3508 Guilford Spring Rd.
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
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.
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