What You Need To Know About Web Hosting
Ian Traynor, Professional Webmaster © 2006
the right web hosting is a crucial internet marketing decision.
Getting it wrong is not an option!
chosen your web hosting company and the hosting package, you could
be stuck with it for a long time.
web hosts, with all the associated problems of transferring domain
names, moving files,
ensuring compatibility with the previous host, all combine to make
it about as difficult as changing your bank.
Here's some of the points to look out for when choosing a new web hosting
support: How good and how fast is it? Email
support is fine if you are guaranteed a fast response time. But better
still is a local telephone help line. You might need help quickly.
supported: As a minimum these days, you'd
be looking for web servers which support "PHP" (a web scripting language)
and "MySQL" (a web database system). It would also be useful at times
to be able to set up and run "Cron Jobs" (which run programs, such as
an autoresponder mailout system, at regular times).
My advice is to avoid
"Windows" web servers, and go for the more popular "Unix" / "Linux" servers.
They are much more secure. Most of the hacking attempts I've detected
on my web servers have been trying to exploit weaknesses in Microsoft
- Ease of use: If you know how to use an "FTP" program
(software which lets you upload files from your computer to your web
server), you might not need any more help. But, increasingly, hosting
companies are providing their customers with web-based control panels,
letting you do a whole range of tasks through your browser. "cPanel"
is the most popular and powerful control panel.
- Domain names: How many domain names are you allowed
to set up with your web space? Do you get a free domain name with your
account? You may want to run a number of different websites on the same
server space - even if some of them are simple two- or three-page sales
space offered: Surprisingly,
this is not as important as it used to be. Many hosting companies
are offering web space in excess of 500 Mb - and you can get a lot
of web pages into even 25 Mb! But, in my opinion, you can never have
too much web space!
statistics provided: Knowing
what is happening on your website(s) is vitally important to an internet
marketer. You need to know (on a multi-page site) on which pages
people are entering your site (it's not always your home page), where
they came from (other websites and search engines) and a lot more.
Some hosting companies give you good summary reports. Others just
give you the raw log files which you have to analyse using special
- Cost: I've
left this to the end because it shouldn't be your most important consideration.
Free web space is best left for little personal websites, but for internet
marketers, "commercial-grade" web space, meeting the points I've mentioned
above, is a must. Having said that, you should be able to get excellent
web hosting packages for about $10 to $20 per month. Don't make cost
your main consideration!
you use these criteria to screen prospective hosting packages,
you should be
able to pick a good one. But before you commit yourself, just do a
search for your short listed hosting companies on Google
see if there are any negative comments about the hosting companies
you are considering.
Traynor has been a professional webmaster since 1996 and
has a multitude of websites on web servers in five countries.
Apart from running the long-established Marketing
he offers commercial-grade web hosting through Hosting4Marketing,
and a range of software for novice webmasters (and webmistresses!)
through his Webmasters
Cheat Kit brand.