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Choosing a web host

In the first month this blog was up I went through three web hosts. I settled on HostGator, though sometimes they annoy me. The reason I’m still with them is that they offer 24/7 technical support with an IM-like feature. I would make support the #1 factor in choosing a web host.

1. Good technical support. I would make sure its 24/7 and they have some type of Live Person support on their web site.

2. Speed. Nothing annoys your visitors more than waiting for the page to load. It’s worth spending a little more to get a faster connection. I monitor my site speed regularly (all you need to do is pull up your page and click around). If the site seems slow I go to HostGator and complain.

3. Some Service Level Guarantee Make sure that they guarantee their availability at least 99% of the time, preferably more (some guarantee 99.7% or 99.9%). Coming up Site Not Found when someone clicks on a link is a lost sale.

4. Your own domain name. Using someone else’s domain makes you look cheezy.

5. A good management system. I couldn’t live without Cpanel. Make sure they have at least that.

6. Good management tools. I use PHPMyAdmin for databases just about every day, and awstats is one of my most used site pages.

Other considerations:

Secure server for credit card transactions
Autoresponders
Access to your personal CGI-bin directory
Shopping cart software

There are also different types of web hosting services.

1. Shared Hosting – This is when you share a server with other webmasters. If there are too many people sharing a box, the server or pipe bogs down and everyone runs slowly. This is the most popular type of hosting since it is usually the least expensive.

2. Shared Reseller Hosting – This is where multiple resellers share a box. This means that many people have multiple domains and websites running on the same box. Again, you have to monitor server performance carefully.

3. Dedicated Hosting – This is where you get your own server. With your own server you have much more control over performance. This is also the most expensive type of hosting because your fee has to cover the cost of buying and maintaining the server and related software. There are also different dedicated hosting plans that specify how much support you get for the box. The more admin and maintenance you do yourself the less expensive the plan is going to be.

Hosting Companies

HostGator
Yahoo! Web Hosting (they have some great deals)
PowWeb Hosting ($7.77/month with 12 GB + 6 Months free)

A Complete Solution

There is also a service called Site Build It from “>SiteSell that will not only get your website built but also includes hosting for your website, registering your domain name, submitting to the search engines, optimizing your pages so that you can get to the top of the search engines, and much more.

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