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What To Look For In A Web Host?
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Once you get the site off the ground, you need web
site statistic tools so that you can evaluate traffic and plan
future site development.
If you know which pages are the most popular,
you'll know by default what your visitors are looking for. If you
know which browsers they use, you'll make sure your pages look
good in those browsers. And, most important, you want to know how
your visitors got to your site in the first place so that you can
concentrate your marketing efforts.
Most hosts provide statistical analysis package
for reporting on traffic such as Analog, Getstats, Webalizer.
You also want access to raw server logs so that
you can run all sorts of numbers using your own statistical
software. If your host doesn't provide access to raw log
just walk away.
How's The Tech
Check out the host's service policy at its site,
but remember: support packages aren't always as good as they
Unlike many other services you use online where
you can operate smoothly without any help, you WILL need tech
support from your host sooner or later. Even if you are a Ph.D. in
computer science, you still can't activate or install certain
features from your local machine.
So make sure the support staffs are there, ready
to fix your problem, whenever you need them. 24-hour phone-support
is preferred. Call or email them before you sign up.
Is The Service
You can't judge a host merely by its feature list.
The best insight you'll get into your prospective web host is
unedited customer feedback. Check out online forums for comments
about a host's performance.
Many gripes may come from customers who are biased
or more demanding than you are, so read the reactions to any
complaints as closely as the original remarks themselves.
If a host lists any customers with sites that are
similar to yours, check them out at key times of day to see how
quickly they load or whether they seem sluggish or unresponsive.
If You Back Out, Will
It Cost You?
Before you sign up, find out if you are free to
choose another web host if this one doesn't work out. So long as
your name is listed as the "Administrative Contact" with
InterNIC, you can transfer your site to another host: just go to
your registrar and enter new DNS (Domain Name Server) address.
Some hosts offer 15 or 30 days money-back
guarantee, if you are not happy with them, you can switch to
another one and get your money back.
Look for plans with free setup too so that you can
test your site before your payments start rolling in.
What Should You Expect
The best advice is to know the services you really
need, and only pay for those. For example, a typical small
business web site with less than one hundred pages can find good
hosting package with cgi-bin access, free setup, multiple email
account and aliases, SSI, raw logs access, for $10-20 per month.
If you need SSL Security, expect to pay $15-35
more per month. (The hosting service I
recommend does offer SSL secure server for free, really a good
Finding a good host is not always easy. Now at
least you know what you should look for while shopping around.
Based on my own experience, I
highly recommend this hosting service. I use it to host
web sites for myself and my clients and I must say, it over
If you want to try out free hosting without forced
ads, Portland is
one of the best. They can host your own domain with 500MB
bandwidth for free and offers enough features including
cgi-bin and SSI. I use it to test my site and scripts before
I complete everything. Expect some down time and poor support
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Article by Zac Hewlett at
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