So you’ve found the perfect domain name for your soon to be successful online venture. Your mind is drifting to the many variables that will play a role in that success – site design, marketing, search engine listings, and so on. Thoughts of web hosting cross your mind, but only briefly. After all, development and marketing are exciting directions, and where you host your site is a mere technicality – or is it?
Selection of a host that is suitable for your online business is something that requires more thought, and research, than many newcomers to the internet business world realize. Your host is at the very core of your operation – without them your business literally does not exist.
Imagine the following scenario:
You’ve worked many months developing your site, its product lines, and the marketing efforts relative to getting those products to your potential customers. You’ve recently completed negotiations for a short term partnership arrangement with a high traffic web portal that is guaranteed to bring volumes of targeted visitors to your online store. Just as the links to your venture are activated at your partner’s end, your hosting provider experiences an all-out server failure. Their backup systems are inefficient, and unable to manage the sudden influx of data requests. In the end, they fail as well.
Technical staff supporting your host are inexperienced, and cannot bring the server up in less than 24 hours. Once all system issues are corrected, and your site is again live, your short term partnership arrangement has concluded. The only achievement of this agreement has been the exposure of thousands of potential customers to an error message indicating your site is unavailable. Will these previously motivated buyers return? Perhaps, but achieving this will now require twice the effort initially necessary – which often means twice the financial investment as well.
Is the above scenario one that your online business can afford? The answer is obvious, but the potential exists if one decides to select a hosting provider without doing their homework first.
There are innumerable areas of assessment when selecting a host, and the requirements of each business model is different. Here are some of the most common elements you will want to review:
* what is their average uptime? Aim high here – many experienced providers average over 99% uptime.
* do they offer any testimonials from satisfied customers?
* can they be contacted to very the information they have provided on site?
* how do they ensure server security?
* do they have well laid out risk management plans?
* server failures are inevitable – what is the average length of the downtime involved, if any?
General Service Offering
* megs of storage space allocated at given price
* number of email accounts provided per hosted domain
* cgi bin access to allow for the installation and use of various on-site forms
* free access to ready to install cgi based forms
* sql capability for database oriented sites
* fully detailed site statistics, including hits, visitors, page views, referrers, keywords, geographical analysis, etc.
* autoresponder availability, number allocated per domain
* bandwidth restrictions per domain
* other add-ons, including ecommerce applications, site building tools, mailing list software, etc.
* is the price reflective of the level and number of services available – how does it compare to the competition
* is there a scalable level of service/pricing – can you upgrade as your business grows
Investing the level of effort necessary to selection of a qualified host today can save the online entrepreneur a significant amount of frustration, and financial loss down the road.
Research each potential host thoroughly. If the answers specific to your operation are not clearly stated on their site, take the time to contact them with your inquiry. Any ethical hosting provider will be more than happy to respond promptly, and in detail regarding your questions. If they fail to do so, presume the worst, and move on.
There are many outstanding performers such as Cheap web hosting who will make every effort to host your online venture in a reliable, and customer oriented manner, assisting in your achievement of online success.