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What to look for in a Web hosting plan

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If you don’t know where to start when it comes to choosing between Web hosting plans, or worse, the thought of committing to a plan raises so many questions it causes you to lose sleep, read on. Few things are more frustrating than being forced to make important decisions when you feel that your lack of knowledge now, could lead to problems later. Selecting a Web hosting plan can be just that kind of situation, so if you feel the urge to rush in and sign with the cheapest plan just to get the job done, our advice is to wait, and read the few words here. Experience has taught us that if you at least get clear about what you need, then you stand a better chance of a pain free relationship with your Web host. And this can ultimately mean a better experience for your site visitors and clients.


Are you the web designer or the site owner, or both?

If site design and administration is out of your hands it makes economic sense to use a host with efficient modern interfaces for accessing your site so that it is speedier for your designer to work on your site.  Choose a host that provides the popular cpanel interface, and try to find a service that is located not too geographically distant from you and your target audience. Judging how far is too far is not easy because Internet communications are invariably fast these days, but finding a host within your national boundaries does assure you that response times for page requests are likely to be good, and it provides the added security of knowing that your service is covered by local telecommunications laws and standards.


The quality of help provided by your host is very important

Your designer will on occasion need to contact the host for details related to the setup and running of your site, and if the help centre is based off-shore expect delays and communication challenges in these dealings. The down side of committing to a host that provides a local help centre is that you will invariably pay a little more. The balance between cost and the convenience of local support is something to discuss with your Web designer. An experienced designer can probably manage with minimal host support, but if your site depends on a high percentage of uptime and quick resolution for service problems, a cheaper solution is probably not in your best interests. 


Do you intend to provide ecommerce?

If yes, you will need a reliable host with excellent up times, and help that fixes problems fast. If you are handling visitor purchases and passing these details on to financial organisations you are generally advised to consider moving up from a ‘basic’ hosting plan. Cheaper plans usually mean more sites running on the same server. This way the host provides economy of scale, but the down side, and it can be a big one for ecommerce, is that the same band-width provided by your host server is shared across a large number of sites. This can lead to slow response times, and if the potential for frustrating your visitors isn’t bad enough, it also introduces the possibility of timeouts and therefore failures when transactions are being passed to payment services. Also, having your site sit on the same server as perhaps hundreds of others means greater exposure to security threats. Security holes in other sites on the same server introduce risk to your site, and there is also the possibility that other account holders on this service might deliberately introduce malicious code or attempt to access other sites residing there. Bottom line, this is unlikely, but a crowded neighbourhood exposes you to more unknown neighbours.  


Your designer will make hosting recommendations

Do some research on the host services they suggest. If uptime is vital, look for reports about outages for these hosts. Do users feel outages have been acceptable and handled well? If there are only a few negative reports then perhaps these can be discounted since people generally are less inclined to report good news, but if the Web seems full of bad reviews about your potential host then think twice before you decide to go with them.

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The management of your domain name deserves special consideration

Your domain name is your street address on the Web. You would like to know that people can always find you there. The temptation for you and your designer might be to lump all of your sites and domain names together in one convenient place, with the one host. This seems efficient, especially if the temptation to do so was motivated by competitive pricing. Unfortunately there is a downside to this approach. If for some reason you become dissatisfied with your host and decide to move your site to another provider, you will need your domain name to come along too. This generally means finding another domain registrar that you are happy to have managing your domain, and getting them to contact your current host/registrar on your behalf to make the transfer. Any communication delays during this process can mean delays in getting your site back up and online with your new provider. Managing your domain names via a registrar service that is independent from your Web host avoids this potential delay when moving a site.


That’s not all

There are many other possible considerations. Will your site feature video content or high resolution photos? These types of files will require reasonable bandwidth in order for your visitors to get the most from them. Speak to your designer and take a longer term view of your hosting needs if your plan is to create a popular interactive site.

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Comments

2 comments on this post.

On January 5, 2013, 8:19AM captchasn said
fantastic publish, very informative. I'm wondering why the opposite specialists of this sector don't notice this. You must continue your writing. I am sure, you have a great readers' base already!

On December 25, 2012, 5:38PM netlab said
Hi there, yeah this piece of writing is genuinely nice and I have learned lot of things from it about blogging. thanks.

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