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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