The growth in the popularity, size and use of the Internet has been staggering. It has changed the way people communicate, learn, and most of all do business. Consequently, the need for enhanced web services, like web hosting, has exploded in recent years, and it represents the fastest growing segment of the Internet services market.
To evaluate a web host, the price is not the only important factor, the client will need to take consideration about other characteristics.
Host's Connection to the Internet
One of the most important features is the quality of the host's connection to the Internet. There are a bunch of variations T-1, T-3, OC-3, OC-256, etc. A company that offers a T1 connection to the Internet can only allow 1.544 Mbps (Megabits per second) a T3 can allow up to 45 Mbps. Then again an OC-256 can allow 13,000 Mbps, giving you the ability to transfer much more information at a higher rate of speed before getting bogged down.
Customers that are seriously worried about speeds that a viewer can see their site, need to consider how fast the servers are. Although bandwidth and connections are major factors, server speeds are equally important. A server that is a host to many sites that are being accessed simultaneously may get bogged down. No matter how fast the connection is this can seriously slow down a viewers speed to surf through a site. A simple way to test the speed at which a server responds is called "pinging" a site. This will determine how quickly a server can receive and send back a small piece of data through the connection you have to it.
Processor speed is also important. Certain sites will make greater demands on the host's CPU and will consequently run slower - and slow down every other site on the server as well. Streaming video and audio, discussion forums and message boards, online surveys, and high-level animation all require huge amounts of memory and fast access to the main server. Overloaded processors can slow down a site's transmission considerably.
Server software can also affect a site. UNIX and Windows NT are the most common server software environments. Advanced developers should be aware of what applications they will be using and assess which software environment will best suit their needs. Some hosting companies only offer one of the two software options.
Protecting a site's data from unwanted intrusions is another key consideration for the web developer when selecting a host. The hosting company's security protocols should be outlined. Protection from everyday denial of service attacks and the various hacks and cracks that will be attempted on your server is essential. The hosting company should be responsible for upgrading and maintaining these security measures. "The only thing worse than having no security is thinking you have some."
Service is another important aspect to consider when shopping for a host. Hosts offer a variety of customer service options. Services offered can be 24-hour toll free number, 24-hour email help, Frequently Asked Questions pages and help forums. The amount of help you might need depends mainly on your experience and problems you encounter from the server.
Checking out the reliability of a service is also very important. Hosts usually have several backup systems in case something goes wrong with the main servers. They also can promise less "down time" by backup power systems such as a diesel generator.
As you search for the best
VPS hosting for your online
business, you should keep in mind one crucial requirement: your hosting company
should provide the same level of service and commitment to quality that you
provide to your own customers.
Bear in mind that the best hosting isn't necessarily the one with costly fees – by comparing packages and features as well as each hosting company's commitment to outstanding customer service, you'll discover quickly that some business hosting services offer affordable hosting that's also exceptional website hosting.
While everyone's business hosting needs vary, there are essentials to insist upon from your potential hosting company.
24 x 7 reliability guaranteed
Reliability must be documented. Check the claims the hosting companies make: do they back them up with facts, figures, and references? Insist upon 99.99% uptime – and make sure the 24/7 availability includes 24/7 customer support.
Plenty of storage capacity and fast data transfer
Does the hosting provider offer sufficient storage capacity for all of your business website needs? Videos, photos, catalog pages, illustrations, email, archives and databases can quickly consume large amounts of storage. Make sure that the hosting company lets you expand your storage capacity quickly and economically: watch out for price "spikes" if your needs grow. Affordable hosting should be reasonably priced at all levels of service, not just the basic or introductory one. Additionally, fast data transfer capability (communication speed) is a 'must-have' for all of your online business needs.
Email addresses dedicated to your business
The best hosting company will understand the value of dedicated email addresses – they identify your business while reinforcing the address of your business website. The Web hosting services you select must include dedicated email addresses with each website hosting package; the larger the package, the more email addresses the business hosting company should provide.
Easy and affordable business website updates and redesigns
Whether you build a website yourself, hire a Web designer or arrange for your business hosting company to design your website, the hosting service should provide rapid turnaround of new designs and updates. You – and your customers – shouldn't have to wait for a hosting provider to place new and timely information on your business website.
Security of the very highest level
Your data must be protected by security tools, which should be provided and constantly monitored and upgraded by your business hosting company. Even if you're not handling financial transactions on your business website, make sure the hosting service you select guarantees the security of your website content, including email.
Easily added extras
Your online business will grow, and your business hosting service should make it easy for you not only to add extra storage capacity but also hosting features that will help increase Web traffic including:
Questionnaires and response forms
Statistics and analytics to track and report on how customers and visitors use your website and each of its Web pages
Advertising and marketing tools and services to help you compete more easily on the web
Upgrades to allow you to add ecommerce, shopping carts and transaction processing with the full range of security tools and certificates to establish and reinforce customer confidence
The best hosting company for you will take all of these features, services and tools as given, and provide them as part of affordable hosting service at every level.
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