Choosing A Web Hosting Company

Your web hosting account is your e-business estate in the worldwide web. The main things to consider before signing up for any web hosting plan are:

  • web hosting company’s customer service
  • web server reliability
  • package content and features offered
  • web hosting fee

in that order of priority.

Customer Service

This is something to highly consider in any business you deal with and your web hosting company is no exception: the “breath” of your online business is in the hands of your web hosting company.

That company should always be there to assist you 24/7 and keep you informed should any problem arise: scheduled maintenance, power failure, hard-drive crashes, attacks by hackers.
Disasters lurk around every corner and can happen anytime without warning: that’s a fact of life. It’s how the web host handles those unfortunate situations that will set them apart from their competitors.

Your web hosting company should display their email address and telephone number in their website  so you can easily reach their customer service and talk to the tech support department when necessary.
If after three months of web hosting you are not satisfy with your current web hosting company, I suggest you move your web site to a better service provider.

As a rule of thumb, avoid any web hosting company that:

  • does not display a phone number on its website
  • puts you on hold for more than 20 minutes
  • responds to your emails 24 hours later
  • cares more about selling than providing answers

Web Hosting Server

The server uptime will tell you about how reliable is your web hosting. If the server that hosts your web page has a poor uptime (less than 99.9%) this only means that your web site is shut down very often and consequently your website will go AWOL at the same time.

This will cost you a lost of web traffic, visitors and customers trust during those blackout periods.Some of those visitors will never bother to try again to access your website later. That’s really bad for your business reputation and particularly for e-commerce websites.

A quick look on your account control panel will inform about how long the server has been running. However, keep in mind that number is just an indicator and should be looked at

Web Hosting Fee and Package

The following features are really the bare minimum any paid web hosting company should offer in their plan:

  • monthly fee: $6.95 to $10 or less for starters
  • free setup
  • use your own domain name
  • 1 GB (giga bytes: 1000 MB) of web space
  • 5 GB  of monthly transfer
  • unlimited FTP files transfer
  • 5 POP3 email accounts
  • email forwarders
  • 1 MySQL database
  • CGI, PERL, PHP, Python, Ruby support
  • unlimited auto-responders
  • 99.9% of server uptime
  • T1 internet connection
  • good tech support (response within an hour)
  • CRON JOBS interface

CRON JOBS allow you to schedule automated and recurrent tasks the serve performs without any further human intervention:  it’s set and forget!
If you have mailing list management, auto-responders or a follow-up system, you can setup “cron jobs” to automate all those tasks.
That will litterally put your e-business in autopilot.

How About Free Web Hosting

You certainly once came across a FREE web hosting offer. That’s ideal if you want to share your digital pictures with the online community or offer freebies but not for business purpose.

  • a free web hosting in most cases will not allow you to use your own domain name.
  • they offer such services to advertise offers from their sponsors in your website. Therefore you have no real control over what appears on your web pages.
  • the service can be shut down anytime without warning causing you a tremendous loss in terms of web exposure and all your files stored in that server.
  • there is no liability in the free web host’s part should something happen to your website

You get what you pay for!

In a nutshell, if you are really serious about running an e-business, you should avoid free web hosting.

Preventive Disaster Control

You should ALWAYS have a backup copy of your entire website offline in your computer. You can also use a third-party online storage service such as dropbox to have a backup copy you can access from anywhere with an internet connection.

If your web site is database driven, you must frequently get a backup copy of your database as well. The frequency of your database backup depends on how often your content is updated.
You just cannot leave all the damage control to your web hosting company.

A weekly backup of your mailing list or entire database is strongly advised.

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