Are you ready for a web site? Not sure what to look for? Use this article to help you determine the best hosting company for your site.
Growth Is this a company you can grow with vs. having to change companies when you outgrow the service?
Customer Service Many people start with a lost cost service, only to find that the only way to receive customer service is by email. Choose a company that offers you low cost services with a long distance phone number for customer service. If you need a larger service, $20 a month +, they should offer you a toll free customer service number.
Reliability Do they provide information about their server uptime/downtime (and possibly even provide a guarantee)? Do they provide you with your own IP Address? (that's a special number identification system for a web site, vs. the worded identification most people are familiar with.)
Choices The type of server you will need depends on the programs you want to run for things like your shopping cart, affiliate program, web site pages, etc. ASP, JSP, PHP, CGI, PL, CSS programs will influence the choice of a server and visa versa. Your hosting service may have windows (which for example accepts ASP but not PHP), Linux or nix-based (Apache/FreeBSD/etc.) servers.
Email Accounts How many Pop 3 accounts (Post Office Protocol) do you want? Basically, these are email accounts where both the to and from accounts are your domain names. The other type, you don't want as a business owner are "alias" accounts where the to account is your domain name, then it's transferred to your ISP/DSL account. Outgoing mail does not include your domain name account.
Security If you want a shopping cart, make sure that your site is secure, is encrypted and has the programming capacity that allows you to produce a shopping cart, too.
Statistics Does your hosting companies plan include monthly and yearly statistics on each of your web pages? Will you know how someone found each of your web pages?
Easy Does your hosting package include a simple to understand control panel? This is especially important if you want to maintain your site or have someone else easily maintain it. It's one place to visit when making changes to your site, add addresses, etc.
Protection It is easy to password protect a page or area of your web site? This is becoming more important as web owners develop client, subscriber and note areas of their web sites.
Web Email Option Can you easily read your messages on line, when you travel, because it has a Web-based Email system?
-Does it offer an ezine subscription service and if so, will it accept both text and HTML? -Does your hosting package include an easy to use web page builder? -Does it include a way for you to send your files to the server? -If you are building or having your site built with MS Front Page, you want to make sure that the server accepts Front Page pages. -What are the hidden, one time only, set-up fees?
Special thanks to my two favorite web design email lists www.WiseWomen.com and http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HTML-on-the-WEB/ for assistance with this article.
© 2004 From Web Site Marketing Primer: 52 Things To REALLY Consider Before You Create A Web Site, a new ebook by Maria Marsala, Business and Life Coach-Trainer. Our mission is to teach, motivate and inspire others to live their "best lives" while contribute to the world in wonderful ways. Join our newsletter, Elevating Your Business at http://www.coachmaria.com/ .
Reprinted from Zongoo! Computers