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Checklist to Choosing a Web Host

Are you considering choosing a new web host for your existing website or are you venturing into your first web project ever? In either case, there are some important points to keep in mind. The best way to organize them is by way of checklist. This way, you can check off each point as you confirm it. It may sound like a simplistic and unnecessary approach, but such over-preparation can prevent disputes with your future web hosting provider and save you a lot of time and money in the process.

[ ] Bandwidth

Have you verified that the host provider can guarantee a certain amount of bandwidth per month? More importantly, is your total bandwidth adequate for your targeted audience? If you purchase a plan with too many gigabytes of bandwidth you may be paying too much money for accommodations you will never use. On the other hand, if you plan to have a large amount of video or audio content then you will need much more bandwidth per month, perhaps well over 35 gigabytes. For the best results, try and compare your gigabyte maximum to your estimated visitors. A few hundred can be accommodated by 10 but thousands of visitors might best be served by 40 and over.

[ ] Server Space

Server space is how much space the provider rents to you so that you can upload files, images and individual web pages. One of the most important features here, even beyond numbers, is the flexibility the company offers you. The best web host providers will upgrade your space whenever you have need of upgrading. This amount is much less than bandwidth and is usually never over 50 megabytes for even a competitive online business.

[ ] Customer Support

Never underestimate the importance of excellent customer support including technical assistance. If you are new to web marketing and a technical problem arises is the company going to guide you through it free of charge? Some companies charge extra for technical support, while others may offer no assistance whatsoever. Make sure you can get emergency assistance for your website on any day and in any hour. 24-hour assistance is vital for a web hosting company.

[ ] Specific Programming

Will you be using payment processing for ecommerce? If so then you will need a protocol called Secure Socket Layer (SSL). If you want your website to react dynamically with the web hosting server (for various applications that require online forms) then CGI scripting will be a necessity. Other common programs and applications that may be necessary for a standard professional site include FrontPage Extensions, extra email addresses, PHP, ASP and MySQL. Make sure that the web hosting company allows these extensions and applications before agreeing to do business. Otherwise, the most important feature of your site may not be available, and thus the entire website will be useless.

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