Choose a Host that matches your Home Business needs
Copyright 2005 Arun Pal Singh
With a plethora of hosting companies offering services, choosing a good web host seems an intimidating task. The technical jargon is hard to decipher and that makes it difficult further. It is better to prepare beforehand and then search for offers rather than acting otherwise.
What is web hosting?
If one compares the web to land hosing is the place where your office or website will be placed. Server is the computer which stores your website files and allows them to be viewed on clicking the link to your site.
With free hosting out of question for business and dedicated hosting being too expensive, shared hosting is the only and good option for home business. As the name suggests, in shared hosting your site is stored with many others unlike dedicated hosting which stores only your site.
Now let us discuss other features:
Disc or Server space:
This is the space on hard disk of your server that will be allotted to your site. Without graphics a typical web page occupies 40 – 50 Kb. Now 1000 kb = 1 MB. Allowing space for graphics too and need for any future expansion anything between 50 -100 MB should be good enough if you are not running a flashy website. Many companies offer space up to 1 GB (1000 MB) but if you do not require, do not fall for the offer.
A very important aspect and often overlooked. This is the amount of actual data that can be transferred from the web server that holds your website. It is directly linked to the number of visitors to your site. If you have 10000 visitors per month with few downloads you will require anything between 5 -6 GB per month. More downloads means higher requirement. As your business grows you will need more. For starting 10 GB should be good enough. That leaves you with extra margin.
E- Mail aliases:
This lets you formulate an e-mail address on your site address e.g. anything@ your sitename.com where anything can be support, live support, help, info, subscribe etc. Anything! This makes your business look professional. Look for you needs but anything around 10 is good enough. Many companies offer unlimited aliases too.
Watch for these too:
If you plan to accept payment on your side an access to SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encryption is must. If you want your site to be interactive you would need to install cgi(Common Gateway Interface). So better to look for a host who supplies you your own cgi bin.
If you wish to create your site in Microsoft FrontPage then check whether your host provides FrontPage extension. If you plan to run a site with database then MySQL should be a desired feature.
Your host should also provide you free access to your server. You should have free access to log files and statistics of the traffic your site receives. If your host offers referral programme it is better.
This matters a great deal to your business. You will need this help whenever you run in trouble. If your host is not supportive or is not prompt enough then it could mean loss in your business. See that you are provided a good and meaningful support. Send them a question or two. Study the response. Find out if they are available on phone in case you are in emergent situation.
Make sure that this service is free and they will not charge anything in name of customer support.
Finally, you will have to find what matches your business needs. Search before you settle for a deal. Narrow down your choice to a few prospective hosts. Look for their reputation. Ask them examples of sites hosted.
Check with their existing clients and find how satisfied they are. Most good business hosts are available between $ 15- 50 with few differences that could matter to the individual.
You can start small and upgrade later provided your host gives you this option. Select the one who allows you to expand if the need arises.
Just two words before you go. “Select carefully”