Avoiding The Pitfalls

Choosing a Web Host – Avoiding The Pitfalls

If you’re in the market for web hosting, there’s some things you should be aware of before parting with your money. Entrusting your site to a hosting service is a big step, especially if you are involved in e-commerce or disseminating important information to the community.

By: J.J. Ralph
 

If you’re in the market for web hosting, there’s some things you should be aware of before parting with your money. Entrusting your site to a hosting service is a big step, especially if you are involved in e-commerce or disseminating important information to the community. Here are a few things to look for when finding a Web Hosting Company.

UNLIMITED BANDWIDTH OFFERS

This is probably one of the more popular strategies that some companies use in order to attract your business. It’s worked on this principle – the vast majority of web site hosting clients will not be big bandwidth users, therefore lowering the average bandwidth usage across the entire client base.

This situation allows hosting companies some room to move and if a few clients use well above the average, it’s no real problem – unless your site is using as much as hundreds, or perhaps even just dozens of the host’s other clients.

Something else to bear in mind is that if you are using a ton of bandwidth, that usually means your site will be creating a fairly hefty load on the server as well which may breach the host’s terms of service. The bottom line is, if you have a big bandwidth site, you’re better off looking for a dedicated server – after all, why risk such a golden goose for the sake of what is really just a few extra dollars a day to have your own managed dedicated server?

So, what would qualify as being a big bandwidth site? It greatly depends on how your site is structured, but anything over 10,000 unique visitors a day is probably going to test the limits of most shared hosting accounts.

BANDWIDTH “THROTTLING” AND LOAD BALANCING

It is important to ascertain whether your host will decrease the availability of your bandwidth based on server activity. This isn’t a decrease in your quota itself, but a “slowing” down of how fast this bandwidth can be used. Bandwidth throttling can result in your entire web site being slow to load. Excess throttling can mean that some of your visitors may not be able to access the site.

DATABASE LIMITS

So many applications these days are powered by databases and you may find that one or two databases aren’t enough – and then suddenly the cheap account you had becomes quite expensive through additional fees.

 

DOMAIN LIMITS

You may only want to host a single site now, but what about in the future? As with databases, some hosts only offer 1 or 2 domains included in their prices – and you may have to pay top dollar for additional domains. Also, a good web hosting service offers true multi-domain support, i.e. you can host a number of sites with their own domain names under the same account and they will also have their own @extradomain.com emails addresses.

 

UPTIME GUARANTEE

As with money back guarantees, it’s wise to check the fine print. Some uptime guarantees exclude just about every event that could lead to serious downtime and are totally useless. When comparing uptime figures between hosts, bear in mind that many companies may claim “99.99% uptime”, but they will actually be referring to their servers being powered on and connected to the Internet; however, in most instances they won’t subtract the downtime from a single service such as email not functioning.

CONTENT OBJECTIONS

In the terms and conditions of almost every web hosting service is a clause stating that they can terminate your account at any time, for any reason. In most instances, this is to protect the web host from the increasing number of unscrupulous individuals in our society who have a passion for litigation.

There is a down side to this – you may express a political opinion or religious view that may be in opposition to that of the web hosting company management. They are well within their rights to terminate your account. Check with the hosting company before signing up if your content is the subject of controversy, is highly political or religious.

 

CONFLICT RESOLUTION

Some hosts won’t hesitate to pull the pin on your account for one of any number of reasons – some of which are mentioned above. A good host will usually warn you first if trouble is appearing on the horizon so that you can take action before it becomes a matter of suspension.

Hosting is a complex area with many players involved – by taking the points above into account before selecting your next web host, you can help reduce the risk of frustration and disappointment.

CONCLUSION

Make sure to talk to a sales representative before purchasing a web hosting plan. Know how much bandwidth & storage space you’ll need for your site. Make sure the web host provider you sign up with offers multiple domain names,even if you are only planning on using one domain now. As always, be thorough, and make sure you have an open communication with the provider before you sign up, this way, if you have any problems in the future you will be certain to have a quick and comprehensive resolution.

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