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Understanding various web hosting criterions & features

By Staff

There are literally tons of hosting providers on the web and each one trying to top the other to win your business. You will find that prices between them vary according to services provided and you will find low cost, high cost and some in between. Each tries to offer what they consider good services but many lack in this area. It is important that you search out the good providers very carefully and choose one that can fit all your needs. You can’t compromise on service when your web business is at stake.

The following are key features, which you should consider when choosing a hosting provider. Each of these features can be extremely important top help you successfully run and managed your Internet business.

Server Space

The first thing you should be considerate of is how much space you will need on a server to host your web site files. There is a good rule of thumb to follow to help you make this calculation. If you just need space for web site files only and have no plans to run a software repository or have an image gallery, you should only need between 1-5 MB of disk space.

Many hosting providers, in order to try to outdo their competition will offer hundreds of megabytes of space, reasonably priced, just to get your business. The question is Do you really need that much space? Even though you will want to get enough space to grow your business, you need to be realistic and not buy so much space that you may never use most of it. If you search a little harder, you will find a provider that offers the right amount of space for your needs with room to grow built in.

Data Transfer Allowance (Bandwidth)

Unless you are planning on being the next best thin to the heavy hitters like Yahoo or Amazon, the amount of data transfer allowance that you will need will be minimal. If you are planning to run a software repository or image gallery as stated above, only then should you consider a higher allowance.  The rule of thumb here is that you will probably only use a few gigabytes per month, even if you anticipate heavy traffic. A small to medium size business can usually suffice with 5-10GB allowance.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that you are getting an awesome allowance for the price, it may not be what it appears. Also be leery of providers that offer unlimited bandwidth, they may have some hidden restrictions in the fine print. The key here is to read all terms and conditions of use very carefully.

Technical Support

Rather than focusing too much on disk space and bandwidth, the most important consideration in helping choose the right host provider is technical support. Various host providers offers various types and levels of technical. You need to choose the right support to keep your business running on the net. You also need to consider the level of difficulty in reaching them when you need them. The ideal provider will offer 24/7 round the clock support by phone and email. They should offer a convenient toll-free number to make reaching them easy as well. They should be reachable virtually any time during the day or night because you can never anticipate when a crisis may arise.

CGI-Bin Access

CGI scripts are a necessary part of any business web site at one point or another. They may be in the form of a simple mailing list management script or be as fancy as a credit card processing script. If you plan to do business on the net, you won’t get by without have a CGI script. You need to make sure that the host plan that you choose to host your site allows them to be installed and used.

Not all host providers will allow you to install and maintain your own scripts. They are concerned for security reasons and don’t know if they will work properly. For this reason, many providers offer pre-installed scripts which may be enough for your needs but if you are technically savvy and can do your own scripts, it may be best to find a provider that allows you to install your own. In addition, you will need to find a provider that supports the script’s language such as PHP, PERL etc.

Up-Time Guarantee

Critical to any and I mean any business on the net is the amount of time that the host server is up an running called “up-time.” It is important for you to find out a host provider'’ record of how often and how long their servers go down. If you are running a business on the net you simply can’t afford the potential lost business that you will experience if visitors can’t access your site because your host’s server is down.

As a matter of fact, it doesn’t matter how good a hosting plan you get or how much great technical support, disk space, or bandwidth you get, if your site is down a considerable part of the time, all that simply won’t matter much. You absolutely need a provider with a proven up-time record to ensure that your business is up and running 99% of the time. I say 99% because servers do have to come down occasionally for routine maintenance, but the time down should be minimal.

Email Accounts

Email accounts are basically a “dime a dozen” and host providers tend to offer a tone of them with their plans. In fact, you may never use all the email accounts you will get with a host plan. It simply isn’t necessary and shouldn’t be viewed as anything special being offered. Many host providers however, offer a lot of email accounts to entice you to sign on with them, which is fine if you are a major conglomerate or huge corporation with thousands of employees, but if you are a small or medium business, it simply isn’t necessary. The rule of thumb here is that you should only need around 10 email accounts.


Investigate thoroughly the reputation of any host provider that you are thinking of selecting to host your precious business web site. This is far more key than any feature that you may need. Drop in on various forums and hear what others have to say about host providers. Review any feedback you can find. Try to communicate with others who have had either good or bad experiences with certain providers. Only after you have thoroughly investigated a provider and are reasonably sure that they are reputable, should you consider doing business with them.


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