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Choosing The Best Web Hosting

by Gen Wright

Choosing the best web hosting is not as easy as it sounds in today's market. That is because there are simply too many choices available. In addition, the hosting packages are very competitive, which makes choosing more difficult. So how does one choose the best web hosting?

The first thing to do, is to make a list of features and benefits that are important to you. Reliability should always be at the top of your list. That means your servers should experience minimal downtime. If your server keeps going down, and others can't access your website, then the rest of the features don't matter.

Here is a sample list that you may find useful.

1) PHP hosting. 2) MySQL database. 3) Fantastico (allows simple installation of free scripts.) 4) Cpanel control panel. 5) Unlimited bandwidth. 6) Unlimited disk space. 7) Unlimited email accounts. 8) Unlimited parked domains. 9) Unlimited domain hosting. 10) File manager for easy duplication of files. 11) Ability to check emails online. 12) AWS stats (a popular statistic program)

The list of features can go on and on. Many hosting companies are offering unlimited resources. However, bear in mind that there is no such thing as totally "unlimited" resources. The hosting company has expenses to pay. The assumption here is that you will be using your hosting account to host websites. If you plan on running enterprise level software or huge sites on your shared hosting account, your account may get flagged for abuse. That means immediate suspension of your account. You certainly don't want that to happen.

The better hosting companies won't just suspend your account. They will send you email alerts to let you know what has gone wrong. You may then contact them to rectify the situation. For example, some scripts may be creating additional files without your knowledge, thus hording server resources unfairly. In this case, at least you are given the chance to rectify the situation. That's professionalism. Very few hosting companies can achieve this type of service excellence.

Next, it is always very tempting to go with the company with the lowest price. Don't do that! Sometimes, the pricing is so low that you wonder if it makes financial sense for the hosting company to continue to offer such hosting services. It's just not going to be profitable for the Company! And if it's not profitable for the company, then it's going to be risky for you to host your sites with them. You never know if they are just going to go offline the next moment.

Before committing, always make an effort to visit review sites and read what others are saying about the hosting companies. If all you read are good reviews, there is a good chance that you may encounter a positive experience. However, if you find negative reviews in forums, review sites, etc., you should avoid these companies like plague! Don't think that the same experience won't happen to you. Customers are unhappy for some reason. You don't really know what that is sometimes. If it's just one customer that's unhappy, that's still forgivable. But if you read a host of bad reviews from the review sites, then something must have gone wrong somewhere.

Choose a company with excellent customer support, even if it means paying a little more. At least you get peace of mind, knowing that your servers are still running soundly and monitored by a professional IT expert as you sleep.

Sunday, Dec 13th, 2009