When you are looking for a service to host your web site,
the vast number of services available can leave you confused about which to choose.
Here are important factors to consider when comparing hosting services.
- Quick human response.
Send a question by email to your candidate web hosting service and see how long they take to respond.
You want to know if they'll be there when you need them.
Some web hosting services offer 24-hour support and a few will respond quickly.
Speedy customer service is rare and indicates a superior service.
- Server performance.
You want a web hosting server that is reliable and fast.
Web hosting access speed can be tested in advance:
Net Mechanic will measure the
speed of access for all facets of web hosting access (network speed, DNS lookup, connect time, download time, and absence of timeouts).
The "download time" statistic is the most important single item to compare.
Collect your candidate web hosting services and run side-by-side tests.
Sample during peak and non-peak times for optimal comparison.
A sample report for web hosting.
- Are they familiar with the application you plan to use?
If you're planning to use an application that requires special setup parameters
(such as Online Merchant - a popular web hosting e-commerce application),
make sure your potential webhosting service is familiar with the application.
Otherwise you may find yourself struggling to figure out how to configure it - perhaps never succeeding!
- Compare traffic allowances.
Some web hosting services give you a small limit on the amount that can be downloaded from your site each month
and charge you large amounts when that limit is exceeded.
Some offer huge traffic allowances (several thousand MB/month, where 1,000 MB = 1 GB)
for the same price as others that limit you to a few hundred MB/month.
Perhaps you need less than a hundred MB/month now,
but why put yourself in a position where you have to move when your traffic takes off?
Plan ahead, allow for growth.
How much space do you expect to eventually want for your web site?
Planing ahead can save you time later.
Since you expect to grow, look for sites of 200 MB or more.
Some places offer 800 MB sites for less money than others that offer only 30 MB.
Consider what features you want to simplify development of your web site.
- Do you want access to a cgi-bin so that you can install your own scripts?
- Do you want many scripts pre-installed and pre-configured?
- Do you want email aliases (automatic forwarding) so you don't need to check email in more than one place?
- Do you want browser-based email so you can check your email from any browser?
With so many webhosting services to choose from, why not choose one that offers a guarantee?
Services that offer a moneyback guarantee are confident that you'll be delighted with their service.
Look for hidden costs when comparing price.
- Do they expect you to pay for a long term in advance to get a good price?
Choose one that doesn't bait you with a low price that's only available if you make a long-term commitment.
- Will they handle the registration/transfer of your domain for free?
Choosing an excellent service to host your web site doesn't have to require luck.