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How do I choose a good shared low cost web hosting service?

By Joe Tan

A good, shared low cost web hosting must provide reliable and reasonable quality of service. Many times, a consumer will sign up with the least expensive provider only to experience many technical difficulties and the inevitable and frustrating experience of changing low cost web hosting. To avoid this experience, it is best if the consumer chooses the right hosting company. Ensuring that a shared low cost web hosting firm has the following characteristics will increase the probability of consumer satisfaction.

Quality Server Technology The use of quality server technology is important. Since shared low cost web hostingservices utilize multiplexed equipment, consumers must ensure that the server and server technology used can accommodate the number of users on your particular server.
System Administrators Make sure that knowledgeable system administrators are operating your low cost web hosting company’s technology.

Network Redundancy Your shared low cost web hosting package must have multiple connections to the Internet. Network redundancy ensures that if one Internet connection goes down, traffic can be re-routed through another connection.

Network Connectivity It is important to find the fastest Internet connection possible. Since you are competing with other users for resources in a shared low cost web hosting environment, you should ensure that you have at least T3 connection that is using less than 50 per cent of available bandwidth.

You should also consider the following factors before selecting any type of shared low cost web hosting solution for your Web site. By considering these factors, you will save money in the long run by selecting a solution that grows with your business.

Purchase only what you need Select a low cost web hosting solution that corresponds with your business needs. Only purchase services that your site will require to provide your specific content. Don't sign up for an all-inclusive account with a hosting firm if you won't use most of their services. This will unnecessarily increase your costs.



Select a scalable solution Make sure that your hosting solution can grow as your site grows in complexity. Ensure that you can upgrade your site to accommodate increased bandwidth and other demanding resource requirements such as server-side scripting, database support and multimedia streaming.

Find prompt tech support Only use a host that provides prompt and knowledgeable customer care. A dependable host should offer 24x7 toll-free technical support rendered by experienced and professionally trained technicians.

Check references Before you commit to a particular hosting firm, ask for references. Make sure to canvass other webmasters running sites with similar specifications. Browse their Web sites and measure response times at both peak and non-peak periods.

Watch your billing and keep your receipt Many hosting firms are notorious for their horrid billing practices. Check your credit card statements to ensure that you are not being overcharged or billed at an incorrect frequency. Most purchases occur online, so make sure to print out your receipt. Most companies will require you to remit that receipt by fax in order to cancel.

Back up all your data Do not depend on your host to recover any data you publish on the Web. Most hosting firms are only equipped to recover files in the event of a system failure. Ensure that you have a copy of any data that you post to the Web on your own hard drive.

Own your own domain Make sure that your Web host will not hold you hostage to their service by exercising administrative control over your domain name. Your host should only be listed as a technical contact. You should exercise administrative control over the domain name from the point of purchase.

Do extensive background research Find out whether a host is real or whether it resells hosting solutions. Also check what payment processor the host uses to run credit card transactions. Determine who owns the hosting company and whether they possess the technical expertise required to run it effectively. All of these factors impact upon the credibility and reliability of the host and the services you provide your customers.

Obtain assurances You should obtain assurances concerning service quality before you sign up for hosting services. A quality Web host should assure some form of service quality and compensation if you experience an interruption in service.

Understand your obligations Before you sign up with a Web host, you must understand what your obligations are concerning payment for service and permissible behavior. Certain hosting companies will not permit high traffic content, such as adult material. Other hosting companies will permit such content, but only if a special hosting service package is selected.

Establish an exit strategy Always have a backup plan in case your host goes belly-up or experiences an unrecoverable failure. Redundancy should always be a priority if you are running an Internet-based business. Remember that any service outage can completely compromise your source of income.


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