Your designers have given you a promising website. Now your next job is to get it hosted. First timers usually fall into the trap of bad web hosting companies. You come across scores of them in every nook and corner who sound capable and promise to do their job well but the resultant is a website that does not have much of bandwidth resulting in a slow and unprofessional website, and to make it worse the customer service is poor as well. So, finding a dependable web host is really tricky. You can find them through search engines and forums but before you zero down on one, you need to check a few things about the web hosting company. Get to know about the company that are you are hiring.
Credibility of the Company
Make sure that hard-core network engineers run the company and they are on the block for at least 2 years. Avoid the companies that are run by amateurs even if they give you a cheap bargain because your ultimate aim is to put your best step forward and that is your website. You need to check their credentials thoroughly, Read the 'About us' page 'Terms of service'. Also read the web host forum and reviews. Please check for the credibility of the posters as well. Check the technology used by the company and go in for the one, which has at least 95% of the uptime for most of its servers. You need to know if the company publishes its address because after all you need to be sure if the company is legitimate since you are putting your company's future in the hands of another.
There is nothing called unlimited bandwidth. If you buy the unlimited service, your host might shut you down claiming that your website has been using unfair amount of system resources. And beware bandwidth usage and system resources are two different aspects when dealing your host. Always go in for the bandwidth one or two sizes bigger because finally your aim is to grow. Initially you might need less as the traffic is poor but eventually when the traffic builds up and your site is popular you would have to grab for the entire available amount.
The web host gives you a certain amount of space on its servers. The need and the usage really depend on you. If you buy 5 MB of space it is plenty for the web pages and images of most of the business websites. But you need to confirm if this includes the mail, log files etc as well. A web host that includes everything usually gives at least 15 MB space minimum. And make sure that you don't get sold into buying space than you really need.
Dedicated vs. shared servers
The web space you rent might be shared by a number of other clients of the company you choose. This is a very common trend. This should be your proffered choice if the number of hits is less and the website you own does not have a huge traffic but if you are moderately popular and the graphics and images take time to download, then dedicated servers are the best bet. If you go in for shared hosting then check if the same server does not host any adult or red flag site because some search engines weed all the websites hosted on this kind of server and you don't want to be weeded out.
A simple and quick tool to determine the online and offline support that you may require once your site is hosted is to mail your pre sales questions to the company. The response time will tell you a lot about the dependency of the company. So before signing the contract be sure that you will get response even at 3.00 am in the morning if needed.
Lastly always think ahead of time so your intention might be to grow bigger as compared to what you predicted. So to save time and money always have enough bandwidth and space so that you can grow into it without a second thought.
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