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  • Finding a webhost guide

    A guide to help you find the web host that's right for you.

    So, now that you’ve got out of bed and decided to look for a web host you find yourself in a rather uncomfortable situation. There are 923,422,194 web hosts to choose from (I made that number up). At this point you can either start losing your hair, or if you continue reading this guide you will choose the ONE web host that’s right for you without any headaches. You may want to get some potato chips or peanuts because this may be somewhat of a long read, trust me, it’s worth it, by the time I’m done with you, you’ll be telling all your friends how to find the right web host for them.

    You’ve probably heard this one at some point in your life, but I cannot stress this enough, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. This statement is especially true when it comes to web hosting, many companies will try to appeal to you with ridiculously low prices and tons of space and bandwidth (I’ll explain what that is later on). Let’s think logically for a few minutes, if you have an apple and want to share it with your friends, you’ll cut it into smaller pieces. Now let’s say you want to share your one apple with 200 of your friends, they’ll be stuck with small pieces and call you cheap. Here’s how this relates to the hosting industry, when you’re paying $2 for 200 GB bandwidth and 20 GB of space the company has to put a huge amount of people on one server to break even, so what happens is that the server becomes overloaded, and as punishment for falling for a scam like this your site may be very slow, or have lots of downtime.

    The next thing that you may want to look at when searching for your hosting company is the location of their servers. First think of your website and what kind of visitors you’re expecting and where they will be coming from. You probably won’t want a web host with servers in China if you’re located in Texas and most of your website visitors are located in the United States. What’s going to happen is that you and your visitors will experience slow site loads because of the distance between them and the web host. Although the location of the web host is not THE most important thing, this will help you eliminate some companies.

    The next thing you want to eliminate is ‘slow’ web hosts. ‘Slow’ is a relative term and once again depends on your location, and your ISP. I would ask a few friends of mine to help me out with this one, the first thing you may want to do is browse around the potential web host’s website and see how quick the pages load, this will give you an impression of how quick the host is. One thing I know is that most hosts will not host their website on the same server as their customers, so try to find a couple of sites that the potential web host is hosting and browse them, see how fast the pages load, see if there are any file downloads and check the speeds you get. Next you may want to check pings and trace routes; basically this will show you the health of the network of your potential web host. Follow the steps I mentioned to check the pings and trace routes.

    People with Windows should click Start , and then run . In the dialog box enter CMD then press enter. You will get a window called a DOS prompt in which you will type (without the quotes of course) ‘ping webhost.com’ (replace webhost.com with the address of the web host). You will get 4 lines saying: Reply from xx.xx.xx.xx bytes = 32 time= XXms TTL=xxx. Your concern should be the time= XXms, rule of thumb for this number is the lower the better, anything under 150 is great, above 150 I’d be a little weary of choosing that company as a web host.

    A trace route tells you how many computers you have to go through to get to your web host, once again, the lower the amount of hops (computers) the better. Follow the same steps as above to get into the DOS prompt except now type ‘tracert webhost.com’ (replace webhost.com with the actual address of the web hosting company). Basically here you’re looking for the amount of hops and the time it takes for each hop, as with the pings, the lower the number the better.

    So now that you’ve eliminated the cheaters, those that are far away from you, and the slow web hosts you have to eliminate those that lack in features. You need to find a host that you are comfortable with, if you’re just starting out then you need a web host with an easy to use control panel, almost every host has a demo of the control panel they use, make sure to check it out and are comfortable using it, if you’re not, eliminate that web host. After checking out the control panel you may want to look at the stuff that you get with your account. Some examples are SQL databases, free scripts, forums, shopping carts. It’s safe to eliminate a host that doesn’t give you a single MySQL database for free. Free scripts such as forums and shopping carts are great, when you’re up to this point and have several companies to choose from, select the one that gives you a better value i.e. more scripts, disk space.

    You’re almost done finding the ONE web host that suits you. You have by this point eliminated many web hosts and are probably left with about 3 to 5 (hopefully). Now is a good time to check how well their support functions, and what other customers are saying about this web host. The first place to check is the companies forums (if they have them, my company doesn’t). Take a look at what the customers are asking, and look at the responses staff are giving, there may be some complaints on the forums as well.

    The next place to check is a site like TalkWebHosts , WebHostingTalk , or httpTalk , these sites are a bridge between web hosting companies, their clients, and their potential clients. You can find out almost anything about a company by visiting such forums, some important things to look for are the complaints, and the reviews. The reviews will usually mention how fast the support turnaround is; some companies may offer 24/7 support however, they may not deliver. Complaints often include things such as “Company XYZ is always down, my website only works an hour a day”. If a company only has a few complaints but many good reviews then it’s probably safe to sign up with them.

    At this point you probably eliminated another company or two and you’re almost ready to purchase, now is a good time to look at the terms of service of the company, any refund policies, and guarantees. Some companies may sell your information, or even have the right to your first born but without reading the TOS you won’t know. Next take a look at the refund policy if the company has one. Some companies offer 15 Refunds, 30, 60, 91. The next thing to look at is an uptime guarantee; most will advertise some number between 99% and 100% (like 99.88889%) (yes I’ve seen such a number before). One thing to keep in mind is that some companies may just refund you for the downtime, and some may refund the whole month, so take a look into that, this should allow you to eliminate another company.

    With about two companies left now you should think of how well the host can grow with you, if they give you room to expand, or give you ways to make some money. If you can’t grow with the host then more than likely you’ll have to look for another one sooner or later (hopefully using my guide again).

    After all this eliminating is done you are now left with your one ideal host, (if less than one, go a few steps back; if more than one, start at the beginning of the guide). It’s now safe to fill out the order form. Although this step is optional but recommended, make a post on one of the forums giving your first impression of the company, and let everyone know that you used this guide to find your one ideal web host.

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  • #2
    That is a very nice written and clean article. What webhost do you currently use? Have you ever heard or or used microsonic.org?
    Peter J. Foti

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    • #3
      It was nice article thanks for sharing with us
      http://www.ideastackhosting.com
      http://www.ideastackhosting.com/vps.html

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