What to Look For in a Web Host?

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Disk Space

The amount of disk space offered generally not a factor these days. Most websites will use less than 50 mb and unless you’re hosting lots of images or video and sound files, a few hundred mb will be adequate. If you like to store your emails on the server you will want to have more space.


Most websites use less than 2gb of traffic per month. If this will be a high traffic site look for more. Also inquire about overage charges and about their policy concerning what happens when a site goes over the limit.


Under most conditions you are going to want to choose a UNIX based system. These are generally more stable and secure than their Windows counterparts. The only time I recommend someone use Windows hosting is if they need it for ASP or ASP.NET scripting or for some other reason it is required. Many individuals misunderstand that the computer they use at home plays no role in this choice.


Before you signup with a company always be sure to ask what type of connection they have to the internet and what type of redundancy is in place for this connection. Also see if they have any sample sites they can refer to you so you can test the loading time.


Ask if there is an uptime guarantee for their hosting plans. Look for uptimes of 99.99% or better. Things happen and servers have issues, but it is important to see how quickly these issues are resolved. Ask if they have any historical data of their reliability they can provide.

Shell Access

If you anticipate needing shell access, check to see if it is available. Many web hosts are disabling this feature

Scripting Languages allowed and Database

Make sure the plan you go with has all the features you need. Make sure it has CGI access. If you want to install a script make sure the hosting supports the language and type of database it may use. Most UNIX based plans should have CGI, PHP, Perl, MYSQL included and most Windows plans should have ASP, ASP.NET, MS SQL and support Access databases.


Make sure they provide software to see statistical information. Ask what they offer and investigate whether this contains all the information you need.


This can be a very important thing to look for. Look for both phone and email/ticket support methods. If phone charges are an issue, make sure a toll-free number is available. The most important thing to look for in the prospective Web Host is the turnaround time for resolving technical issues. It is too late to check or complain about this once a problem has occurred. The shorter the response time, the better. If you are new to the website/hosting world and expect to call in for help with setting up your account, make sure that you check to see if this is allowed. Most support departments will not be your web design reference section and will charge to fix design mistakes.

Server Location

The location of your server play’s an important role in the access speed. If your customers are in the United States your server should be in the United States. If your customers are in India then your server should be in India.


If the price is too good to be true, then it probably is. You will get what you pay for. If you are spending less than $10 a month, expect the level of service to be similar to that amount. I’ve personally spoken with customers running websites that take in thousands of dollars a day on a $3.95/month hosting package. When the site goes down with server issues don’t expect the hosting company to pay a single cent of your lost revenue. If you’ve got a high revenue website a shared hosting plan is out of the question and you should look for a custom package with redundancy built in.


Source by Scott Smith

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