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Are all cheap web hosts the same?

By Staff

When searching for just the right web host plan to meet your hosting needs it is important that you know what some of the basic features are available with various plans out there. Many hosting providers offer a variety of features and services but not all of them offer the same by way of features and services. Here are some basic features that you should expect to get with any host plan.

Three of the most basic features that you will find offered are:

         Disk space

         Email accounts

         FTP ability

Disk Space

 The amount of disk space that you will be offered will vary based on price of the hosting plan. You get what you pay for applies here. If you choose a lower cost hosting plan for instance you may not get as much disk space allocated as you would with a higher cost plan. This is an important consideration when choosing a web site host because if you have a lot of files, especially multimedia files, you may need a lot of disk space to store them on. If you plan to run an Internet business you also need to take into consideration the possible future expansion of your business and make sure that you have adequate disk space to accommodate additional files.

When determining the amount of disk space that you will need, consider the following:

         Storage for various tasks

         Storage for email, web files, databases and log files

         Types of files that are counted towards your allocated space size

Once you break down your requirements in this manner, it is easy to determine just how much space you need to acquire. However, some host providers include email or logs in the calculation, which can make it more difficult to determine exactly how much space will be needed for your core site files. This is because your core files will not change as far as how much space they will need for storage, but your email requirements and even log requirements will fluctuate.. Trying to determine the amount of fluctuation is where it gets tricky.

If email and logs are included in the calculation of disk space by a host provider, it may be best to set the maximum amount of space that you want allotted for these functions. This will prevent an over storage of email on the server taking up too much room and possibly causing you to go over your allowed limit.

Email Accounts

Hosting plans usually offer various types of email accounts as a feature of their plan. This is pretty common among all types of hosting providers regardless of cost. In some cases, you even get the chance to control certain aspects of your email account such as the settings, adding restrictions for maximum space allocated to email and so on. Some host providers will setup your email account for you but others prefer that you make those choices yourself.

Some of the more popular types of email accounts include:





Let’s take a closer look at these.

  • POP3 accounts – These are traditional "inboxes." Each account is assigned one username and password and can receive and store emails. When the inbox is full however, the incoming new emails are bounced back to the sender and can’t be stored.

  • Forwarding mail accounts – These accounts allow you to send or forward your email to an email filter before you receive it. This helps to filter out the spam that you may receive. Email is redirected to another email address that you designate to be responded to appropriately. This activity significantly reduces the number of emails received by your POP3 email account.

  • Aliases – This applies to various names that can be used to name different types of email accounts and have the email redirected to these names. Usually used when emails are received that are not recognized by the server, these aliases become a “catch-all” to collect and process email from “unknown” senders.

  • Autoresponders – Even though autoresponders are not exactly an email account, they do receive their own email address for people to respond to. They are basically setup to send out messages to people who ask for some sort of information offered on a web site. They save time by only responding to emails requesting information rather than trying to send email to every address you capture on your web site.


FTP Access

FTP access is another of the more common basic features that you will find offered by various host providers. You can upload files to the server and edit and delete content on your website with this feature. This is much easier to do with FTP access than it is with a web-based interface. In some cases, depending on what type of system your host provider is using, you can even change file permission settings using FTP.

Some advanced features of FTP is the ability to create various FTP accounts. Many host providers do offer this feature so it is worth checking into. This is a great feature because it gives you the ability to allow someone to help maintain your server or to share your server while keeping your site files separate and private. In some cases you can even define specific access to certain folders only and define what can and cannot be done with them.




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