Avoid Web Hosting Nightmares By Shopping Around

When you are running your own website for the first time, it is something of a rite of passage and what you want more than anything is for things to go smoothly. However, the old problem exists that those who are in something for the first time will find themselves facing a confusing situation, which can easily lead to them making the wrong decision. One place you can’t afford a bad decision is in your choice of web host.

A quick hunt around the Internet with the search term “Worst web host” and “web hosting nightmares” throws up some quite illuminating information. While the hosts themselves must remain nameless on this site, there are endless stories of awful tech support (not being able to get through, having an impossible time getting anything fixed when you eventually do get through, and plain rude staff), of unscheduled downtime, and in the case of one host porn being placed on the servers.

If you are paying for web hosting, you have the right to expect that it will do what it is sold as doing. Therefore, it is advisable to shop around for a host that offers what you need (in terms of bandwidth, pricing and customer support) and then looking for independent testimonials on the Internet. Don’t be put off by one story of poor service, but if it becomes a theme you should begin to wonder why that is. You’re entitled to expect good service, and if they can’t supply that they are no use to you.

Hello, This Is Technical Support, How Can I Help You?

Customer service has become a real buzzword in the recent past, with companies the world over queueing up to offer it. However, as anyone who has experienced a battle with a customer support department will know, offering it is one thing, delivery is often another entirely. This is sadly often true of the technical support departments of web hosting companies, and of online service in general.

You may be familiar with the sinking feeling of being on hold to a company and hearing the recorded message telling you “Your call is important to us, thank you for holding” repeatedly. It cannot be underestimated how annoying this is, and how entirely counter-productive. The message may be designed to reassure the customer that their problem will be dealt with soon, and dealt with well – but to many of us it signals the company protesting too much.

Before you sign up for a web hosting company, it is essential that you research their record on tech support. Some companies do not have a tech support phone line, advising that you send them an email – hardly reassuring when they seem to have such problems with Internet downtime. Others offer a “live chat” service on the Internet, and this can be a worthwhile option, but only when it is adequately staffed.

Save The Planet While Running Your Site

There is evidence to suggest that, with the energy demand placed by web hosting and the increasing popularity of running your own website, the web hosting industry could be one of the larger polluters in the world within a decade. That, at least, is the claim being made by some of the newer web hosting companies on the block – and their claims are backed up by research. If you want your online endeavors to be green compliant, it may well be worth seeking one of the increasing number of green web hosting companies to host your site.

The idea behind these companies is that they purchase green energy credits which go towards creating energy through renewable sources. All the energy created – from whatever source – goes into a central grid, so although the demands of web hosting may be creating a negative environmental effect right now, they will at least be funding the increasing use of green energy sources – with an eye on making this the most common source of energy in time, and reversing some of the negative effect of web hosting at present.

It is particularly beneficial if you are running a site which reflects green interests, or are working in an industry with an eye on the environment, as you can display your green credentials at the foot of your site, showing that you are using an environmentally friendly web hosting company. The more people that do this, the better chance there is that the technology will improve in the future.

Web Stats With Your Hosting Service

If you are paying for web hosting, then it makes sense that you should expect to see some return on that money in the form of a service that enables you to make the most of your site. Simply put, the least you will require is a viable stat counting service, and most of the better paid web hosting services will offer something along those lines. When you are looking around for a web host, this should be one of the deal breakers for you – if they don’t offer a decent stat counter, begin to look elsewhere.

Stat counters are an essential for anyone looking to get the most from their website because it is only by seeing what action people take once they arrive at your website that you can begin to put right any wrongs that are escaping your attention. if people are surfing away from your site at an early stage, then clearly you need to make your website grab their attention more. If people are visiting a certain page more than others, see how you could bring some of the magic onto other pages.

It is of course possible to download and install your own stat counter on your website, but when you are paying for the privilege of web hosting it really is not too much to expect that the site should have a stat counter built in and ready to run. That way, you can really start to make the most of what you have got.

Website Monitoring Services – A Worthwhile Investment?

Having paid for web hosting, you will naturally want to make sure that you are getting what you paid for. If your hosting service is not giving you the amount of working time that you expect from it, you are entitled to know why, and to find this out as soon as it happens. You cannot constantly be sat monitoring your site – and if you have more than one, this is impossible anyway, so it may be a good idea to pay for a dedicated website monitoring service that will constantly check the status of your site.

The way this works is that dedicated software is used to access your site once every three minutes (the time may vary, but the principle is the same with all services of this nature). As long as the service gets the response it is expecting – an active website – it will take no further action, and simply check again as soon as the time period has elapsed. When it gets a message saying that the site is down, it checks again seconds later using a different IP address. If it gets the same response, it will contact you.

Generally, this will be done by means of a mobile device such as a cell phone or a pager, and will be a short message telling you that your website is down. If this is during an already advertised period of downtime, there is nothing more you need to do. If not, then you can contact your hosting service alerting them to the fact, and get the problem fixed as quickly as possible.

Application Service Providers and Hosting

Application service providers (commonly referred to as ASP’s) have quickly sprouted onto the web hosting scene in effort to provide businesses with new and innovative services. The term ASP should not be confused with Microsoft Corporations software application.

The number of applications provided through the ASP model is growing. Accordingly, there is a growing business of companies developing software for the ASP marketplace. What sorts of applications are being developed? As remotely-hosted applications can provide cost-effective access for businesses to unique software, many of the applications are designed to be of occasional use in terms of use. Others are geared towards using group connectivity provided by through the Internet to provide an application that is flexible.

ASP’s have created software programs to handle various business functions as materials management, human resources, financial management, and e-commerce transaction services.

The variety of solutions provided by ASP’s is vast. Many ASP’s are doing great business in meeting operational needs of companies across different industries and business functions. There are a number of technical and business issues currently addressed by ASP’s to develop and enhance system applications.

A major advantage for businesses in seeking ASP services is that they provide an opportunity to reduce costs and increase efficiencies. Companies can have access to a wider-range of software products with the possibility of paying less than an outright purchase through usage charges. This allows businesses to access applications that can service particular business needs so companies can focus on their core operations.

Furthermore, ASP’s are developing new software that can provide business solutions to operating issues not previously addressed through PC-based software. ASP’s also remove many of the technical administrative and maintenance issues associated with software by providing real-time upgrades, remote hosting, remote dial in customer support and overall software management.

Web hosting companies are involved in the development of applications – however, many of the hosting companies serve to provide network management and serve the application remotely to users. In providing ASP-related services, these companies are essentially AIP’s (application infrastructure providers.)

For mainframe web hosting applications, ASP service providers are pioneering a new way to host and maintain business applications.

How To Find A Good Web Host

When you have made the decision to invest in a website for your business, service or even just personal use, it’s time to start looking for a web host. Of course, everyone wants the best web host in the world, but with all the options out there, how do you know who to choose?

Hopefully, this list should provide some answers to that very question…

– Check webmaster forums.

Webmaster forums are the best place to get recommendations for web hosting providers. The users of the forum rely on their website as their income, so they’ll know who is worth hosting with and who is a waste of time. Start a thread asking for recommendations, or just browse through until you have a general idea of which companies are worth trusting.

– Run Google searches.

As soon as you find a company you are interested in, it’s time to start checking them out. Run a Google search for their company name and sift through the results; if there’s anything bad to be said about them, you’ll find it. Add in words like ‘bad’, ‘poor’, ‘terrible’ and ‘useless’ to increase the chances of finding any poor user experiences of the company.

– Read the small print.

This is a truism in life, and it applies to web hosting too. Before you hand over your money to buy web hosting, you should always read the terms and conditions of the arrangement. If there’s anything you don’t like, either contact the web host for clarification, or go elsewhere. There are good web hosts out there, and by being diligent and following the above steps, you’ll find one.

The Downside To Free Web Hosting

Free web hosting is one of the many, many options available to the business-minded website owner looking to make their way in the online world. Like anything, free web hosting has its pros and cons, so before you spend time building a website on a free service only to realise it isn’t for you, here’s the downside to free web hosting so you can be fully informed:

– You will be restricted.

The amount of web space, bandwidth and even visitors you can receive will be massively restricted if you use a free web hosting provider. However, the space offered is usually perfectly adequate for a small business or a fun fan site.

– You will most likely have to have a add-on domain name.

Instead of www.yoursite.com, your domain name with a free web hosting provider is likely to be something like: www.yourfreewebhostingprovider.com/yoursite or http://yoursite.freewebhostingprovider.com – meaning your site is immediately associated with another company. It isn’t a specific problem, just something to be aware of.

– The meaning of ‘free’.

While you may be getting the web space for free, with most free web hosting companies you will be expected to run adverts on the site. Usually these are generated and placed on your site without you needing to do anything – and you have no way of removing them. Running the ads is essentially how you ‘pay’ for your ‘free’ service. There’s no workaround for this; the web host has to make money somehow.

If you are looking to host a small, easy website with only a few pages, it may be worth considering free web hosting. For another more, you’re going to need to self-host.

The Good Side of Free Web Hosting

In a world that is dismiss anything that is labelled ‘free’ as suspicious, when users are looking to build a website they will likely give the concept of free web hosting short shrift. However, there are some significant upsides to using a free web hosting provider – so before you dismiss the concept, take a read of the list below.

– It’s free!

It may seem like an odd point to include in this list – isn’t it obvious that ‘free’ web hosting is, er, free?! – but it’s the aspect you should focus your attention on. No, free web hosting is not going to work if you are looking to make a lot of money from that website – but if you just want a small corner on the web, somewhere personal or as a small business listing, then the free aspect is important.

Essentially, there’s no point investing a lot of money in a website if you are not intending for that website to make you money – so it may be worth putting up with the minor inconveniences a free web host provides, and using your money elsewhere.

– Support for beginners.

Most free web hosting providers have their own support forums, which are moderated by their own staff as well as including posts from users of the service. This means you’ll have an immediate support base should you run in to any trouble.

– You don’t need to be technically experienced to build a website.

A lot of free web hosts offer WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) website building, meaning you don’t need to learn HTML or anything else complicated. You can just plug and play.

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WYSIWYG? ORLY? OMG!

While many web hosts provide WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) site building software, it is important to consider the matter of whether this software is what you want to use. Make no mistake, for the most part these are perfectly useful and often even very good. But your best bet may be to ignore these editors and choose a Content Management System instead. The CMS (as it is known for short) can be installed on the cPanel of your hosting software and you can then use it for all your web building needs.

The advantages of using a CMS over the WYSIWYG editor on your site are substantial. Primarily, it comes down to the fact that these systems (Joomla and WordPress are the two most popular) offer you a lot more latitude with what you want to do with the site. Both are highly customisable and also offer a real “plug and play” element, which makes it a whole lot easier to install extra content on your site – content like road maps, YouTube videos and Paypal clients which make it a lot easier to create a business site.

Additionally, these systems make it a lot easier to make your site look good. It is very easy to download a “theme” or template for your site which will give it a distinct and professional look. Although the WYSIWYG editor is a nice touch and may be useful for basic sites, you should never look a gift horse in the mouth – install a free CMS today.

Is There Such A Thing As “Free” Web Hosting?

In this world, getting something for nothing is rare – and, perhaps naturally, people distrust things that are free to acquire and give benefits back for what is seemingly no financial reward. This applies across all walks of life, from business to finance to the internet – and applies particularly to the concept of free web hosting.

Web hosting is expensive, there’s no doubt about it. That’s why offers for free web hosting seem too good to be true, and many users will just avoid on sight. In reality, there are some benefits that can be gotten from free web hosting. For some users, it might be worth looking deeper in to the idea.

Free web hosting is not without its drawbacks – usually you cannot use your own domain name, and you will be limited in terms of how much space and bandwidth you have. So far, it’s not such an attractive package if you are looking to host a professional, large site – and in truth, it probably isn’t a good idea if you fall in to that category.

It is with the small, often first-website user that free web hosting comes in to its own. If you only want to put a minute website, with a couple of pages and perhaps contact deals on the web, then it may be something worth considering. It’s certainly cheaper, and if you are not relying on the website solely to generate business or income, then a free offer may be exactly what you need.

Cheap May Be Better Than Free

Although free web hosting exists, there is no getting around the fact that a company has to pay for it somehow. This tends to result in you having to make do somewhere along the line. Yes, you’d like to have a website without ads on it, or at least have some control over what is being advertised. But if the hosting is free, then you may have to make do with distracting and potentially off-putting ads on your site. You’d hope for good tech support, but they have to pay for that “free hosting” and good tech support doesn’t come cheap.

However, not everyone has the budget to go with the more established, well-reviewed companies, so there has to be a third way, and that comes in the form of cheap web hosting. Yes, “cheap” is a relative term, but if you’re paying something to them, and a lot of other people are too, then it at least gives them a budget to spend on important little things like tech support people who know what a computer is and servers that don’t explode when someone actually visits your site.

Cheap web hosting has this in common with the more expensive type – there are good providers and bad providers. The more established big names in the sector are, generally, well-liked by those who use them and while you might not expect as much from them as you would from a blue-chip company there is a lot to be said for a fresh, inexpensive option – especially when you’re starting out.

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