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How To Find A Suitable Web Host

by dotservant

Every website developer needs a reliable web hosting partner to keep their website online at all times and serving web pages to visitors without delay, this is considered a basic service requirement for every website owners when looking for a hosting service. In the old days, there may be a higher frequency of service failures in the hosting industry, but with improving new technologies and data centers practicing a much more fail proof preventive measures, it is no longer a difficult task for most web hosting providers to achieve a consistent and stable network service quality.

Therefore, a good website hosting provider should not restrict itself to just require to offer a stable hosting environment, but should also be able to provide more added values to the service offered, these added values can be in the form of a more personalized service or a more specialized service. For example, a small pool of clients to be assigned to one experience and skilled dedicated support staff to handle the requests. Another approach is to offer a much more specialized service that is focus on supporting certain type of application, which extend the support to application services like debugging, customizing, performance tuning etc..

However, with the size of client base of large web hosts and huge competition in the industry, most of these larger web hosting companies may not be able to extend their service to include specialized services mentioned above, as the huge competition and thin profit margin do not allow much space for them to deploy such higher level of service to clients, though certain criteria like fast response, multiple communication channel with help desk staff are still able to up keep, it is still able to serve most basic requests with a Standard Operating Procedures distributed to the generally not so technically sound help desk staff, and higher level of support quality is a challenge to these web hosts.

Having a hosting partner that offer a higher level of service can be of great help for newcomers, especially the type of more 'personalized' service which dedicated helper can be of great guided help for new webmasters towards the proper direction, as well as shorten up the time spend on research for information, and free up valuable time for web developers to focus on to create a website that generate results. These added services can be a significant contributing factor towards the success or failure of an online venture.

There is huge competition in web hosting industry as thousands of companies are basically offering the same type of product / service, in order for those that are in the margin slashing competition to keep themselves in the game, all kinds of marketing tricks and traps are being introduced to attract new customers. In such a case, how does one that is new to all these be able to avoid falling in to these traps and identify a suitable web hosting partner from the mess ?

This simple three step guide below provide the necessary steps to avoid common mistakes while looking for a web hosting provider, eliminating the process of hopping around different web hosts wasting valuable time like many others.

A Clear Self Understanding

A piece of good advice, valuable time should be allocated to website development work and traffic building, researching for the right web host should be done correctly and efficiently during the initial stage, not in the middle of website development work. A clear self understanding is needed at the beginning before going out hunting for web hosting services, take some time out to prepare a clear list of what is really needed for running the website in the short term and long term, and every expected service or treatment from the soon to be hosting partner. This self understanding is the guidelines in the process of identifying a suitable web host.

First, write down all the technical requirements for running the website application, do include resources needed for short term and long term inline with the website planning, many people are forced to change web host while website is picking up traffic because did not have a proper planning initially, changing web host causes down time at minimum and there can be unexpected things if it is not handle properly, worst if accidentally engaged with an unprofessional web host bringing up even more problems, all these can affect the website growth significantly. Therefore, planning for future is important in the initially preparation stage.

Second, continue to list out other questions you may have about getting your website up and running, include as well the type of services / treatment you expect from your web host, list as detail as possible so that you know deep inside you what type of web host you are actually looking for. For example, you expect a dedicated technical staff to attend to your support requests all the time, problems are fixed in the first reply or alternate solutions provided if there is not direct fix to the issue, hate to get 'canned' replies or request being push traveling around different help desk staff etc.. All these questions and listings will served as your guidelines for evaluating a web host later.

Get Experience Friends To Recommend A Service

After a self brainstorming session, get your friends that is experience in web development or working in web hosting industry to recommend some good service providers that fit your requirements. Further trim the list by checking at various popular webmaster forums and filter out those that receive more bad comments, a list of about five web hosts should be enough for a more detail checking later.

One important point worth noted, if you notice web host in the recommendations there are not so frequently mentioned in various webmaster forums that you are checking or have not come across much advertisement of these web host, don't drop them from the list too quickly, they may not necessary be a bad choice, since there are lots of good website hosting providers that do not conduct aggressive marketing campaigns to keep their names in the spotlights, but growing steadily through word of mouth, just like how you have been referred to by your friend. These type of company are likely able to provide more value added services or a more personalized support than many other popular web hosts that follow the cut-throat marketing strategies, it is indeed worth a detail look at them out before throwing them out from your list.

Don't Jump In Before Checking It Personally

There is no one service that will fit everyone because every human being and there is individual needs that varies from one to another. Therefore, even though a web host gets a perfect score from the research done earlier, it is essential for you to personally check these service before jumping in. In step one, we have prepared a list of questions, this list can now be used to test these shortlisted web host, send the list of questions to each of them and carefully screen through their responses. You will notice the difference in each of them answering the questions, and identify the web host that you are feeling most comfortable to establish a long term partnership.

This simple three step guide helps webmasters avoid common mistakes, understand their real needs for the service, and stay focus while searching through web hosting offers with different marketing tactics, and finally identify a suitable long term hosting partner.

About the Author

Foong is a Technical Coordinator of Dotservant.com web hosting services, he has 17 years of working experience in IT field including a 7 years of exposure in shared hosting environment.

Dotservant.com has been offering friendly and professional website hosting services since 2000, focusing on PHP MySQL with Cpanel Hosting and a personalized support service.
Wednesday, Jul 2nd, 2008