Web Hosting Essentials for Internet Start-Ups
In order to keep your business’ web site up and running smoothly, a strong web hosting company is essential. Below are 10 key items to consider when evaluating your current web host or shopping for a new one.
1. Technical support
The best way to find out how a hosting company deals with support issues is by doing the obvious: asking them something technical. How knowledgeable do they seem? How QUICKLY do they respond? What types of online resources do they offer? Is there a toll free support number you can call when you need to speak to a “live person?”
2. Domain Registration
Can a hosting company register a new domain name for you? If you would like to register the domain yourself, do they offer this flexibility? How easy would it be to transfer an existing domain to a particular hosting company? How quickly can this be handled? A good hosting company will be pro-active in assisting with both new domain registrations as well as existing domain transfers.
3. Getting your web site online
How will you get your web site from your existing web host or your local PC to your new host’s servers? Do you have unlimited FTP access to your website? In other words, can you upload, change, modify, or edit pages on the server at any time?
4. Design software compatibility
Most HTML editing software includes a publish, upload, or FTP function for uploading web pages from your local PC to your host company’s server/s. Check with the host provider to make sure the software you are using is compatible. If you are using Microsoft Front Page, confirm that their servers are Frontpage 98 and 2000 compatible.
Bandwidth (data transfer) is directly related to the amount of traffic your site receives. If you plan on having a lot of visitors to your site, make sure your account has been allotted enough monthly data transfer to cover these visits.
6. ECommerce Considerations
If you plan on selling something on your web site, does your host offer an online shopping cart, order form, or eCommerce hosting plans? Is there a limit to the amount of items you can sell online or add to your shopping cart? If you plan on processing credit cards online, how will this be coordinated with your web site?
7. Secure web pages
If you plan on collecting important customer information such as credit card numbers, addresses, and/or phone numbers, then you will need to do this securely. Does your web hosting company offer secure server access? If so, is this included in the cost of your hosting plan, or is there an additional charge?
8. The “www” factor
This may seem obvious, but there are still some hosting companies who DO NOT configure servers so that domain names can be pulled up WITHOUT typing in “www” first. Make sure that this is not the case with your host. You don’t want to lose visitors to your website just because they forgot to type in a “www”
9. Web Site Statistics
What type of statistical logs come with your hosting service? This is very important because you will want to be able to track the number of visitors or hits to your site, as well as the date, time, and where the traffic came from.
Do you have full control over the content of your web site? If you are paying for hosting, then more than likely your provider will not be placing pop-up ads on your site, but it’s not a bad idea to double-check before you sign up.
Superior host providers will install a web control panel which will allow for full control over tasks such as adding POP email accounts, re-directing email, setting up redirects, uploading web pages, and installing and/or modifying CGI-Scripts.
Remember, when it comes to your company’s online presence, the last thing you need to worry about is your web site going down. Luckily, if you consider the above items when choosing a web host, that will never be a problem
Be sure to check out these VPS Web Hosting and Dedicated Server Hosting options.