Attention Small Business Owners…

Whether You Have A Simple One Page Website or An Online Store With All The Bells and Whistles, Did You Know That Your Webhost Could Make All The Difference Between Success Or Failure On The Internet?

Successful businesses on the internet focus on three essential elements - web domains. web hosting and content. Unfortunately, these three essentials often leave businesses confused as there are dozens of companies offering identical services for different prices. With all the information overflow, it can get mind boggling to figure out the right choice. You need to carefully research your options and be fully informed if you are looking for a smooth path to an internet presence.

Your business goals should dictate your choice of host

The first thing you must do is make a list of what your current goals are. If you are making a professional site, you will need a secure and reliable host. If you expect that your website will reach thousands of people within a few months, find a web hosting package that includes extra bandwidth. The additional space will come in handy if visitors are constantly going to be accessing your website. On the other hand, if you are just experimenting, you should stick to the free hosting packages. Free hosting services certainly provide a basic package, which meet your immediate needs if you aren't serious about the website in the long run. If your business grows you always have the option to switch services and upgrade to paid services.

Once you have made your decision, you need to find a reputable service. You can easily begin your search for hosting companies on Google. However it is important to remember that just because a hosting service is listed on a search engine, doesn't mean it is 100% safe and legitimate. If you do find a potential host, you should get a second opinion. The easiest way to do this is to join a webmaster related forum like SitePoint to get an opinion. This way you can hear about other people's experiences and what companies to avoid. Additional references from friends or family would also be ideal.

Comparing rates with reliability and speed

Hosting companies have a range of prices depending on your needs. Companies offering dedicated servers will be substantially higher than others offering budget hosting with limited bandwidth. Beware of overseas hosts with low prices as there are many other factors to consider. If you plan on using your website in a professional capacity, it is important to move beyond free web hosting. Free hosts are great for small family or fun sites, but are not suited to the needs of small businesses – even those just starting out. Hosting rates should not be a determining factor until you have narrowed a list based on other criteria such as reliability and speed.

The best hosting services will offer uptime of over 99%. This should be a guarantee to motivate the company to keep all servers up all the time. Of course, visitors should also be able to access your site quickly.

Bandwidth requirements grow with your site. Web hosting companies pay for bandwidth, so you will be billed according to your usage. It is far better to pay for the required amount of data transfer upfront rather than get a surprise bill in the mail for having gone considerably over your allotted amount. By the same token, be sure you have an appropriate amount of disk space reserved.

Can you control your website and what support can you expect?

How much control does the hosting company offer webmasters? Imagine having to go through customer service every time to modify a password or to change email addresses, or modify content. Insist that your hosting companies offer a control panel accompanying hosting, so you can make these changes yourself.

It is also very important to be able to reach the hosting company if your website begins experiencing problems. The best hosting support one can hope for is available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. However few companies really offer this service. Always spot check the companies by emailing them at random times to see if they really have someone responding to help queries round the clock.

The pros and cons of dedicated web servers

Most web hosting companies set up accounts or on a shared server. You essentially share the total hard drive and bandwidth allowance with many others. On the contrary, with a dedicated server, yours is the only server, and there are no other websites utilize the same machine. The server is dedicated completely to you and your business.

Advantages of a Dedicated Server

Dedicated servers increase the security of your website tremendously. Since there are no other webmasters using the same workspace, simple mistakes or user errors that might occur due to shared machines are simply no longer existent

As the entire server is dedicated to a single customer, there is tremendously more storage space available for website pages, images, and features.

There is a great deal more bandwidth available for data transfer. Traffic to your site no longer competes with traffic for other websites, reducing bottlenecks and slow server response time.

Having your own server offers additional opportunities for control. Sharing a server indicates that you have only limited control of server features and functions, but with a dedicated server, webmasters have greater control and access to the day-to-day functions of the host.

Dedicated servers also allow more software and script options. The server has greater storage capacity for this information, and there is no need to align coding or features with other users of the same machine.

Disadvantages of a Dedicated Server

The only disadvantage of a dedicated server is the cost. Obtaining an entire server versus a piece of a shared server is definitely more expensive. It is important to consider the fee as related to the total cost of shared server space when determining if a dedicated server is the best hosting option for your business, despite cost. A single credit card safety incident or an exorbitant bill for bandwidth overage should level the playing field almost immediately.

For website beginners, web hosting doesn't have to be difficult or even too time consuming. As long as you find reputable sources, second opinions, and a great easy to use package, you are well on your way to website success. With these instructions in mind, there should be no frustrations or year long debates on what company to use. It is quite simple, once you get in the webmaster's frame of mind.

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