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Choosing a Web Host- Frequently Asked Questions
In this article my aim is to provide you with the information required to choose a web host. There are several things that you need to take into account when choosing a web hosting provider, below you will be provided with answers to frequently asked questions which will help you choose your next web hosting provider.
Q. How reliable is my chosen web hosting provider?
A. It is common for web hosting providers in this day and age to offer some form of uptime guarantee, if you are running a business website and the uptime of this site is a priority, choose a web host that offers an uptime guarantee. The reason for this is the host will do everything in their power to avoid an outage on your site as it will cost them money, usually in the form of extra months credited to your hosting account depending on the length of the outage. For a business related site, you should choose a host that offers an uptime guarantee of 99% or better.
Q. What kind of performance can I expect from my chosen web hosting provider?
A. A good hosting company will have multiple high speed connections to the internet, and will also be providing their own network infrastructure rather than on-selling another company's service. Also the servers should be fast, in the shared hosting space generally good providers will be using Pentium 4 machines with dual processors or better.
Q. Does your chosen host offer good phone support?
A. When choosing your host, look for one that offer 24/7 phone support that's always available with a live operator. To test this aspect, try calling your chosen hosts support line at differing times of the day and night and on weekends to get an understanding of their support lines reliability.
Q. How much should my chosen hosting cost me?
A. Entry level hosting in this day and age is very good value when you take into account what features are on offer. For to per month you can expect a host to offer a good amount of storage space and a good amount of bandwidth.
Q. How much bandwidth will I need for data transfer from my host?
A. Using this as a rough guide you can choose a plan based on the following figures. A typical personal website should get by with less than 2GB of bandwidth per month. A small to medium business website serving text and small images should allow around 5GB of transfer. A larger website serving files, videos, or audio files should allow 10GB or more per month depending on the amount of visitors the website receives.
Q. How does my chosen host handle security?
A. Usernames and passwords should be required to control the host and manage your website. Your host should also backup your files on a daily basis at a minimum and offer mechanisms to retrieve these backups in the event of a server failure.
Q. What about my hosts control panel?
A. Almost all hosting packages come with some form of a control panel. This control panel allows you to configure all aspects of your hosting though your web browser without learning how to use the server's operating system for configuration. Popular control panels include cPanel, Plesk, Ensim and Hsphere, with cPanel the most commonly used control panel. If you are a beginner to hosting, choose a provider that offers cPanel as this control panel is very easy to use.
Q. What about my hosts email support?
A. Almost all hosts offer POP3 mail accounts, be sure to choose a hosting plan that offers you enough accounts that you need to create for your users. Almost all hosting providers also offer spam and anti-virus options for email accounts which can be a great security feature if you are concerned about this.
Q. I want to run my own online store, what do I need?
A. If you have plans of running an online store, look for a hosting provider that offers E-commerce features. To run an E-commerce site firstly your site will need a security certificate, this is required to process credit card transactions, ideally you should use a 3rd party service to provide the certificate and handle the processing of credit card transactions eliminating the need for your server to have extra security features. Using a 3rd party for credit card transactions will generally cost a small percentage of each transactions value.
Q. I need help to make the final choice of hosting provider?
A. If your plans include having a website that you will be relying on for income or storing important data, you will need to make sure you choose a host with the best technical support possible. A lot of hosts these days offer forums for technical support as well, while these forums are a great help when solving small problems related to your hosting, they shouldn't be used for mission critical issues.
Take your time and check what each host has to offer, there are many web hosting providers with many different plans on offer, you will find which service fits your needs after careful examination of each web hosting provider, take the time to compare each plan, its cost, the level of technical support offered and feature set and you should not have any problems choosing a web hosting provider.
About the Author: David J. Smith owner and operator of webhost-advisor.com has recently written a Bluehost review and they have been found to be a reliable web hosting provider which you should put on your short list when choosing your web host.