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What to look for when finding a web host?  
The internet is growing every day, and so do your needs. What would you need to know to find a hosting provider to meet your business needs? As you study your options, you might consider the following factors:
How much should I spend to bring my idea or business online?

What factors should be my priority? Features, quality customer care, technical expertise or guaranteed uptime etc ??

It is important to make sure exactly what you need, and what you are getting, before you jump at a bargain.

Data Storage (Disk Space)
Normally the disk space is determined by adding the web server, secure server, mail server and SQL databases together.

If your site is not a multi-media site but just a regular site you may be just fine within 20mb of disk space. There is a wrong conception that your first priority should be a lot of disk space.

Most of the websites don't need more than 10mb of disk space to run.

Bandwidth (Data Transfer)
Bandwidth is the amount of data transmitted or received through a unit of time. In web hosting, bandwidth is consumed when visitors make requests for files on your web site and download them to their personal computers. When you add up the total of all files downloaded off of your site in a particular month, your total should be lower than the amount allotted with your hosting plan. If it is not, your file sizes may be too large or you may be generating a lot of hits - in which case you may need to upgrade to a larger hosting plan or to a dedicated hosting server.

Your Own Domain Name
Owning/Registering a good domain name is one of the basics of bringing your business/idea online. A name that builds a good first impression and easier to remember so that returning visitors don't have to remember where your site is hosted in order to reach you.

POP3 E-mail Accounts
You can send and receive mail through Post Office Protocol 3 accounts, so that your e-mail addresses end in your Web site's unique domain name.

E-mail Aliases, Forwarding and Auto-responders
E-mail aliases and forwarding allow you to set up names@yourdomain.com that forward to a POP3 e-mail account that you may already have. This allows you to check multiple aliases by downloading mail from one e-mail account. Autoresponders are also a great feature with hosting accounts since you can automatically respond to customer e-mails sent to a particular address with a standard message, like "Thank you for contacting our Sales team. We will be responding to your e-mail within 24 hours."

Customer Support
Quality customer support is one of the most important feature that you should search for. You do not want to wait 2 -3 days to get an answer to a simple inquiry.

Control Panel
Having access to a site management tool is important so that you may be able to handle most of the tasks your self such as creating DSNs, setting up sub-domains, once being a user being able to open up multiple websites on your own, keep your contact information updated, check your disk space utilization and bandwidth consumption and check your logs online.

What operating system is best for your web site?

An operating system or "platform," such as Microsoft's Windows 95, 98, 2000 or 2003 is the basic set of commands that tell your computer how to maintain data and open various applications. In the early days of Internet activity, most servers operated on a Unix platform, a powerful and flexible system but requires considerable technical expertise to administrate.

Experts offer widely different opinions as to which platform works best for web sites. In the end, the choice depends largely on what you want to do with your site. For example, if you'll be managing your site yourself and you are not a computer whiz type of a person, NT platform might be a better choice for you because it doesn't take as much effort to develop and update sites on them or if you are using Microsoft applications such as MS SQL (a database program) or Microsoft FrontPage (a web authoring tool), you might be more comfortable operating your site on a Windows NT/2000 platform. Since NT, MS SQL and FrontPage are all Microsoft products, they are more compatible with one another. On the other hand, if you can handle the site management on Unix servers by contracting it etc. and you may want to host a multimedia website that may utilize lots of disk storage space you may prefer Unix servers since disk space is cheaper on Unix servers.

What do you get out of a world-class data center and a professional host?

Redundancy
No matter how latest the equipment, or how talented the engineers, technology fails occasionally. A web host with multiple routers and switches, secondary servers, and UPS systems with backup generators can provide consistent, high-speed access and guarantee at least 99% uptime.

Reliability

web hosting providers who may have invested in the best monitoring equipment, experienced technical administrators, and redundant backup systems can offer this guarantee

If a web host guarantees only 95% uptime, keep in mind that this translates into 8.4 hours of down time per week: the equivalent of a "closed" sign on the door of your 24-hour business.

Security
It takes many layers of Internet security, from password protection to firewall barriers, to prevent determined hackers from wreaking havoc with your Web data. Most hosting companies offer some assurance that their network and software are protected from spamming and hijacking by restricting some applications on their servers or by not allowing components etc. Make sure the hosting company you choose has enough security measures in place to ensure that your data is completely protected.

Servers
Although it's possible to host a web site on the CPU of an average personal computer, responsive web sites require high-speed SCSI disk drives, error-correcting RAM, and the most powerful microprocessors available. Reliable providers host their sites on equipment built to withstand the constant bombardment of web traffic.

 
   

 

 

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