Tips for Choosing a Website Hosting Company

Anyone who has built a website or plans on building one in the future should go to great lengths to carefully select the best website hosting company. A website hosting company creates the space where the files of a website are stored, where the traffic goes to view the website and several different other services like e-mail, website building tools, domain name registration, technical assistance and FTP access.

Cost

Some webmasters choose to sign up with a free web host. This is typically the choice of first time website creators who don't have elaborate plans for their websites. Yet free and very cheap website hosting companies will put advertisements on the website. They also offer little to nothing in the way of technical assistance. It is advisable to steer clear from the website hosting companies that have rock bottom prices and free services for these reasons alone. Yet if the individual's goal is to merely have a website that provides a bit of superficial fun, then a free website hosting service might be just what he needs. Anyone who desires significant web traffic to his website that generates revenue, should be willing to pay for the services of a website hosting company.

Company Reputation

One aspect of a website hosting company that people must research is its reputation amongst the community of fellow website creators. Find out if the provider's services are reliable, if their customer service department is responsive and if a significant number of technical issues frequently arise with their services. A individual in search of a website hosting company will have to spend a good amount of time poring over peer reviews of service providers. There is no other surefire way of determining if the provider is reliable.

Readily Available Technical Support

Perhaps the most important aspect of a website hosting company is its ability to provide technical support. Everyone who builds a website will need technical support from the web host at least once. This means that the hosting company will need to be amply staffed with technicians who are knowledgeable and experienced. They should also provide a short turnaround time in terms of troubleshooting problems with the website. Ideally, they will have tech service representatives available 24 hours, 7 days a week and they should respond to inquiries within an hour or less. They must also have a ticketing system beyond tech support representatives on the phones. Phone lines can be overloaded with calls, so an elaborate ticketing system should always be an option.

Tools and Features

Web hosting plans should be well stocked with extensive tools and features like DreamWeaver, GoLive, Flash, POP3, e-mail functionality, Autoresponders, IMAP, SMTP, PHP, MySQL, Cron jobs Blogs, CMS, galleries, e-mail forwarders, SSL e-commerce options and more. Features are what turn a static website into something that is dynamic. They will also save the site builder from having to employ an army of expensive web developers and graphic/user experience designers. It is especially important for the hosting company to provide a control panel that allows the webmaster to maintain his site with ease. The control panel empowers him to easily make changes to the site, manage its databases, add or delete e-mail accounts, upload files and more. Website creators will also want to find out if the hosting services has cPanel, ispCP or an ISPConfig system that lets him set up a forum or blog with little time and effort. He should also find out if FTP is provided to transfer data.

Speed

The website creator should also test the speed of several different hosts' networks to his location. He can perform this test by clicking Start-->run--->typing in “command”--->hitting enter--->typing “ping hostdomainname.com”. Once he waits for the test to finish, he'll be able to see the average ping. A lower number is better than a higher number. Lower numbers mean that the site will load faster. A speed test result of 80 or better is good. Results over 100 are not desirable.

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