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How to Choose a Good Web Host Provider

What to look for when choosing a web host?

Type of Website

What type of website do you have?
This is the most basic question and will determine which general direction you should go when choosing a webhost. Is it a personal site or a business site? Do you just want to put a couple fun pages online for friends and family, or are you hoping to make a business out of it?

Paid hosting will usually cost between $5 and $75 per month. Dedicated servers will usually cost you over $150 per month. A small personal site can be hosted with $5 monthly web host, but a business website (especially if you expect many visitors) will need a dedicated server.

Starting your website will require a good hosting plan. Our best web hosting chart ranks several popular hosting companies.
Web hosting companies like iPage may be affordable, but are they really a good choice for starting your new website?
You may wish to check customer hosting reviews of iPage and other hosts before committing to purchasing hosting.
Other hosts such as InMotion seem to be more focused towards small business customers, while iPage and FatCow tend to serve bloggers best.

Reliability, Speed and Uptime Guarantee

Nothing can hurt you more than this: your visitors come to your web site only to find that itís not accessible. You lose credibility and possibly even sales. If your web host does not guarantee at least a 99% uptime, leave the web host!

To ensure maximum uptime, installation of redundant back-up systems is essential. Each web host has their own management systems to minimize downtime. "Redundant" means that if any of the Internet connections get interrupted, the alternate Internet connection will take over.

Rock Solid Infrastructure

Confirm that they offer a multihomed network powered by multiple bandwidth providers to ensure redundancy. Also, investigate your host's Service Level Agreement to make sure it has "teeth" so your host will do what they promise.

Customer Support

One of the most frequent, and justified, complaints that many people have with their web host is lack of customer and technical support.
No matter if you are an expert or a novice in web hosting, you need a web host with good customer support system.

Many web hosts offer both email and phone support while others are available only via email. In most cases, email support is adequate, but you should be cautious if a potential web host has no phone number available in case of an emergency.

Response times to support questions vary widely. Some webhosts may take only a few minutes to get back to you while others take days or longer. It is important to find out what type of support any potential web host offers.
Ask around. References are always a good way to judge a host's performance.

Data Transfer (Traffic/Bandwidth)

Data transfer - also refered to as "traffic" or "bandwidth" is the amount of bytes transferred from your site to visitors when they browse your site.

Don't believe any commercial web host that advertises "unlimited bandwidth". The host has to pay for the bandwidth, and if you consume a lot of it, they will not silently bear your costs. Many high bandwidth websites have found this out the hard way when they suddenly receive an exhorbitant bill for having "exceeded" the "unlimited bandwidth".

Always look for details on how much traffic the package allows.

As your site becomes more popular, you will need to also check their policy for overages: is there a published charge per GB over the allowed bandwidth?
Is the charge made according to actual usage or are you expected to pre-pay for a potential overage?
It is better not to choose hosts that expect you to prepay for overages, because it is very hard to predict when your site will exceed its bandwidth and by how much.

Buy What You Need, Upgrade Later

Despite the temptation to have many special features, it is far wiser to select a web host that reflects your immediate business needs. There is no point in signing up for an all-inclusive account with a hosting company if you won't be using most of their services.

However, make sure that your web hosting is scalable and you will be able to easily upgrade as your site grows in complexity.

Control Panel

Control panels allow you to manage different aspects of your web account yourself. Typically, and at the very minimum, it should allow you to do things like add, delete, and manage your email addresses, and change passwords for your account.
Such chores are common maintenance chores that every webmaster performs time and time again, and it would be a great hassle if you had to wait for their technical support to make the changes for you.

Web Host Price

While price is always a main factor, you should realise that you often get what you pay for, although it's not necessarily true that the most expensive hosts are the best.

In the end, choosing the right web host really depends on your individual needs.
What may constitute the perfect web host for one person may not meet the needs of another. It is up to you to decide, through a combination of logic, research skills, and a bit of luck ...

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