To determine what web hosting company will best suit your needs you must carefully examine your requirements and spend considerable amount of time researching web hosting directories, webmasters' forums and newsgroups. The major key points you must take into account are web host reliability, fast connection, uptime guarantee, 24/7 technical support, and price.
Choosing Web Hosting: Free vs. Paid
If you want to publish a small personal non-commercial web site you may consider a free web hosting service. However, keep in mind that you, most likely, will have to include banners and pop-up windows in your pages. Also, free hosts will usually provide low bandwidth and you will not have a unique domain name www.yourdomain.com.
If you are running a serious business or launching an e-commerce web site, you will have to find quality paid web hosting company offering such features as your own domain name and dedicated IP address, unlimited e-mail accounts, 24/7 reliable support via live chat, email or toll-free number. Also determine if your e-commerce web site requires following features:
· Unrestricted CGI-Bin
· MySQL Database
· Unlimited e-mail accounts
· PHP support
· Microsoft FrontPage Server Extensions
· Unlimited free FTP access
· Free Shopping Cart
· SSL Encryption for secure transactions
· Statistics on visits to your site
· Access to your log files
Space & Traffic
To calculate how much server space you will require, think how large your website is, how many web pages it consists of, if there is any graphics, Multimedia or Flash involved. A minimum of 20MB - 50MB of server space is recommended, especially if you are planning to regularly update your website. If you are planning a web promotion campaign and a number of visitors, take into account monthly traffic, which should be at least 10GB. Most web hosting companies charging extra when you exceed server space and traffic limit.
Many web hosting providers guarantee up to 99.999% uptime, but even 10 minutes of downtime is a disaster for your online business. For you it means losing potential and existing customers and receiving negative feedback. To assure web host reliability, contact a few customers already using this service and ask them to provide their objective evaluation.
At last, take your time making a decision. Consider all important pros and cons in finding a service provider to satisfy your needs. Put all facts together and sign up to a service that will help to reach your goals.