Click Here!
Article Sections: | Internet Marketing | Web Design | Web Development | Business | Internet and Businesses Online | Self Improvement |  
>> Home > Web Development > Online Services


By Jennifer Johnson
Posted Thursday, June 17, 2004

In the market for someone to host your site? Here are a few
questions to ask regarding potential web hosting companies.

>>What type of customer/technical support does the hosting
company offer?

I suggest you try to find a company that offers 24/7 tech
support. You probably know by now (and if you don't, you'll soon
discover), web site owners tend to keep odd hours. If you're
working on your site at 2am and run into a problem, you don't
want to wait until 9am the next day to get it fixed. Make sure
the company has a detailed FAQ page or online manual so you can
get answers to some common questions immediately. I prefer
companies that offer a toll-free number as well in order to
avoid long distance charges in the event I have a problem that
can't be solved online or via email.

>>How long has the company been in business? Who are some of
the clients?

Before I look for package specs, prices, etc., I like to check
out the company and make sure they're reputable. Look into how
long the company has been in business and, if possible, check
out some of the sites hosted by that company. Many web hosting
firms won't provide you with a list of clients, so if you're
unable to get that information, find out how many clients they
have. This should give you an idea of whether or not it's a
"fly-by-night" operation or a legitimate company.

>>What length of contract are you required to sign? Are there
discounts for paying several months in advance?

You'll find month-to-month contracts, quarterly contracts, and
almost any other arrangement. Decide which is the best for you.
I always "test the waters" before I sign any lengthy contract.
Once you settle on a company you like and want to stay with,
it's nice to have the option of paying several months in advance
at a discounted rate should you decide to do so.

>>How much will it cost?

Web hosting fees vary greatly. For the most part, though, you
get what you pay for - just like anything else in life.
Companies that charge $2.95/month usually don't offer everything
a company that charges $24.95/month does. I believe you can find
a high-quality host and a decent plan between $15.00 - $35.00
per month.

>>How much data transfer per month is allowed? How much extra
is charged if you go over that amount?

It's common to see 1-3 GB limits with additional amounts
available for purchase at $x amount/GB. That amount should be
suitable for sites just starting out; in fact, it's adequate for
many established sites. A word of caution: you may think
"unlimited data transfer" is the best option, but that's not
always the case. In reality, it's usually not truly unlimited
and if you share a server with a site with super-high traffic,
it could overload the server and cause your site's performance
to be affected.

>>How much storage space is allocated for your site?

25-50 MB far exceeds the needs of many sites. In fact, I don't
think I've ever used more than 15 MB; even on sites that had
many image files and lots of pages. It's good if your host
offers a resource meter or some other method to gauge how much
storage space and data transfer you use.

>>Are FrontPage extensions supported?

If you plan on using FrontPage to design your site, make sure
the host you choose supports FrontPage extensions.

>>Is unlimited FTP access provided?

FTP is a method of transferring files to your server. Shop for
unlimited, 24 hour FTP access.

>>How many email addresses are provided? Are autoresponders

Some plans offer numerous email addresses with their hosting
packages, so you can set up,,, etc. Look for hosts
that provide autoresponders as well. These are neat little
programs that send a predetermined reply to any mail addressed
to a specific email address. For example, let's say you want a
price list sent to everyone who sends an email to - autoresponders allow you to do this.

>>What CGI scripts are preinstalled? Can you use your own CGI

Many hosts provide a few preinstalled CGI scripts such as You don't have to mess with setting up file
permissions, the path to Perl, etc. when the scripts are
preinstalled - the hosting company has taken care of this for
you. I definitely recommend finding a host that allows you to
use your own CGI scripts even if you think you'll never use that
feature. Installing your own CGI script can be a daunting task
the first time out, but at some point in time, most web owners
want or need to install a script.

>>Is some sort of stats package included?

Lots of hosts offer some type of statistics package. In my
experience, it's much easier to use the package they provide
rather than trying to install one yourself - not to mention it's
usually less expensive as well. Whatever you do, don't fool
yourself into thinking you don't really need a stats package,
you do.

>>Is a shopping cart provided?

A shopping cart is another thing I much prefer my hosting
company take care of for me versus doing it myself. If you plan
on selling items from your site, it's worth checking into and
perhaps worth paying a little extra for a plan that comes with a
shopping cart.

Of course there are various other questions to ask a potential
web hosting company, but this list covers "the basics" for those
of you taking the first steps to an online business

About the Author
Jennifer Johnson is the owner of Logo Design Zone. She can create
a 100% unique, totally memorable logo for your business - for
UNDER $200! Does your current logo make the grade? Take Logo
Design Zone's free logo quiz and find out!


Click Here!



  Articles are submitted to EDN and licensed from various content sites.
  To report abuse, copyright issues, article removals, please contact [violations (at@)]

  Copyright © Evrsoft Developer Network. Privacy policy - Link to Us

Contact Evrsoft