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Selecting A Quality Web Host

Selecting A Quality Web Host

Teacher: Julie Smyth

If you're serious about your Internet business and have a sincere desire to succeed, having your own domain name is a must. It's not a luxury, it's a necessity. Not only does it help to identify you as a professional and provide a memorable address for your customers, but it provides you with the freedom to market your business without the fear of someone taking it all away.

If you're hosting your web site with one of the free hosting services, you're risking your entire business. Free hosting services don't need to have a reason to shut your web site down. They may go out of business, decide that your business doesn't fit their hosting criteria, or decide not to offer free hosting any longer. It just doesn't make sense to waste your time promoting a free web address. If you lose or change your free host, you'll lose your search engine positioning, links, customers, everything.

Businesses hosted on a free server are not taken seriously and are generally considered to be unprofessional. If a company doesn't care enough about its business to get its own domain name, potential customers may not feel comfortable doing business with them. A company with its own domain name and a professional looking web site will have a much higher rate of success when compared with most business sites hosted on free servers.

Having your own domain name should be one of your first priorities when starting a business on the Internet. Even if you change web hosts, your domain name will go with you because it's yours and you won't lose any of your hard earned traffic.

The cost to register your domain name is now cheaper than its ever been, due to the rise in competition. Although the price varies from service to service, the average price is about $50-$80 for the first two years. Very reasonable and well worth every penny. Domain names are going fast, so if you have one in mind, you'd better register it now before someone else does. New domain name search wizards are available around the Internet to make finding a domain name a little easier.

Once you've registered your domain name, you'll need to find a quality web host. Selecting a quality web host can mean the difference between your business success or failure. If your web site is down a lot or connection is too slow, you're going to lose some valuable customers. When selecting a web host, your first priority should be customer service.

Quality customer service should include LIVE 24 hour, 7 day a week customer support. Not automated replies. You should have the ability to speak with a live person via telephone or email and receive the support you need within a reasonable amount of time. Your time is valuable and you shouldn't have to wait hours before receiving some assistance. Test their customer support, send them a few questions. In addition, check out the company, ask for references. Talk to some of their customers and ask them if they've been satisfied with their service and the quality of customer support. Visit their customer bulletin board, FAQ or chat room.

Another consideration of great importance is room for your company's growth. Select a web host that will allow your business to grow with no interruptions. As your business grows, you will require more server space and various other features such as, a secure server for secured credit card transactions, shopping cart, mailing list features, etc., Many web hosting companies charge a set-up fee or require you to pay for your hosting in advance. Think carefully about selecting a web host that requires set-up fees and try to select one that gives you the option to pay for your hosting in advance or on a monthly basis. Otherwise, if you aren't satisfied with their services, you'll probably have a difficult time getting your prepaid money refunded.

Web hosting prices vary greatly. Make sure you're getting exactly what you're paying for. Keep in mind, a lower monthly rate will not benefit you if your site is down a lot, slow, or customer service is poor. Before selecting a hosting company you first need to decide exactly what your web sites requirements are, both now and in the future. For example if you want to utilize a database driven web site using Active Server Pages, then you'll need a windows NT (2000) server, which is not as stable a platform as a Unix server. If your using Microsoft FrontPage then your hosting company will need FrontPage 2000 server extensions installed.

When selecting a hosting company look at the actual amount of daily traffic you are allowed, many companies utilize this as a means of increasing costs by the back door, and although some restrictions are needed to ensure the server runs smoothly these should not limit any but the most popular Web sites.

If your serious about your web site and its performance you need to ensure that you get the best value for your money. A good way of ensuring hosting costs are reduced is to not buy from a typical reseller. Many hosting companies utilize affiliate marketing and provide self replicating web sites to their affiliates. There is nothing wrong with this form of marketing, except that commissions are often added to the base price, which increases the overall price. As with all things there are exceptions to the rules and some affiliate hosting programs are actually quite good, but you need to be aware of how they operate.

When selecting a web host, you basically need to decide upon how your web site will develop in the future and then find a hosting company that will provide you with the services your development will require. Check references and look for support, not just with hosting requirements, but with any web design questions you may have. It basically comes down to paying your money and taking your chances, but remember, even the best hosting companies have a bad day now and then.

Here's a few Web Hosting companies to get you started.

For a complete list of web hosts, visit Web Source Professional Web Hosts.

About the teacher:
Julie is a native of Perth, Australia who began her computer career back in 1980 as a system support specialist and has seen many changes come and go since her early days in the industry. Julie finally ended up as a core instructor in the CTOS/UNIX environment before leaving it all behind to take on the more demanding job of parenthood, with her daughter, Madeleine. After a few years off work Julie decided she needed to brush up her skills so she studied for and obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Interactive Multimedia Technologies. When not keeping busy with her Cyber Aspect activities and assisting at Website Designs, she can usually be found taking care of Madeleine, reading a book, listening to music, or updating her Web site.


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