Choosing a Web Hosting service or company is, no doubt, the most important decision
you have to make for your ecommerce operation. It is a time-consuming and intimidating
process since there're so many hosting services and plans to choose from and there're
so many experts try to advise others on Web hosting. We explain a 4-step process for
evaluating and choosing Web Hosting Services. And Hopefully that you can find your ideal
hosting company in 2-4 hours.
Step 1: Look for Hosting Features
The first step is to look at hosting plans or features of 3-5 hosting companies and to
figure out whether their services meet your business and technical needs. The candidate
companies could from your memory, referral, some review sites and etc.
- Server Do you prefer a NT, Unix or Linux operating system? Do you prefer a IIS,
Apache, WebLogic, JRun, or Netscape Web server?
- Programming Languages Do you prefer using ASP, PHP, Perl or JSP to develop your
- Database Support If you don't want to spend more money, it's likely you will get
- Other Features email, FTP, backup, site traffic analysis and etc.
- Disk Space and Bandwidth How much disk space and bandwidth you can use?
It's common for hosting plans to offer over 200MB disk space and over 40GB bandwidth a
month. Don't worry about disk space and bandwidth unless your e-business plan to distribute
large software or images.
Step 2: Research on Quality and Reputation
- # of customers This is a basic measure of service quality. You should also
look at the trend in customer acquisition.
- Years in business Make sure the company has been in business for some time.
So you don't have to worry about switching the Web hosting in near future.
- Customer feedback You can search the Web and newsgroups for customer
feedback for particular hosting companies. No feedback is good feedback.
- Reviews Look at more that one Hosting review sites.
Step 3: Test Connection Speed
- Availability Hosting companies usually guarantee 99.99% availability of your Web sites.
- Performance Hosting companies' web site will tell you what kind of connection they have.
You should test 2-3 sites hosted by the company or look at connection speed using
Alexa's site information.
Step 4: Check the Pricing
The pricing is the last thing to worry about. While many ISPs had gone out of business
in last a couple of years, handful of Web hosting companies have been prospered at the same time.
The stiff competition and maturity of hosting business model and technology have turned Web
hosting into a commodity.
- Base Price For about $8 or less a month, you can find a hosting plan that will
meet your basic needs for starter.
- Cost for Additional Services How much it will cost you for subdomains, extra
storage, extra bandwidth and etc.
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