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Top 7 Important Considerations Before Choosing A Web Hosting Provider

By Michael Smith

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The first thing before choosing a web hosting provider is that you should be fully aware of your hosting requirements. In addition to your own hosting requirements, the following considerations must be kept in mind when looking for a quality web hosting provider.

  1. More than 99.5% uptime:
    Choose a web hosting provider that has an uptime greater than 99.5% and if there is an uptime guarantee, it's even better. If your web site is for business purposes, it's very crucial that your site stays online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year.

  2. Fast Servers with Server Backups:
    The level of connectivity of your web hosting provider to the Internet is very important. So you should choose a web hosting provider with at least a T3 connection to the major Internet backbone. Analysis has shown that the average web visitor waits for about 30 seconds before your web page loads. So if your web site takes more than 30 seconds to load, chances are that you will loose a lot of visitors and consequently sales. To make your data secure, your web hosting provider must have a power backup system and should backup the data to an external device in order to prevent the data loss due to failure. Check how frequently the web hosting provider backups the data, i.e. daily or weekly.

  3. Disk Space and Bandwidth:
    Choose a web hosting provider that meets your disk space and bandwidth requirements. Most web hosting providers offer 1 GB to 3 GB of disk space, so if your web site is not mainly a download resource, then this factor is not that important for you. However, as regards the bandwidth, it should be as much as possible because your traffic can increase in the future thereby requiring more data transfer. Also check that you have the option of buying more disk space and bandwidth when required.

  4. Unrestricted CGI, SSH, FTP access & Anonymous FTP:
    If you have a professional web site, you will need to run CGI scripts, have SSH (Secure Shell) access and FTP access. CGI and FTP access is provided by most web hosting providers whereas SSH access is provided by a few. You may also need to check if anonymous FTP access is provided.

  5. Web-Based Administration with Software/Scripts:
    Almost all web hosting providers nowadays provide a control panel to access and manage web site features. Ask for a demo of their control panel if possible and check to make sure that it is simple as well as comprehensive. The control panel should provide access to FTP, e-mail, databases, e-commerce and all other functions for effective web site management. VDeck 2.0 and CPanel are the leading brands of administration control panels. The control panel should also have an extensive script library that you can use to add guestbooks, forms, surveys, newsletters etc to your web site.

  6. Full e-mail services & E-commerce capabilities:
    Choose a web hosting provider that provides both POP3 and IMAP e-mail accounts, web-based e-mail, autoresponders, mailing lists, forwarding accounts and antivirus and spam filtering software. Additionally, it should provide you with e-commerce capabilities such as shopping cart software and also merchant accounts. The web hosting provider must also have an SSL secure server for safe and risk-free transactions.

  7. 24/7/365 Customer Support & Moneyback Guarantee:
    If the Web hosting provider gives a moneyback guarantee, it's even better because it makes you absolutely risk-free. As regards support, the web hosting provider should provide as many support channels as possible including an FAQ section, a knowledgebase, video and flash tutorials, toll-free support, e-mails support, live chat support and a community forum. Try e-mailing the web host a couple of times to check how quickly they respond to your request. The customer support should be as prompt as possible and should be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. This is crucial because if you run into problems and the support staff is not receptive or knowledgeable, you will be helpless.

Michael Smith is an expert web hosting analyst. His web site reviews and rates the leading web hosting providers.

Article Submitted On: January 13, 2006