Zeroing In On The Right Web Host – Part 2

HostMonster

We have seen how reliability, disk space and data transfers play a crucial role in the selection of a web host.

Let’s read further to find out what else needs to be taken into consideration.

E-mail Accounts

Decide on the number of e-mail accounts you are looking at.  While some web hosting companies limit the number, others have plans that provide multiple e-mail accounts, which is a better option as one has to make a provision for future growth. Some hosts also restrict the number of e-mails per hour, which doesn’t work for businesses using autoresponders to build lists.  But does the host allow autoresponders? Do you need a Web-based e-mail or POPS access, or both? Based on the users’ needs, these points should be kept in mind.

Operating System

Web hosting plans are available in both Windows and UNIX, with the latter being more popular as it offers the stability, flexibility and reliability that users need.  These plans are usually cheaper than the Windows plans.  UNIX–based plans using the Apache web server are good for webmasters as they offer a lot of features; such as blocking email harvesters, blocking IP address, error pages and others. Read about Apache servers on the net to understand how they work.

Coming to the Windows-based plans, they give users the option to use different dynamic content and specialized databases.  These hosting plans are needed for websites that use FrontPage, MS Access databases, MS SQL Servers, ASP and several Microsoft applications.

Multiple Domains

For webmasters who are into flipping websites or need multiple domains/sub domains, it is important to find out if the web host gives this option, and if they do, what they charge.

Control Panel/DirectAdmin

C-panel web hosting is a dream come true for webmasters and is extremely easy to work with even for new users. A web host has to offer both C-panel and DirectAdmin. This gives users the ability to handle their web accounts without having to depend on the support for all the maintenance tasks.

E-Commerce Sites

What is the website all about?  If there are physical goods being sold through the website, then e-commerce web hosting services that offer shopping cart software, SSL support to collect credit card payments and a merchant account are required.  Such web hosting plans are usually more expensive than the regular plans.

Policies

A web hosting company has to be well-equipped to take care of any contingencies. It is only natural to get a few spam complaints occasionally and no one wants their website shut down at the first suspicion of spam. There should also be an upgradation policy, where the hosting company allows the users to upgrade from shared hosting to dedicated hosting if required.

Shared hosting is basic hosting, where several websites share a single server.  Dedicated hosting is where users rent a complete server without sharing it with anybody.

Support

A good web hosting company ensures their technical support is on its toes at all times of the day or night.  It understands that time is money and businesses cannot afford to have any issues with their websites.  Go only with a web host who is available round the clock, including on weekends and holidays, and responds to urgent questions within reasonable time.  Never take them by their word.  Check them out by opening a ticket and seeing how quickly and how efficiently they respond and solve the problem.

Extra Features

Many web hosts provide a lot of stuff that is usually not required by all users and charge them for those features.  Some of the features are MySQL, MS SQL, MS Access, FrontPage, SSI support, PHP support, Peri support and ASP support.  If the webmaster does not require these, then it has to be ensured that they are not paying for them.

Payment Options

Web hosting companies usually accept both monthly and yearly payments. Annual payments are offered cheaper than monthly. But the smart thing would be to test out the web host by paying monthly initially and once the trust factor is established, it can be changed to annual payments.  Monthly payments leave users with the option to change web hosts if necessary.

While these are the important things to look for when deciding on a web hosting company, checking out the daily server backups and the speed of the servers helps.

All this may seem complicated at first, but it really is not. There are several good web hosts out there serving top marketers and zeroing in on the right one for you is going to be easier than you thought.  But before going on a hunt, note down your requirements.

This is a continuation of:  Zeroing In On The Right Web Host – Part 1

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