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The Top 5 Things to Look For in a Web Host

Jul 18, 2008
Looking for ways to save money on your web hosting is not a sin. In fact, it's just good business sense. The less you pay for web hosting the more money you get to keep in profits or have for reinvesting in your business.

The problem comes when you only look at price - not value. Remember that the cheapest isn't always the best. You need to do some comparison shopping before you settle on just one particular web hosting service.

However, if you don't know what to look for then you won't know what you're comparing in the first place. That's why we've put together a list of the top five things you should look for in affordable web hosting services.

#1 - Support/Service

When prices are slashed, sometimes it's the customer service and technical support areas that get hit the hardest. Maybe you'll never need to call tech support with a question about your MySQL database but it should help you sleep better at night knowing you could reach them if you were having problems with the service.

First, you should look at the types of support the site offers. The three most common ways of reaching the company are via email, telephone, and live chat. You want a web hosting service that offers all three of these options. Plus, you want the telephone number to be toll free and at least the live chat to be available 24 hours a day.

#2 - Features

The basic idea of value is getting the most for your money. That means your discount web hosting service shouldn't skimp on the features.

One important feature is the CPanel. This is a virtual control panel that you'll use to manage your web site through the service. In most cases, one should be available but you also want one that is easy to understand.

You should also look for the word "unlimited" a lot. When there are limits on your services, it means you could end up paying a lot more than you bargained. You definitely want unlimited bandwidth or data transfer. Unlimited disk space is a good idea, too. If you plan on hosting more than one site or if you're interested in selling web hosting services yourself then having an unlimited number of domains is a benefit, too.

#3 - Data Center

The data center is literally the heart of the operation. This is where the servers are stored, maintained, and protected. Not every web hosting company operates their own data center, however. Some share with other companies. Others use virtual servers to host their customers; they pay someone else who handles the data center.

Besides simply having the data center, you also want to know that the company has a good size staff of trained professionals. If no one is ever on-site at the data center and something goes wrong, then correcting the problem is going to take longer and your site may be down too long.

#4 - History

With web hosting becoming a popular business, you'll find plenty of people trying to get a piece of the action. Unfortunately, many of these operations don't really know what they're doing. They might be in business for a couple of months then end up closing their doors. That leaves your web site out in the cold and unavailable to your customers.

Always look for a web hosting service that has been in the business for several years. The longer their history the more likely they are to stay around for the long haul.

#5 - Internet Reputation

Even though most web hosting services do offer money back guarantees, no one wants to take the risk of getting involved in a long-term business with a company you can't trust. That's why you always want to learn about their Internet reputation.

Internet reputation means what are other online users saying about them. A number of sites are available that rank or review web hosting services. You'll also be able to find information about users' opinions by searching the Internet. Message boards, forums, and other online communities are probably packed with comments. Read a few and decide for yourself.

The bottom line is that your web hosting service is a vital part of your online success. If you're working with a company that offers little, isn't reliable, and doesn't plan on being around for long, you won't be helping your business by contracting with them. Instead, do your research and choose the affordable web hosting service offering the most value for your money
About the Author
Tim Brown is a contributor to Discount-Web-Hosting-Advisor.com - An in-depth guide to discount web hosting including reviews , links to quality web hosts, guides and articles on what to look for as well as what to avoid.
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