How To Compare Web Hosting Services




Compare web hosting services....

You have a website, or at least a vision for one.

But before you can move forward you need to make a critical decision - select the right web host for your unique purpose.

analyze and compare web hosts on a computer laptop

To do this you need to compare various hosting companies. The trouble is there is an enormous number of web hosts out there!

I know you are excited and eager to get your web site up on the internet and get down to business.

But believe me, the time you invest now in researching and evaluating your hosting options will be well worth your while!

Skip this step and you may be kicking yourself later - take some time now and you will thank yourself!

Read on to find out exactly what you need to do to evaluate hosting providers and select the best host for you.


5 Critical Factors To Consider When You Compare Web Hosting


Price

Many people use price as the key factor to compare web hosting companies.

I disagree.

I think you will find in the long run that factors such as reliability, speed, and technical support are what will make or break your web hosting experience.

Web hosting plans range from free to very expensive.

Some companies such as Yahoo offer free web hosting if you agree to them using your site as a place to run their ads. There are pros and cons to this.

Free web hosting definitely has its place. Free hosting plans can work very well for a small personal or blogging site, but may have too many drawbacks for a business site. To find out more about free hosting plans check our articles on free web hosting.

It most definitely pays to shop around on value for price if you are choosing a site for business purposes, or if you have a site you are planning to start as a hobby that you think may one day become a business.

You really need to delve into the pricing details to see what items are included, what you will need to pay extra for and what those hidden extras are!


Technical Support

Everything's fine until something goes wrong.

When you have a technical problem - and believe me they will happen at some time with every web site -- the quality of technical support is critical!

It's going to matter a lot to you. When you compare web hosting companies find out these important things about their technical support:

  • how do you get technical support - by email, live chat, or by telephone? (Phone and live chat are usually faster.)
  • is technical support always free? If not what services are charged for?
  • if telephone support is provided is there a toll free line? If not each call to tech serivces will cost you! (if you have a good long distance plan this may not be so important)
  • when is tech support available? 24 hours a day or just during specific days/times?
  • how knowledgeable are the technical staff?
  • how long does it take to get in contact with tech support?
  • can you communicate easily with technical support staff? Do you both speak the same language?
  • are the tech staff polite and friendly and eager to help you?

While you compare web hosting companies be sure to place a lot of emphasis on the availablity and quality of technical support. You will thank yourself later!


Reliability

You have a fantastic web site.

You put a great deal of effort into the quality of this site. You put your heart and soul into the design. You focused on getting every nuance of each word and photo and all the graphics just perfect.

But you hear complaints from customers that your website is down. They type in your domain name and get an error.

Or you try to upload some updates to your site about a special offer, news update, or your daily blog entry only to find that the server is down -- again!

Unfortunately people don't always realize that this is a problem with your hosting company - and they may gain a perception that there is a problem with you or your business.

Be sure to research how reliable your host is when you compare web hosting companies. It is really important!

Most companies will publish their "up time" statistics. This is a good measure of their reliability.

A good web host will report up time well over 95%. In fact good hosts have their servers up at least 99% of the time. An important factor to consider as you compare web hosting service providers.


Software

I am using the word 'software" to refer to a whole bunch of things:

  • is this host compatible with the web design software you are using - eg FrontPage, DreamWeaver etc.?
  • do they provide their own web design software for you to use, and if so how easy is it to learn? is it compatible with various scripts or 3rd party elements you want to include?
  • if you are planning ecommerce on your site, is there shopping cart and merchant capability? does it cost extra?
  • interested in blogging? what blogging software do they provide/allow?
  • do they have easy to use add-ons you might want such as calendars, forums, form building software etc?
  • what mechanisms are used to update/upload your website? Is your ftp program compatible or is there an alternate way to upload?
  • what web traffic stats are available so that you can track and improve the number of visitors to your site?

Customer Service

All web hosts are not the same! Especially when it comes to customer service!

As you compare web site hosting you need to consider customer service.

The friendliness of the sales people - yes - because this can be a general indication of how much importance a company places on customer service in general.

But realistically, you will likely only speak to the sales people once -- when you are buying your plan or as you compare web hosting companies.

You will have contact with the billing representatives, technical support, and other parts of the company.

Customer service is also reflected in the avaiability of online support such as how-to manuals, member forums, help desks, and FAQs.

Be sure the company you are considering is one you will want to deal with on a regular basis.

 


Well there you have it - the top 5 most critical factors to evaluate when you compare web hosting.

You may find it helpful to bookmark this summary page or print it out to help you evaluate and compare web hosting.

But whatever you choose to do please be sure you always look at price, reliability, technical support, software and customer service as you compare web hosting alternatives.

 


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What is Web Hosting?
How To Compare Web Hosts

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