisfied with their service.
- How many customers do they serve?
- What is their uptime percentage?
- Do they require you to make payments in advance?
- Do they charge set up fees?
- How is their customer support? Test them.
- Do they offer fast connections?
- Do they offer shopping cart software to process your orders?
- Can you upgrade free of charge?
Web hosting prices vary greatly. When selecting your host, make sure you're getting exactly what you're paying for. Keep in mind, a lower monthly rate will not benefit you if your site is down a lot, slow, or customer service is poor.
Criteria for selecting a host
Selecting a professional web host is a very importantdecision. Make sure you do your homework and insure the host you select offers exactly what you need.
- Your own domain name (www.yourname.com)
- Your own True POP email account - email@example.com
- Fast, low overhead, Multi-T3 access
- Your own unrestricted cgi-bin
- Access to SSL Encryption for secure transactions
- Java, C, C++, Tcl support
- htaccess Password Protection for your files or directories
- At least 1 GIGABYTE (1024 MB) of Daily Transfer
- Design (and upload to) your site using Netscape or other HTML editing software
- Microsoft Frontpage (98) Server Extensions for those utilizing Frontpage
- Unlimited free access to your server via Telnet/FTP
- Online invoices, account tracking, and payment history to enable you to check your account balance, monthly invoices, past payments, etc.
- Complete daily server backup
- Easy access to your log files
- Statistics on visits to your site
Free web hosts are great for hosting a personal web site, but not recommended for a business site. If you're really serious about your business and want to establish your Internet presence, I highly recommend Virtualis. Their tech support is the best I've seen. (http://www.virtualis.com/vr/slowery)
About the Author
Shelley Lowery is the Webmistress of Web Source - Your Guide to Professional Website Design and Development. Join The Syndicator, our new, free article syndication program and display complete articles w/photographs on your website that are automatically updated each week. (http://www.web-source.net)