How To Really Find Reliable Web Hosting

Scientists have recently discovered that cats can sing the national anthem of the country they were born in if you ask them nicely.

Let’s guess; you don’t believe that, do you? Of course not, it’s ludicrous, yet many a web hosting company sells their services on the very premise that if they write it, customers will believe it’s true. And why do they do that? Because, in most cases, they’re right.

The point here is that, when searching for reliable web hosting, don’t believe everything you read – especially if it’s the web host that are saying it. While every company on the world exagerrates in their advertising campaigns, web hosting companies are infamous for it due to the fierce competition in the market place. They’ll say things and claim things that just aren’t true, while storing the facts away in the small print terms and conditions so they’re covered legally should anyone challenge their claims.

One of the biggest claims made by web hosting companies is to super-technological feats of reliability. Everyone wants reliable web hosting – that’s a given – so by claiming something like 99% up time, a web host knows they’re going to get potential customer’s attention. What they don’t tell you is how often that 99% is; is it 99% uptime per day, per week, per year? If it’s per year, that’s still a lot of down time you’re going to have to deal with.

Finding reliable web hosting is all about asking around on internet forums and websites for true customer feedback on the offers available. Never, ever believe everything a web hosting company says.

The Truth About ‘Unlimited’ Web Hosting

If you are in the market for a new web hosting provider, you’ve probably seen a lot of advertising literature. Adverts claiming that X company is the best, for X reasons, and for X amazing price. Everyone is out to impress and to snare your business, and they’ll say anything to catch your eye. That’s why the word “unlimited” is so over-used when it comes to web hosting companies advertising literature.

The promise is usually something along the lines of “unlimited space” or perhaps “unlimited bandwidth”. And you immediately think: wow! That’s a good deal! I’m going to get server space, a web host and everything I need – and I don’t need to worry about my site becoming too big, because my space and bandwidth is unlimited! So that’s the company you sign up for.

Well, it pains us to burst your bubble, but there’s no such thing as unlimited web space.

When these companies advertise ‘unlimited’ space, they are relying on their consumers to only use a small amount of space. Even with limited web hosting plans, few consumers ever use more than 75% of the space provided – so a web host company knows that they can offer ‘unlimited’ service because it’s unlikely they will ever be required to supply unlimited web space.

In reality, they have just the same server storage capabilities as anyone, and they are limited – it just so happens their limits are wide, and they can afford to entice people with an ‘unlimited’ offer. The moral here is do not be fooled by the offer of ‘unlimited’ space; only ever buy the amount of web space you need, because you’ll probably find you don’t even need that much.

Can You “Afford” Cheap Web Hosting?

Getting a bargain, saving money, spending less than we expected – it all sounds great, doesn’t it? There’s very few people on this earth who wouldn’t jump at the chance to grab a bargain, so it’s therefore no surprise that those looking for web hosting are any different. In fact, there are hundreds of thousands of queries for “cheap web hosting” every month with search engines.

So, yes, getting a bargain is good – but one question you have to ask yourself if you’re searching for cheap web hosting is this: Can I really afford cheap web hosting?

That may so ridiculous – of course you can afford it! It’s cheap! That’s the whole point, right? – but there are different ways and means of ‘affording’ things. For example, can you afford – can you allow yourself, your website and your business interests – to be subjected to a poor service from your web hosting company?

While everyone likes a bargain, it’s only a bargain if it’s good value for money. If you pay $20 per year for web hosting, that might sound great, but the associated problems – down time, server crashes and perhaps worse – suddenly makes the deal seem less attractive. If you are only running a small personal site, maybe you can afford to put up with those issues for the sake of saving the pennies – but if you’re looking to make your website a money-making scheme, then you definitely cannot.

The key here is affordability. Don’t look for cheap web hosting providers, just affordable ones that still offer a high, consistent level of good service. Your business will thank you for it in the long run.

Templates for E-Commerce Web Hosting

Creating a professional website can be challenging. E-commerce web design is really a complex animal. To cut development time, many web hosting companies start offering web hosting templates or hosting with templates.

Whether you’re looking for a simple web site or a functional e-commerce website, the chances are that you may be able to find a few web templates from your hosting company. A simple web template may cost under $20 dollars, but a well-designed professional e-commerce website will cost a few hundreds or more if not thousands.

The cost of web templates is still cheap comparing to custom-made e-commerce websites when Web designers charge anywhere from $20 to $100 per hour. If you want to check out some templates, go to www.templates box.com

Besides the requirements of standard web hosting plans, Web hosting templates for e-commerce operations needs a shopping cart that supports online catalog and online payment processing (here’s a clue, pick Pay Pal). Web templates for e-commerce often include common pages and navigations for online shopping – searching or browsing products, adding items to shopping carts and making payment. The web templates for e-commerce do not include or connect to any specific shopping cart. It’s up to the webmasters to add shopping cart to the site.

The alternative e-commerce hosting to web templates is e-commerce turnkey solution. EBay Stores, Yahoo! and GoDaddy.com are the most popular turn-key e-commerce solutions for small businesses that want to setup online stores easily. Different hosting plans may have different free structures. The cost of each hosting plan often varies on transaction volume.

When comparing functionality, there’re many questions to ask:

  • whether a shopping cart accepts online check or debit card.
  • Whether there’s a limit on the number of products and categories that you can setup;
  • whether it automatically sends out an email notification once an order is placed at your web-site.

When looking at the cost of commerce operation, you’ll need to ask questions about

  • what’s the basic monthly fee for transactions;
  • is there’s a setup fee for a new online store;
  • how about handling taxes?;
  • how much it charges for each transaction.

Talk with your hosting service on e-commerce issues and discuss the best plan to go with.

Paying For ISP Internet Access

Choosing ISP services can be real tricky and the rule of thumb is to pay for those services that you only need. Instead of plunking down change for all the bells and whistles. The typical small business web-site, four to seven pages, could choose a virtual hosting service with multiple email addresses, cgi-bin access and a T3 connection from the Internet for $19 to $27 per month.

Most small businesses pick the managed server hosting packages which could range from $3.95 a month to $20 a month. As stated before, these hosting packages have all the administrative support that you need and all you have to worry about is the development of your web-site. You are given an FTP client to load your site to the internet.

Socket Security Certificates cost extra for secure transactions of the financial type through your web page and you expect to pay at least $40 to $80 per month. The setup fees can be expensive and cost as much as $55, and sometimes more if you order special features. Large companies and high volume web sites pay more for certain types of services.

Shop around and get the best deal for your business. You can get web hosting through the internet from anywhere but you have to really study the ISP’s and see what they offer.

A big concern in choosing an ISP should be the response time in case a server goes down. How does the server respond during high traffic times on the server? You would have to ask the ISP representative what their percentage ranking is as far as server downtime.

You can find some of these rankings on the internet by going to cnet.com or use the Google search engine to rate the top ten ISP providers that have the best percentage of what the industry calls, “up” time according to their servers.

What Is A Domain Name?

A domain is a name that identifies IP addresses on the internet. The domain name Yahoo.com represents about fifteen (15) IP addresses. Domain names are used to identify Web pages. For example, in the URL http://www.gohome.com/index.html, the domain name is gohome.com.

You register a domain name by registering with a domain name services registrar. The domain name industry is regulated and overseen by ICANN, which is an organization responsible for providing standards and procedures for certifying companies as domain name registrars.

Domain name registration has grown over the years. Network Solutions was the first domain name registrar to ever provide such a service. That was over ten years ago but today there are many accredited registrars. Only a domain name registrar is permitted to access and modify the master database domains that are on InterNIC servers. The fee is determined by the registrar as far as getting a domain name and some registers have special domain name packages.

Do You Really Need a Domain Name?

You use a domain name to create an identity on the World Wide Web and domain names can also be used for branding purposes, such as Wal-Mart, K-Mart, etc. In picking a domain name, the title shouldn’t stray far from what your company is all about. This will allow you to market your web-site as a subsidiary of your business and put your domain name on business cards and advertisements.

Once you select a domain name, you must register it with a domain name registrar. This is a task you can do easily. Many ISPs offer a complete package that includes hosting and the registering of the domain name for you. Fees probably will include a one time set-up fee for all of the backend technical work that needs to be accomplished. Then pay your service provider a monthly, semi-annual or annual fee for Web site hosting services.

Many domain registrar services have competent online tools to help you get your domain name and hosting site up and running.

Web Server Hosting Types

There are different types of hosting services that you can choose from depending on what type of web development and web site that you want to host.

Dial-Up Access Hosting – This is the most basic access/hosting service and these providers also provides a web page for hosting your site. Dial-up access hosting was the first hosting available and is still around. Most ISP’s specialize in just internet access and it’s rare that you will see an ISP do both. These companies make their money off of providing access to the Internet.

Development Hosting – Web site developers are buying their own servers and offering independent hosting services for their clients. This is called development hosting in which they provide web development services along with a host server located at their place of business. The consumer gets charged for the development and the maintenance of the web-site.

Web-Hosting ISP’s. – These are companies that specialize in hosting business web sites. There is no dial up access needed and site owners access their pages via File Transfer Protocol (FTP). This is what the majority of small businesses use to put their site information on the internet. Other services are also included in the Web Hosting ISP package depending on their service plans.

These types of hosting plans are usually for corporations that need a lot of bandwidth to run their web applications. These companies run T1 access lines for big packets of internet data and have multiple connections to an internet backbone. They have fully staffed data processing facilities and the prices are substantial for using these types of services.

Corporate/Industrial Hosting – Companies like Hewlett Packard, Dell or IBM, run the server infrastructure for most of these host companies.

The SOHO business owner will usually need the Web-Hosting ISP services. It is the middle ground between the basic and advanced services.

Using Unmanaged Host Services

If you are a customer that wants total control of your web site administrative functions then you might want to look at unmanaged web hosting services to give you complete remote control administration over your server. The technical side of the server can be controlled by a designated administrator that you pick to handle your web information.

You have to have a technical person to install the server and manage the server if you don’t have the expertise because you as the customer will be responsible for maintaining the server environment. That’s why unmanaged servers are recommended for individuals and businesses with server administration resources.

As far as developing applications and controlling the applications without going through technical support personnel on the managed server side, these types of servers are usually used when companies are developing real time response systems on the internet, such as geographical, science, engineering and multimedia/entertainment applications.

Unmanaged servers allow you to add extra hard disk space to increase your space capacity and many computer companies sell physical servers that are configured for unmanaged hosting applications. Companies like Dell and HP have software programs that not only will run an office network but also handle web server and development applications.

Small businesses that don’t need a server on site and deal with administrative web packages should go with the managed host packages that provide assistance and administrative support. Managed applications will do just fine because of the costs that are incurred with maintaining an unmanaged server. Unmanaged servers need constant upgrades of software and hardware constantly which could cost your small business a big chunk of change.

Unmanaged servers are expensive to maintain and run unless you are a small firm that develops in house web applications. The best advice is to have a consultant draw up an IT plan to see if you need this type of hosting service or not.

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