Domainmonster.com Domain Editorials
Selecting a Host
If youíve looked into finding web hosting at all, youíll have realised that there is a vast and confusing array of hosting companies available, offering different features and packages at a broad range of prices. Choosing the package thatís right for you can seem daunting, so here are a few factors to consider which might simplify the process.
Bandwidth and Storage
Small and medium-sized sites wonít require more than about 30MB of storage space and 2GB of bandwidth. However, if your site is very graphics-heavy or features video- or music-streaming, you will need a larger bandwidth allowance. Make sure that you can upgrade your bandwidth and storage later at a reasonable price, should you find that you need to.
If youíre planning on using e-commerce features, find out how much these are going to cost you; shopping carts and credit card processing can be very expensive, but other hosting companies will offer them for free with certain packages. Pre-installed scripts such as page counters, and Secure Socket Layer (SSL), should all be included for free. Also find out if you can get browser email and a browser-based control panel, as this will give you greater flexibility in collecting mail and managing your site.
Customer Service and Technical Support
You should be offered 24/7 support, ideally with a phone number for emergencies. Look elsewhere if you feel the standard of customer service is not going to be high. This is not an issue worth compromising on.
Most hosts claim 99.9% uptime, but ask some of their clients for references and check out their reputation online, using a hosting directory or forum.
Prices and Guarantees
Prices vary very widely, so make sure youíre getting a competitive price, and know exactly what youíre paying for and what you will receive for your money. Many cheap-sounding offers have hidden costs and charges, and you need to consider setup fees, monthly fees, discounts, and optional extras. Read the fine print. Also note that cheap hosting companies often fall down on customer service and reliability. To a certain extent, you get what you pay for. See if thereís a satisfaction money-back guarantee, and check how long it lasts; a week is not long enough to assess whether a hosting company is right for you.