The web hosting company you sign-up with is your life-line on the Internet; choose a good one and you’re golden, a dud and you might be out of business! Do your homework before making a commitment, and check out the following advice that will help you make the right choice for your needs.
1. The real price you pay. There are hosts that call themselves “free,” however; often a quick glance of the fine print will reveal that you are actually signing up for a free trial. Free hosts also might complicate ownership of your domain name or force their name in your URL. Look closely at all details of a free host; you might decide you are better off paying a small monthly fee, having your own name and the ability to expand and upgrade more freely.
2. The reputation of the host. Unless the host you’re considering is a start-up, you should be able to find out what previous and existing customers think of them by reading reviews. Sites like HostSearch.com can give you an insider’s perspective and an edge when deciding who to sign-up with. Also, join an online forum like DiscussHosting.com, where you can ask your own direct questions and get answers from people who have been there.
3. The value of good customer service. Chances are very good that you will need to call upon the CS of your web hosting company; find out everything you can about them before making a commitment. They should provide 24/7 phone support and answer your email inquiries promptly. Test this by giving them a call and sending a message. Does somebody actually answer the phone? Does it sound like they are in an alley somewhere in a far away country? Undoubtedly, you will need CS and tech support, so make sure your potential host is up to the task.
4. Server access and bandwidth. Check out what kind of access you will be permitted to the server, without it you won’t be able to do some administrative jobs on your own site and this could cause serious complications for you down the line. Also, figure out how much bandwidth you will need before you even look for a host. Generally, you will want 10 gigs of bandwidth for every 500 users your site gets on a daily basis. Make sure your host offers enough or will later let you upgrade as needed (and without charging you too much for it.)
5. Signing on the dotted line. For most people starting out with a web host, the best option is a short-term contract. With this, you will be able to test-drive every aspect of the company and your own intentions on the web. If you don’t like them, you can quickly opt out and look elsewhere; if you decide running a web site wasn’t for you after all, you are under no expensive obligations to continue with it. After the duration of the brief contract, if you are happy with both the host and your personal results, go for it!
A web host is too important to choose at random; make sure the company you sign up for has your best interests at heart and will look out for you 24/7.