keys: choosing best web hosting service, evaluation of performance and features, factors
How to Choose a Web Hosting Service
When you are looking for a service to host your web site,
the vast number of services available can leave you confused about which to choose.
Here are important factors to consider when comparing web hosting services.
- Quick human response.
Call or send a question by email to your candidate web hosting service and see how long they take to respond.
You want to know if they'll be there when you need them.
Some web hosting services offer 24-hour support and a few will respond quickly.
Speedy customer service is rare and indicates a superior service -
many of the low-cost hosting services skimp in this regard.
- Server performance.
You want a web hosting server that is reliable and fast.
Web hosting access speed can be tested in advance for free:
Net Mechanic will measure the
speed of access for all facets of web hosting access (network speed, DNS lookup, connect time, download time, and absence of timeouts).
The "download time" statistic is the most important single item to compare.
Collect your candidate web hosting services and run side-by-side tests.
Sample during peak and non-peak times for optimal comparison.
- Compare traffic allowances.
Some web hosting services give you a small limit on the amount that can be downloaded from your site each month
and charge you large amounts when that limit is exceeded.
Some offer huge traffic allowances (many thousand MB/month, where 1,000 MB = 1 GB)
for the same price as others that limit you to a few hundred MB/month.
Perhaps you need less than a hundred MB/month now,
but why put yourself in a position where you have to move when your traffic takes off?
Plan ahead, allow for growth.
It's hard to predict how much space you will eventually need for your web site.
Choose a host that will let you start with an inexpensive small site
(like 100 MB for $9/month)
and makes it easy to upgrade to a larger site if you end up needing more space someday.
Why pay for more space than you need?
Consider what features you want to simplify development of your web site.
- Do you want access to a cgi-bin so that you can install your own scripts?
- Do you want many scripts pre-installed and pre-configured?
- Do you want email aliases (automatic forwarding) so you don't need to check email in more than one place?
- Do you want browser-based email so you can check your email from any browser?
With so many webhosting services to choose from, why not choose one that offers a guarantee?
Services that offer a moneyback guarantee are confident that you'll be delighted with their service.
Look for hidden costs when comparing price.
- Do they expect you to pay for a long term in advance to get a good price?
Choose one that doesn't bait you with a low price that's only available if you make a long-term commitment.
- Will they register your new domain name for free?
Choosing an excellent service to host your web site doesn't have to require luck.
Knowing what to look for makes selection simple.