Posts tagged ‘Web Host’

Questions to Ask a Web Host

The web hosting industry has become increasingly competitive and there are a myriad of companies out there battling for your business – but some won’t definitely have you or your business interests in mind. Cheap web site hosting definitely doesn’t mean the best hosting and neither does signing up with the most expensive companies guarantee you the best service – it’s a

confusing world of solutions, smoke and mirrors.

Competition’s a great thing, but the frenzied levels of promotion has also forced a number of hosts to use questionable marketing tactics and a heavy load of activity-restricting fine print in their contracts. Many web-hosting companies don’t make profits by establishing a solid customer base, but rather by having a high turnover. The more customers they can have signing up and then dropping off, the more dollars they make.

Of course, not all hosting services take this attitude and there are some solid companies that respect and encourage their clients.

FINDING THE RIGHT HOST

Finding these gems amongst the rot is the challenge. Some webmasters have to change hosting services 3 or 4 times a year! The downtime involved prevents them doing what they do best, to maintain and develop their sites.

Regardless of how good a hosting service may claim to be or how they represent themselves, the only way you’ll get to understand what they are offering is to ask questions – and then to file the answers for comparison later on. Find out about what others are saying about them too; but bear in mind that if a hosting company has been around for a long time; they won’t have a 100% satisfaction record – it’s just not possible given the thousands, or perhaps hundreds of thousands of clients they’ve provided services to over the years. Approach the review process holistically.

Creating a template email to send out to hosting companies is the most time efficient way to cut through the hype and allow you to make apples to apples comparisons.

ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS

But what questions should you ask a hosting service? A great deal depends on the type of web site you have. For the purposes of this exercise, we’ll use an example of a typical small site that may perhaps be receiving up to a few thousand visitors a day. Even if your site is only a hobby web site, or community based – you never know when things may change. It isn’t an uncommon situation for a well-designed and targeted site to grow from a few visitors a day to hundreds, or even thousands within a short space of time.

The first step in tracking down the best and most affordable web hosting company for your needs is to use your favorite search engine and visit web

hosts. Briefly look around the site to see if their offer seems interesting and their ideals and ethics in line with yours. Take a look at the company profile, if there isn’t one that details the company (rather than how good they claim to be), run like hell! The rest of your initial enquiries can be handled via their support system.

Be straightforward when you submit your questions to the hosting service, let them know that you are shopping around.

NOT ALL HOSTS ARE CREATED EQUAL

The criteria for the first cull is simple – if they don’t respond to your enquiry within 24 hours, delete them from your contenders list. The same goes if they just send you links to promo material without any personalized message text. To make it more interesting, send your email late on a Saturday night – wherever the hosting company is in the world, it will be the weekend.

The rationale behind the 24 hour deadline is this – if a web hosting company can’t respond with pre-sales questions within an acceptable time frame, it may be an indication of what their customer support is like. Also, many web hosts don’t see the “big picture” – which is a fatal mistake. You may be starting out small, but who knows how big you’ll become and how many other

people you will refer to their service? A forward thinking company recognizes this and reacts appropriately.

Don’t make it too hard on the hosting companies in your email to start off with, you can ask more detailed questions as you reduce the list of possibilities. The following is a template that you might like to use.

SAMPLE EMAIL TEMPLATE:

This example would be suitable for most personal and business start-ups for initial enquiries. These questions are not highly technical and any hosting service should be able to answer them confidently, competently and quickly.

==================

Dear Sales,

I am currently in the market for a good web hosting service with excellent customer support and you are among a number of hosting services I am reviewing. I have taken a quick look at what you have to offer on your web site, but with so many services offering so many different options -it can be pretty confusing. I would greatly appreciate you answering a few questions and your recommendations for a plan that would suit my purposes.

Here is a list of my basic current needs:

At least 500 meg of Hard Drive space (Note: change this to suit)

At least 2 gig of Bandwidth per month (Note: change this to suit. 2 gig is plenty for most to start out with)

At least 20 mailboxes (Note: change this to suit)

FrontPage 2002 Extensions (if you use it)

PHP 5 (even if you don’t need this initially)

Perl 5 (for running scripts)

2 MySQL (database capabilities – with so many popular applications needing MySQL databases, it’s best to get an account that has multiple db’s)

FTP access

Server logs access (for in-depth web site traffic studies later on)

Web site traffic monitoring reports

Easy to use admin interface

(Any other specific needs)

What would you recommend, bearing in mind that I’ll need plenty of room to grow. Please also send the URLs of the suggested package and upgrade options pages. (Many of your questions will be answered on these pages, links will save you from having to hunt around on their sites)

Questions:

1. Is there a setup fee?

(A setup fee is not necessarily a terrible thing, it just needs to be factored into your budget)

2. What is your uptime record?

(Look for at least 99.9% uptime over a month. )

3. Can I upgrade my plan at any time?

(A good hosting service will allow you to change your plan at any time)

4. What are your excess bandwidth charges?

(Although unlikely you will get excess traffic during start-up phase, it’s important to know how much you will be charged if you use over and above your quota for data transfer. Data transfer or “bandwidth” refers to the amount of data going in and out of your site e.g. publishing up information or requests from visitors for information including page views.)

5. How often will my site be backed up?

(In a number of cases, you’ll find that the cheaper the price, the less likely your site will be backed up on a regular basis)

6. Do you offer secure server and ecommerce capabilities (shopping carts etc.) included or as an upgrade?(You may not want this in the beginning, but it’s handy to have)

7. Do you offer an affiliate program or referrer bonuses?(If you settle with a host and you are happy with the service, no doubt you’ll tell others. Why not profit from that – it can subsidize the running of your site or even turn into a good earner for you!)

8. Is your free tech support available 7 days a week? (A VERY important point – many offer this but sometimes all you’ll get is a recorded or autoresponder message during weekends. Telephone support is not a necessity for most people – a good email or online ticket based support system can actually be better than the phone as it provides a record for both parties. Many helpdesk telephone support people have very little technical knowledge – they tend to rely on “wizards”.)

9. Why should I choose you over other hosts offering the same sorts of features and pricing?

Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions

Me.

These questions and points are just to get you started in the reviews process and will allow you to weed out many of the fly-by-nighters. It may seem like a lot to ask, but an experienced staffer should be able to complete the questions very quickly. Always be polite when posing questions as the answers will be provided by a human being with feelings as well. By asking questions in a courteous manner, you will get the relationship off to a good start.

When composing the email, skip a couple of lines between each question to encourage the person responding to put their remarks under the relevant question. This will give you a good record to refer back to in the future. Always respond to each response with a brief thank you note.

Author: John J. Ralph

website: http://www.thinkhost.com/?p=6268bb7d

Types of Web Hosting – Shared or Dedicated?

What are the differences and the advantages of each plan?

In a word, under the shared hosting plan, you share server resources with other websites: memory, space and bandwidth. This is ideal for small websites that don?t need much resource to run. Under the dedicated plan however, the user leases the whole web server.

Now let us look into more details at both plans: dedicated vs. shared host.

The biggest advantage of shared web hosting plans is its affordability: Because you share hosting resources with many other websites, you also share the server?s running costs and this brings down your monthly hosting bill. Due to the huge competition in this market, you also get good value for money in terms of space and bandwidth.

Shared web hosting plans are also convenient and efficiency: Because they are run by professionals, you need not worry about that aspect of things and concentrate on building your website. Additionally, shared web hosting is efficient as you only use resources your actually need. And you have the option to buy more if you reach your allocated limit.

Finally shared web host solutions are user-friendly: Most web hosts provide a user control panel through which you can easily upload and delete files as well as access webmaster tools such as site statistics.

Let us now consider dedicated web hosting solutions.

The key advantage of dedicated host plans is the exclusivity you enjoy. You don?t have to share web resources with anyone. Because you don?t have to share your server with 200 other websites, you also enjoy more control over what is loaded on the server. Dedicated web hosting is ideal for websites with huge traffic. If your website attracts a heavy traffic, you will require plenty of bandwidth each month and dedicated web hosts usually offer unlimited bandwidth.

Finally dedicated servers have they own IP address so you don?t run the risk of being blacklisted if other websites on your server get blacklisted by search engines for spamming or illegal activities.

In conclusion, before choosing what plan to go with, carefully consider you needs in terms of web space, bandwidth and memory. But you also need to keep in mind you future needs as your website?s size and traffic grow.

Types of Web Hosting

web hosting is one of the primary facilities required for the online business and as you progress with your online services then your web hosting needs also tend to increase. Few dollars per month would be enough during the fist few months but incase you feel that the site is not generating the adequate traffic then you would need to look for another web servers that can offer you better feasibilities. It is also consider the different types of web hosting services which have been discussed in detail in this article.
Shared hosting

As the name indicates that the shared hosting means that you need to share your server space with other websites. The biggest benefit of shared hosting is that it is very economical as you share the web servers you can derive the benefit of shared cost, you can almost use the service with almost $5-$10 per month.

The biggest demerit of this kind of web hosting is that you need to be at the mercy of the other website who is sharing and worst part is that if you are sharing the server space along with a popular website, this will affect the performance of your website. But if your website is a popular then you can enjoy the services at an economical cost. This kind of web hosting is ideal for brochure ware websites.

Reseller hosting

The reseller hosting is like the shared web hosting with sophisticated tools which help you to resell your hosting space. They have greater technical control generally through the web host manager control, software for the purpose of billing and other essential tools. Some of the other perks which you have other than the billing software are the free websites templates, technical support which ensures that the hosting company will look after the technical issues and you can get the benefit of selecting the trendiest names for your website. The prices of the reseller hosting varies according to the additional features which have been offered for the web hosting.

Grid or cloud hosting

This is a recently invented hosting technology that allows several individual servers work together so that it looks like a giant server and as the needs of web hosting the hosting company would add hardware to make the required grid of several servers work together. The pricing structure of grid web hosting depends on your usage as they follow the strategy of pay for what you use. Incase you are intending to get your web services starting through grid packages that I would recommend it to you if you are a tech savvy.

Virtual Private Server Hosting

The virtual private server have one physical server but they act like separate servers. A VPS stand midway between shared hosting and getting your own machine. The VPS web hosting services allocates a dedicated slice of computing services. In this you would not have any problems of sharing your browser with other websites as you will have a complete domain, of course incase you are selecting this method then you need more than the shared hosting. The prices range from $50-$200.

What?s the Difference Between Shared and Managed Web Hosting?

One could say that web hosting has gone mad with its never ending array of niche variations. These days, web hosting comes in so many different forms that keeping up with all of them gets pretty confusing. You?ve got your eco-friendly companies who like to boast green web hosting, then there are the religious types who tag their services as Christian or Catholic web hosting. I had to do a double-take after researching some info on Google and finding a company that offers web hosting for people with pets. Crazy I tell you.

I?m gonna keep things simple in this article and discuss two kinds of web hosting that are quite similar yet oh so distinct – shared hosting and managed hosting.

Shared web hosting

If you haven?t read any of my other articles or anyone else?s on the subject, shared hosting describes a traditional web hosting arrangement. This is the most common form of web hosting, mainly because it is fairly simple and cost-effective. Even someone who isn?t all that technically inclined can excel in this environment thanks to innovation that has made web hosting far more user-friendly than past times. The web host takes care of all the administrative tasks and server maintenance. All you have to do is build your website and maintain it through a control panel application. No complicated server configurations or installations. Whatever applications you need to install can usually be incorporated with a program like Fantastico which simply calls for you click the mouse a few times and wala.

Managed Web Hosting

The level of service you generally get from a managed web hosting provider is quite similar to that of shared hosting. For instance, the average scenario spares you from all the complex server administrative tasks as the web host takes care of that. You are provided with a control panel which allows you to create your website and easily manage things from the client side. With the provider maintaining the server, you are essentially free to get out there and market your site with minimal worry, just as you could with shared web hosting.

All in the Server

The similarity of shared and managed hosting all boils down to server administration. The differences relate to the server as well. In a shared web hosting arrangement, you are sharing the server and all its vital resources with other webmasters. In its most common application, managed hosting refers to a dedicated server, a solution that provides you with a server dedicated solely to your usage. Because a server calls for a greater level of responsibility, the managed hosting provider steps in alleviates you from all the madness.

Although shared web hosting is far less expensive, it also leaves you more restricted while managed hosting provides a similar level of simplicity along with more flexibility and control at a higher price.

Hopefully I didn?t make it even more confusing. If you feel that your dedicated server needs managed hosting, check out LunarPages, a leading provider in managed web hosting solutions.

Just trying to get started with a website? Visit WebHostingPad for one of the best values on the market today.

Best Way To Find Cheap Web Hosting

Today’s economy is causing people to become worried. People today want to try to save money in every way that they can. A great way to try to save money is by choosing a cheap web hosting option. You can find a good web hosting provider that is also inexpensive. Many people have learned how to lower their monthly online business expenses by choosing a web hosting provider that fits both their needs and their budget.

With so many web hosting choices it can be hard to find one that you want to use. You need to compare the services and offerings that each company has to provide. There are often many similar providers and it can be hard to differentiate between them. New web hosting solutions are popping up almost daily. Price can be a determining factor when it comes to finding a web hosting service.

The first thing to do when you want to compare web hosting providers is to determine what your needs are. Look at the number of web pages you have and what specific features that you’ll need to run your online business. Additional extras to consider may be things such as special reporting features and website stats that will be helpful when you are expanding your business. Typically the more features that you need the more expensive your online web hosting services will be.

There are also online promotional deals that you can look for. It can be time consuming, however, since you’ll need to locate and visit various web hosting provider sites. Whatever the web hosting provider offers you need to look at the basic packages and deals that they have. Ideally you’ll get the best pricing when you purchase the exact features that you need. Sometimes you will see that features are bundled together and that can be confusing when you want to compare services.

You’ll want to find a web host that gives you exactly what you need for a price that you can afford. Keep in mind that you can often get the best prices on web host sites when you pay for a full year rather than paying a month at a time. Also, learn what the costs are if you want to upgrade your services or features along the way. This is important because you can start off with a bare bones service that will grow with you as your business grows.

It can be time-consuming and confusing to try to find web host providers and sort through them. Rather than taking the time and effort to do all that work you can find an online resource that has already done that work for you. Look for a web host review site that offers information and reviews on the best and least expensive web host options. You can easily compare the features and pricing to quickly learn more about the various providers. Best of all the hard work is already done. All the web hosts have already been reviewed and only the best ones are ranked at the top.