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Choosing a hosting provider - a few considerations
If you are a firm or just a person wanting to establish a web presence, you need a hosting account. Getting the right hosting account for your needs can be a tough job. If you want to start a blog or a small to medium project, it’s relatively simple to find a host. If you want to start a big project online it’s better to hire a specialist or even a team to tell you your hosting needs and do the project for you.
Here are some factors you may consider when you make your choice for a hosting account: space on disk, speed, up time, cost. It is very important to get the right report between these, because usually a low cost hosting account will also provide you low performance. In my opinion, up time is a very important factor. If you pay money to provide traffic to your website and your visitors get a “not found” page because server being down, you have a big problem.
Lately there are a growing number of web hosting providers and the hosting services quality increases every day. So nowadays you can find good and still cheap hosting services much easier then in the past.
First, you need to read some reviews. Search the internet for “web hosting reviews”. Pick 2-3 providers with good reviews, go to their website (note how fast their homepage loads itself in your browser) and read all you can about their service. Contact the support team with some reasonable question and note down how fast you get a reply. If they say "fast support" or "24/7 support" and you get a response 6-7 hours later, don't host your website with these guys.
Start your website with a low cost hosting account. For instance, if you only plan to start a blog, chances are you’ll find a good hosting account for only $3-$5 per month. Most providers will offer you discounts if you pay once for one year. If you plan to make a website that will grow through time (a membership website for instance, with a lot of downloads) it’s not a good idea to pay for a year, because you’ll probably need a bigger account faster than a year. Are you offering a local service and just want an easy place for people to get your contact information? Go with something basic and cheap. Do you have a large company with international buyers and a wide range of products? You may need a powerful, stable hosting account.
Be sure to choose a hosting provider that offers daily or weekly backups (these days most providers will offer you this). This feature is very important – you don’t want to loose hours and hours of work and/or a whole database if/when a disaster strikes.
Some providers will offer you bells and whistles with their products – “our servers are powered with green energy” – while this is great and makes you happy because you use them and save the planet too, it is more important for you to have good quality services for the money you pay.
Pay attention to services that sell you “unlimited” anything. In fact, there is no such thing like “unlimited”. This is purely an advertising term.
If you plan to use your website for affiliate marketing, check if the hosting provider offers an autoresponder. If yes, it will save you serious money over time.
Some providers will ask you a bigger price for features that can be good for others, but you’ll never need and never use. Don’t go with these. For instance, a provider may offer you “unlimited email addresses at you domain”. Ask yourself: what can you use “unlimited email addresses” for? How can you check unlimited email addresses?
If you have more than one domain name registered and want to use all of them, you may want to use a hosting provider which will give you addon domains – an addon domain allows visitors to reach a subdomain of your site by typing the addon domain's URL into a browser or parked domains – (domain pointers) allow you to "point" or "park" additional domain names to your existing hosting account.