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How to Choose a Web Hosting Company

By Tim Thoman
Posted Friday, October 1, 2004

Are you building, planning to build, or have already built a website? In order for you to get your website to the internet you are going to have to choose a web hosting company. There are thousands of web hosting companies out there, so how do you make a decision? Some say that as far as domain hosting goes, you "get what you pay for," although this is not true with most web hosting companies. Deciding on a website hosting service may seem like a simple last minute thing, but web hosting companies come in all shapes and sizes, including rip-offs and scams. These are the top 10 things you need to know in order to choose the right web hosting service for your website.

1. Linux or windows?
2. Should I choose shared hosting or dedicated server hosting?
3. How much web space do I need for my website?
4. What is bandwidth and how much do I need?
5. What other features should I look for in a web hosting plan?
6. How do I know if a web hosting service provides good costumer support?
7. What is uptime and what is the lowest uptime a web hosting provider should have?
8. How much should I expect to pay?
9. Do I need to pay for domain registration also and how much should I expect to pay for that?
10. How do you know if a web hosting service is scam?

Choosing a web hosting service may be harder than you think. This is a step-by-step guide to teaching you how to pick the best web hosting company and plan for your website, whether it be a small business website, a personal website, or a huge corporation site.

1. Linux or windows?
Please remember that just because your computer has windows, doesn’t at all mean that you must choose a windows web hosting provider. In fact, most websites today are hosted with Linux servers. Linux servers are much more affordable anyway.

2. Should I choose shared hosting or dedicated server hosting?
This topic will be discussed later, but for now: shared web hosting is when a server is shared by your website along with many other websites. Most domain hosting is shared hosting. Dedicated servers are servers that are dedicated to one website or corporation. These are only for huge corporate websites that need a whole server to themselves.

3. How much web space do I need for my website?
Decide how much space you need. A web hosting plan with 10-50MB is plenty if you have a small personal website. For larger personal websites you may need up to 100MB with the web hosting plan. For a personal website you will not need more than 100MB. A small business will need a bigger and slightly more expensive web hosting plan. Depending on the complexity of the site, a small business could need anywhere from 100MB to 1000MB (1GB) from their web host. A domain hosting plan with 400MB is about what the average small business needs. At the very most, a small business would need about 1600MB of room. This kind of web hosting plan would only be needed for small businesses that are internet-based and have a large selection of products and information. Now for large corporate websites: This is where dedicated servers come in. While many large business websites only need a shared web hosting plan with a few GB of space, others need a whole server to themselves and so they pay the extra money for a dedicated server. Dedicated servers range from 6GB to 160GB.

4. What is bandwidth and how much do I need?
Bandwidth is the amount of data that can be sent from one computer to another through a particular connection in a certain amount of time. In this case, the data is being transferred from the web hosting company’s server to your website’s visitors so they can view your site. One GB usually allows about 100,000 hits, a hit being a person going to every page on your site. Personal web hosting plans have from 100MB to 10 GB of bandwidth. Small business domain hosting plans have from 10GB to 80GB. Larger web hosting plans and dedicated servers have up to 160GB of bandwidth.

5. What other features should I look for in a web hosting plan?
This all depend on your wants and needs. If you need a website creator, you can find many web hosting plans that include professional website builders. If you don’t have a domain name, you might want to find a web hosting plan that comes with free domain registration. If your website is made with FrontPage, your web hosting plan will need FrontPage support. Note: every domain hosting company on this site has FrontPage support. POP3 email is also a key feature, but 99% of web hosting plans come with plenty of these. POP3 email accounts are email accounts that are customized for your website. Example: yourname@yoursite.com or support@yoursite.com. Another thing to look for in a domain hosting plan is a money-back guarantee. Not only can you get your money back if you are unsatisfied with the web hosting provider, but a money-back guarantee shows that the domain hosting company has confidence that you will be satisfied with their web hosting and their support.

6. How do I know if a web hosting service provides good costumer support?
There are different ways to tell if a domain hosting company has good costumer support. The easiest way is to email the web host and see how long it takes for them to respond. Do this at least two or three times on different days of the week at different times. If it is a very inexpensive web hosting company, at the very most it should take 15 hours for them to respond. The average response should be around 2-6 hours. Of course, support is one part of the web hosting plan that fits the phrase, “you get what you pay for.” More reliable and expensive web hosting companies will usually respond within the hour.

7. What is uptime and what is the lowest uptime a web hosting provider should have?
Uptime is the percentage of the year that the web hosting server that is hosting your website is up and running properly. You want your website accessible to visitors as much time as possible, so you want to look for a web hosting service with a very high uptime guarantee. You should never, no questions asked, host with a domain hosting company that has less than a 99% uptime guarantee. I personally would never host with web hosting provider that has less than a 99.9% uptime guarantee.

8. How much should I expect to pay?
This largely depends on the size of your website, the support you want from the web hosting provider, other features, and the uptime % you need from the domain hosting provider. For a basic 10MB web hosting plan, the average cost is about $2.50/month. For a 25MB web hosting plan, you can pay anywhere from $1.50 to $10/month (rip off web hosting companies). You can usually get a web hosting plan with 100MB for around $5/month. For 200MB you should expect to pay around $6/month most places. Web hosting with 400MB of web space usually costs around $7-8/month. 1GB of space will cost around $16/month. Dedicated servers can be fairly pricy, ranging from $59 to thousands of dollars per month. Here we have quality web hosting and dedicated server plans for much more affordable prices.

9. Do I need to pay for domain name registraton also and how much should I expect to pay?
If your web hosting plan does not include free domain registration, you will have to pay for it also. Most web hosting companies also provide domain name registration for anywhere from $14 to $90. Most times it your web hosting provider charges you if you transfer a domain over to them. You can find domain registration for $15 here.

10. How do you know if a web hosting service is scam?
You know the phrase, “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.” Most services that promise unlimited web space or bandwidth are scams. If you look at the fine print and read between the lines of many of these web hosting service websites, you may notice that there are indeed limits to the unlimited. Always read the Terms of Service and other important papers before you trust your website to a web hosting company. Note: all of the web hosting plans on our site have been researched extensively and found to be honest businesses.

One other thing you should check before you choose a web hosting company is whether they will host the kind of information that is on your site. For example, most web hosting providers will not allow you to have adult content on your website. Now you have the tools to make the correct decision when choosing a web hosting service provider, and you won’t be fooled by scammers, rip-offs, or other low-lives.
My Website: (http://www.web-hosting-kingdom.com)

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