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How do I perform a web hosting search to find reliable hosting for my SOHO?

By Prakash Will

Performing a web hosting search to find reliable hosting can be a difficult task. This is because hosting companies focusing on the higher-end corporate market often overlook the fast-growing small office/home office (SOHO) sector. For this reason, a web hosting search for quality Web hosting can be a challenge, especially for individuals and businesses on a limited budget. A web hosting search for reliable hosting is possible if a buyer takes the following steps: clarify needs before your web hosting search; gather recommendations; create a short list of potential Web hosts, and ask questions.

Clarify your needs before your web hosting search:

• How much disk space and bandwidth is necessary?
• Will you require CGI or database capacities?
• What operating system will you need?
• Will you have streaming media requirements?
• Will you site change substantially in the future?
• Are you searching for hosting only for your purposes or for clients?

Gather recommendations:

• Be wary of web hosting search directories; many are owned by Web hosts.
• Obtain opinions from those who have Web sites.
• Query trade associations and mailing lists during your web hosting search.
• Read alt.www.webmaster newsgroup postings.

Create a shortlist:

• Make a list of hosts that you see are recommended the most and complained about the least.
• Determine which hosts offer specific services that you need, with scalability for future changes.
• Determine which host fits your price range.

Ask questions:

• Ask hosting firms technical questions to gauge their knowledge and accuracy.
• Ask a lot of question to determine the host's commitment to customers.
• Subject host to an honesty test: offer them the opportunity to up sell you needlessly.


SOHO consumers can perfor a web hosting search and find the most effective hosting services for their business if they follow and understand the following recommendations:



• Small business may feel most comfortable with small hosts who better understand their needs.
• Do not be seduced by hosts offering more than you need and then skimps on support.
• Note the price of affordable hosting is often that the customer is expected to be technically knowledgeable and self-sufficient.
• Choose a host who is flexible, scalable, and who can grow with your business.
• Ensure that you can add domains to a core plan and resell services.
• Ensure that the host offers a knowledge base.
• Check to ensure that the host offers some level of interaction.
• Watch for signs of rudeness, impatience and unresponsiveness.
• Do not sign a long-term contact for hosting services right away.
• If you have more than one site, consider spreading them among several hosts.

About the Author: Prakash Will is in charge of a well-known webmaster resources site. You can find him at www.phppoint.com

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