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3508 Guilford Spring Rd.
Chambersburg, PA
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Choosing The Perfect Host

To be brutally honest, it is probably impossible. We think we are one of the best because we care about our customers and treat them the way we would like to be treated. Unfortunately, we still make mistakes. Hackers are constantly trying to break into servers just to see if they can. Hard disks take a real beating on these machines and are prone to failure because of it. When problems do arise we do our best to communicate quickly and solve them as soon as possible.

Finding a web site hosting company is easy.
There are thousands of them, over 16,000 by one report with more being added all the time. They range in size from huge multimillion dollar operations to a guy in his basement with a computer and a cable connection. The services offered also cover a wide range. Finding a dependable hosting company, however, is not as easy as it looks. Many hosting companies are the electronic equivalents of an unscrupulous used car salesmen. There are several web sites dedicated to rating hosting companies. Unfortunately they are also supported by advertising from those same hosting companies. The largest advertiser usually has the highest rating and has nothing to do with customer satisfaction. You can learn the truth about many companies through sites like Sitepoint or WebHostingTalk where users post comments based on actual experiences. You will find those experiences contrast sharply with the ratings of most companies.

Unlimited Disk Space and Unlimited Bandwidth - $5.95 per month.
There's an old adage - If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. There is nothing that is unlimited. We all buy hard disks that have a fixed amount of space and we all purchase a certain amount of bandwidth for a set price every month. Every company has to make a certain amount of profit to stay in business. Offering huge amounts for monthly prices less than what our bandwidth costs is a sure bet for disaster. These companies either never intend to deliver on this kind of promise or learn too late that they are loosing money and close the doors. The market for web hosting is huge and every month several hundred new hosting companies start up. Unfortunately, many do not survive past the first several months. Don't waste your money on a deal that seems too good to be true.

What DO I look for?

24/7 Support - Many companies advertise it, few deliver. The beauty of the internet is that your site is available around the clock, 365 days a year. If there's a problem it needs to be recognized immediately and if possible fixed just as fast. When servers are down things get hectic but support emails should still be handled in a timely fashion. If you want to see if anybody's home send an email and see how long it takes to get a reply. We get a lot of customers this way.....

Fast Connection - There are still a certain percentage of companies that are hooked up to a T1 line or less in an unsecured building. This is unacceptable in today's market. Many of us now house our servers in centralized Network Operations Centers that are fireproof, have separate backup power, and are connected with multiple T3 or OC3 and above connections. We don't charge that much more for excellence - why settle for less?

Check the Terms of Service - Some companies call this their Acceptable Use Policy. Beware of the companies that hide their Terms Of Service (TOS). Terms of service are the web hosting equivalent of reading the fine print on a contract, with an important distinction. With the fine print, at least you are aware of its existence. Not so with TOS. Many companies fail to disclose them until you violate them, which is too late to do you any good. That is when you often find out that the unlimited bandwidth and traffic they advertise has very definite limits. However, once your account has exceeded those limits and been disabled is not the proper time to learn the terms of service.

Be sure that your service does not allow adult hosting, spamming, or other illegal activities. Many servers subscribe to the MAPS RBL and other services which block these sites. If your hosting company is in a set of blocked IP numbers you could be cut off from large portions of the internet.

Features - This goes without saying, but make sure the host has the features you are looking for and will eventually grow into. Can you upgrade your plan easily? If you have a site designed in coldfusion or .asp files you will need that support. If you're using a dynamic PHP site with database access you'll need a Linux based host.

Statistical Reporting - You'll want a way to track your site usage and where your clients are coming from. These reports are invaluable if you are spending advertising dollars to promote your site.

There are other, minor factors you may want to consider when choosing a host but find one who answers your questions to your satisfaction and that you feel comfortable dealing with.

May 28,2024
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