Posted Friday, October 1, 2004
Congratulations! After much thought and consideration, you finally took the plunge and decided it was time to have your own web site. That's a great accomplishment in itself. However, now you're left with another daunting task -- selecting a quality web host.
Selecting a good web host is of the utmost importance. However, with all of the technical mumbo jumbo, knowing what to look for can be very intimidating to say the least.
For this reason, I have devised a list of the most frequently asked web hosting questions.
Question: I'm not exactly sure what a web host is. Can you please explain?
Answer: A web host is a company that provides you with server space for your web site. This includes all of the files associated with your web site. When your web address is typed into a browser, the web host displays your pages.
Question: Is it true that a good web host will cost me a lot of money each month?
Answer: Although the old adage "you get what you pay for" still holds true, there are many quality web hosts that are reasonably priced. You can expect to pay $20 - $50 a month for up to 50MB of space depending on the company and your specific needs.
Question: I have been considering hosting my site with a free hosting company, but I'm a little concerned with their reliability. Can you shed some light?
Answer: NEVER host an ecommerce web site with a free hosting service. These services are highly unreliable and could care less if your site goes down. Their main concern is with their advertisers. As long as their ads are up and running, for the most part, they could care less about you or your site.
In addition, sites hosted with free services look very unprofessional. If you've taken the time to get your own web site designed and your own domain name, why would you risk your success and host with a free service? It's just not worth it.
Question: I'm at my wits end. I've been to so many hosting companies and am completely overwhelmed. I have no idea what company to go with. Can you please tell me what I should be looking for in a good host?
Answer: Selecting a quality hosting company can be an intimidating process. Your first consideration should be the company.
* Do they offer fast connections?
* Do they have a back-up system in place to protect your data in case there is a power outage?
* Do they require you to make payments in advance?
* Do they require a long-term contract?
* Do they charge set up fees?
* How is their customer support? Test them.
* Do they provide you with free access to a secure server for order processing?
* Do they offer shopping cart software to process your orders?
* Do they provide you with an online Web Site Manager?
* Do they provide you with an online support manual?
Ask for references. Talk with some of their customers and ask them if they have been satisfied.
Here are some basic features you should look for when selecting a web host:
1) 24/7 reliable tech support
2) Your own domain name (www.yourname.com)
3) At least 10GB of monthly transfer (traffic)
4) A minimum of 20MB - 50MB of server space
5) Unlimited true POP email accounts - email@example.com
6) Unlimited email aliases
7) Email forwarding
8) Unlimited autoresponders
9) Your own unrestricted CGI-Bin
10) Access to SSL Encryption for secure transactions
11) MySQL Database
13) htaccess password protection
14) Server Side Includes (SSI) support
15) Design (and upload to) your site using Netscape or other HTML editing software
16) Microsoft FrontPage Server Extensions for those utilizing FrontPage
17) Unlimited free access to your server via FTP/Telnet
18) Easy access to your log files
19) Statistics on visits to your site
20) Referral Program
When selecting a web host, you must look at the entire picture prior to making your decision. You may find a host that charges $5.00 - $15.00 a month to host your site, however, their technical support may be poor, or your web site may be slow or down a lot.
A lower monthly payment may look appealing, but how much is it actually going to cost you in lost sales? Most likely much more than the amount you'll save.
Although there are many web hosting companies online, there are only two that I can recommend. They are as follows:
Adgrafix - Professional web hosting starting at $19.95/mo. for a 50MB web hosting package.
Host4Profit - Professional web hosting specifically designed for the Internet marketer. $24.95/mo. for 300MB (http://www.web-source.net/cgi-bin/t.cgi?l=h4p)
Take your time and select the host that best meets your needs. It will be well worth your time and effort in the long run.
Copyright © Shelley Lowery 2002.
About the Author:
Shelley Lowery is the author of Web Design Mastery - An in- depth guide to professional web design. And, Ebook Starter - A complete ebook design kit. Visit Web-Source.net to sign up for a free subscription to Etips and receive a free copy of the highly acclaimed ebook, "Killer Internet Marketing Strategies." (http://www.web-source.net)