What Should I Look for In A Web Host?
 

What Should I Look for In A Web Host?

Reliability: Plain and simple, your web host should be reliable. In fact, you should actually look for web host providers that guarantee uptime (the time when it is functional) - preferably in the 99 or 99.5% or higher time. While most hosts do not provide refunds or discount if hosting time falls below a certain point, without that guarantee, the web host will have little incentive to ensure that its servers are running all the time. You can verify that your website is up and running from multiple locations around the world with website monitoring plans from InternetSupervision.com

Data Transfer (Traffic/Bandwidth): Data transfer, commonly known as "bandwidth", is the amount of data (usually measured in 'bytes') that are transferred from your server to visitors when they browse your website. Do your best to avoid web hosts which offer unlimited bandwidth or unlimited transfer. Web hosts must pay for bandwidth and transfer, so if you consume a lot of it, they will not sit back and absorb your costs - they may even charge you for exceeding the "unlimited bandwidth" arrangement that they used to attract you in the first place and simply shut down your site rendering it unavailable to visitors - in which case, having a website monitoring plan from InternetSupervision may prove useful.

Technical support: You may be surprised at how often things go wrong at the most inconvenient of times when it comes to web hosting. Choosing a web host that offers a technical support function 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all year around is essential to your success. Even the best web hosts have downtime however and it's important to have an independent third party website monitoring company watching your site when you cannot. You may even find that using a website monitoring service will notify you before you web host does!

FTP, PHP, Perl CGI-BIN access, SSI, .htaccess, telnet, SSH crontabs:  If you are paying for Web hosting, make sure that you have access to these features. Seek out a commercial host that allows you to install PHP or CGI scripts on your own, use .htaccess if you want to customize error pages or protect your site (to prevent bandwith theft or hotlinking) and use Telnet or SSH access to test CGI scrips or maintain databses. If your host does allow you to use these services make sure that you are monitoring your website in case something goes wrong and the changes or installations you have made are operating correcting.

SSL (secure server), MySQL, Shopping Cart: If you are planning on doing any sort of business through your website, you might want to look out to see if the host provides these facilities. You will definitely need SSL if you plan to collect credit card information on your site. If you do install a shopping cart on your system, it is essential that you maximize your website uptime and check individual Web pages availability from multiple locations around the world.

Email, Autoresponders, POP3, Mail Forwarding: Professional Web hosting companies always offers email addresses associated with your domain. Always choose a Web host that offers multiple email address, provides built-in customizable autoresponders and can forward email message to a predetermined "catch-all" email address if so desired. Since most online companies use email as a primary means to communicate to their customers and clients it is essential that your email server is up and running all the time. If you're concerned about your email server going down and losing important email messages, monitor your websites email server at InternetSupervision.com.

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