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Avoid These Mistakes When Choosing Your Web Host

Aug 17, 2007
If you are looking for your first web host or you are unsatisfied of your current one, this article will help you avoid common mistakes that people make when choosing their web host.

The first mistake is not knowing the technologies supported. Let me give you an example to make things easier. Let's say that your website is developed in .php, such as the widely used Wordpress blog. If you choose a web host that doesn't support php and MySql, you won't be able to make your site work!

So, what are the main technologies available? Your site can be designed to run in LAMP (Linux Apache MySql and Php) or in Windows. To find it out, you can either ask your webmaster or look at the files extension. If the files end with .php, then your website needs LAMP and a Unix/Linux web host. If the files end with .asp or .aspx, you are looking for a Windows Web Host.

Do your files end all with .htm or .html? Then you have nothing to worry about. Every web host will do just fine.

Many people don't know the difference between a shared hosting and dedicated hosting. They usually go with the first one because it is much cheaper, but then end up complaining if their website doesn't run as smooth as they expected.

Let me clarify something here. If you are just starting out online and you don't expect your website to have massive amounts of visitors, a shared hosting account is your best choice. As your traffic starts to grow and you see your website becoming slower to respond, you need to consider moving to a dedicated hosting.

While in a shared hosting your website is installed on a server together with many others, in a dedicated hosting you have your own server. Dedicated hosting is more expensive, but far more reliable and sensibly faster. If you don't have technical skills, you will need to look for someone who can manage the server for you.

Having a website online is great as long as you don't have technical problems. When something weird happens, you start realizing that you need someone to talk to. Some hosting companies have great tech support, but most don't. The first thing I check when I shop for a new web host, is what kind of support is available. I choose the companies that offer email, chat and phone support 24/7.

If a company is boasting all of these, it still doesn't mean their support is great. If I were you, I would check WebHostingTalk.com before taking your credit card out. This is a community where people exchange their real-life experiences with web hosts. Do a search for the company you are considering going with and look at what people have to say. If your search brings up no results, post a new comment and ask people for their opinion: folks at WebHostingTalk.com are very supportive.

The last assumption that people make when choosing a hosting company has to do with bandwidth. This is the amount of file transfers that you can use during a month. If you website contains many big files that your visitors can download or video footage they can watch streaming, you will consume a lot of bandwidth as your traffic grows.

Some web hosts say that they offer unlimited bandwidth. That is just sales talk, unfortunately. As soon as your account start using too much bandwidth, they will ask you to move to a more expensive plan.

If you have videos on your website and you don't want to spend hundreds of dollars a month in bandwidth costs, consider uploading them to YouTube.com and copy-paste the HTML code they give in your website. Your visitors will still be able to enjoy streaming video content, but you won't have to pay for that bandwidth: YouTube.com will!

I hope these suggestions will help you make a considered choice. I can do one more thing to help you out, though. Below I recommend two hosting companies that I am currently using to host my websites. The Unix/Linux option that I give you offers the most monthly bandwidth I have ever heard of. No, it's not "unlimited bandwidth", so you can trust them!
About the Author
Vittorio Bosio is the author of http://www.TechSavvyMarketer.com, where you can find video tutorials on Internet Marketing. For a Unix/Linux host, visit: http://www.techsavvymarketer.com/recommends/unixhosting. For a Windows host, visit:
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