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How to Find the Right Host for Your Web Site

By Andrew LaPointe

Developing a professional web presence requires a comprehensive strategy to ensure success. The most important element to the overall success of your website is your hosting service. Your hosting service cannot guarantee your site will succeed, but it can surely devastate it. No matter what applications  you use (streaming video, audio, discussion forums, etc.) or plug-ins (Flash and Shockwave), if your visitors cannot load your site within a few seconds your finished. Recent studies have shown that you only have 20 seconds to grab your visitor’s attention. The longer it takes your site to go from download-to-live, the less time you have to retain your visitors. Remember, your competition is only one click away.

The best way to choose a web hosying company  is to follow these six suggestions. Remember, selecting the right web hosting company is vital to your success on the Internet.

Determine how much disk storage space and how much monthly data transfer your site requires? Disk storage space refers to the amount of server space allocated to your account. The files that make up your website are stored in your storage space. These files include your html files, audio/video, graphics, etc. The data transfer is how much data your site transmits each month. Generally, data transfer includes any outbound traffic from your site, with the exception of e-mails. In general an average HIT is about 10K. This would mean that a monthly data transfer account of 2.0 Gigabyte would allow approximately 200,000 hits. Remember, if your data transfer rate is higher than the amount allocated by your hosting company you will have to pay for any extra data transfer.

How should you Host? There are three different ways to host your site. The three ways are shared hosting , dedicated hosting and colocated hosting. Shared hosting means that your site is positioned among other “websites” on a single machine. This type of hosting is usually adequate for the majority of “text-n-gif” sites. Dedicated hosting refers to your own dedicated machine. As you add more interactive elements to your site, you may want to consider a dedicated host. The final is a colocated server. You own the server, but it is located in your host’s facility. You chose the bandwidth and your host provides the access.

How Much Technical Support do you Need? Do you need 24/7 live technical support or do you only work on your website during business hours? If you only work on your site during business hours, you probably don’t need 24/7 technical support, so why pay for it. However, you need to determine how much on-demand support you need for your site.

What Features are Included? Does your hosting package support e-commerce, multi-media, database, etc? These type of features should be included in even the basic of packages. If these are not, look elsewhere.

Make sure the ownership of your domain remains in your name. Some hosting companies place their name in the Administration and Technical Support of the domain registration. Query the Whois.net database (whois.net) to ensure your name is recorded in these positions. If the hosting company is listed, contact them and have it changed. If they refuse, transfer your business to another hosting company.

What is the Attitude of the Employees? Is the telephone answered in a friendly and courteous manner? Is the technical support department helpful? These are the people you will be dealing with for many years to come. Make sure it is a pleasurable experience.

Make sure to answer the proceeding six questions before you select a company to host your website. Remember, the web is global, just because you live in a certain city, doesn’t matter you should host your site with a local company. If a local hosting company doesn’t provide quality customer service, high-quality hosting and competitive pricing, it is very simple to locate a company that does provide exactly what you need.

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