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Finding a Web Hosting Company to Suit YOU


Lets face it, we all know how much of a pain finding a company to do anything is. There are so many choices, so many different options and so many other things I cannot begin to name. Webhosting is like any other industry except there is probably far too many of them for such limited demand. The barriers are very low and everybody and their mother is a webhosting company these days. So who do you choose? This tutorial will help you with tips and tools to finding a webhost that will suit you and won't disappear tomorrow. I cannot guarantee anything, but this tutorial will lower the chances of such a thing happening. Even to this day I get cheated by webhosts, but I have also found webhosts that are very reputable and have done my websites and me wonders.

Step 1: Know your needs. Don't go looking for unlimited space and unlimited bandwidth because you have infinite ideas. When you have infinite time, infinite upload and infinite wisdom, then go look for your infinite webhosting account. Until then, be realistic, give yourself *some* room, and gauge your bandwidth usage.

If you are just starting out and don't even have a website yet, don't go blowing money away for 10GB of space and 100GB of bandwidth. You don't need it. Look for an account with under 1GB and enough bandwidth to download your entire site about 10 times.

If you need PHP and MySql consider linux packages. If you need ASP.NET or MSSQL server consider windows. Know which operating systems and software are required to make your website run.

Tips: Don't buy the largest package unless you can truly justify it. Ask any potential webhosts you are considering if you can upgrade later at anytime to a larger package.

Step 2: Know your options. Gathering information and researching web hosts is THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP IN FINDING A WEB HOST. Do not look only at their (the webhost's) site when researching, this is a common mistake. Try looking on any search engine with terms such as 'host.com sucks' or 'host.com review' or 'host.com down.' Terms like these should bring up reviews and complaints about 'host.com''s service. Replace host.com with whatever webhost you are considering of course.

A great place to start any research on a webhosting company is WebHostingTalk.com. WHT is the largest Web hosting forum on the internet with over 50,000 members. If the webhost has any sizable number of customers, you should be able to find information about them here. You can also find more options here by reading in the advertising section or using the 'Host Quote' function that they provide free to all users.

Tips: Look for network uptime guarantees, Service Level Agreements (SLA), Terms of Service (TOS) and other written documents that you will be bound to upon signing up. Email their sales representatives and try live chat and whatever help mechanisms they may offer. If a webhost is not prompt with information for potential clients, then don't expect much more when you actually become one. Response times are a great indicator of how responsive your webhost will be to your needs and requests.

Step 3: Deciding on a host. This step is the final step in finding a webhost. You have done all the leg work and hopefully compiled the information into word or excel so you can compare side by side your findings. Often, price is the determining factor in choosing with between two webhosts. If you feel both are equally featured and their support is equal, go with the cheaper one. Higher costs do not always equate to better service, expensive hosts can rip you off just as bad as a cheap one. This is why research is so critical.

If you do not know where to start on ranking your webhosting companies that you have looked at, write out your priorities. Do you need uptime the most? Fast Support? High Bandwidth? Once you rank your priorities, try and arrange your hosts and compare them with respect to those priorities. Hopefully one will come out on top that you can give a chance. If not, you can always start a thread regarding which to choose in a webhosting forum. Sometimes an outsider can offer insight and knowledge you may not have come across.

Tips: Look for a money back clause in case you are not satisfied. If they offer a free domain registration be very careful and ask that you are given an account at the registrar to control it at. Do not let your host take your domain name hostage later on down the road.

Final Check: Now that you have decided to purchase hosting from a certain company you need to consider many things. Contract length is a very important one. It is almost always better to order monthly because of the risk associated if your host fails/disappears/etc. The most you can lose with a monthly plan is one month. If you register annually/semi-annually/quarterly/etc you are at much greater loss if the host goes under. Make sure your webhost uses SSL and a recognized payment gateway to ensure you credit card's safety. If the payment page looks unsecure in any way, have someone look over it who knows what they are doing.

Enjoy your new web host and I wish you the best of luck with them!

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