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Finding that Host that Offers the Most





Finding that Host that Offers the Most   by Merle


Whether you already have a website or are thinking of setting up
shop online, sooner or later you'll have to deal with the issue
of web hosting. Although it may seem like a "no brainer," there
are actually many factors you'll need to consider before making
this important decision. Your first inclination may be to look
only at the cost, thinking "cheaper is better." However, that
old saying "you get what you pay for,"is especially true in this
situation. Here are some of the more important points you'll
want to look at when considering your next host.

UNIX/ NT/ The two most popular hosting platforms to choose from
are UNIX and NT. UNIX is by far the favorite, as it was the only
choice way back in the early days of the Internet. It is easy to
configure, great for setting your own file permissions and the
platform for most of the free scripts available for download.
It is flexible, reliable and supports scripting languages like
Perl and PHP3.

NT is Microsoft's baby. One problem that I have found with NT
servers is a lack of readily available scripts that work on this
platform. Also, (unlike UNIX) many NT users need assistance from
their Web Host Administrators to set file permissions. NT
supports MS applications such as ASP, Access, FP and scripting
languages such as Perl, Cold Fusion and ASP.

TECH SUPPORT/ When you need help you'll want to make sure you
can get it. Some web hosts offer phone support or even live
chat. Make sure they have good tech support in place as there's
nothing more annoying than needing assistance with your site
and not being able to get it.

SET UP FEE/ MONTHLY FEE/ Some hosts charge an initial set up
fee to get your site set up and running on their server. Make
sure you check on this when comparing prices. I've seen monthly
fees ranging from 9.99 to 39.99, depending on the plan and
services offered. My advice to you would be to look past the
cheapest and most expensive ends of the scale and go with a
mid-range pricing plan to be on the safe side. You should be
able to pick up a reliable web host for 20 to 25.00 per month.

HARD DRIVE/ SPACE/ How much space they're willing to give
you is important if you're going to compare apples to apples.
You need to keep in mind the size of your site when deciding
how much space you really need. Generally, 20 to 30 MB is
plenty for a small site. You might want to ask if you can
pay for more space should your site ever outgrow its present
state.

FTP ACCESS/ TELNET ACCESS/ Even if you plan on using Frontpage
to manage your site, you'll still need to have FTP access.
It is usually standard, but it never hurts to ask. Make sure
you keep your user name and password in a safe place. You'll use
FTP to set file permissions and to upload your files to the
web server.

Telnet can be very useful for troubleshooting CGI scripts and
changing server configurations. There are some servers that
will not grant telnet access.

CGI-BIN/ A very important component if you're planning
on adding any sort of interactivity to your site like forms,
shopping carts, etc. Usually comes as standard equipment, but
I've seen some of the cheaper hosts leave it out entirely.

EMAIL BOXES & POP 3 ALIASES/ One thing that's very important to
me is the ability to use different aliases with my domain name.
For example, if your domain is ezineadauction.com, you may want
to set up separate addresses to sort your mail like
service@ezineadauction.com or support@ezineadauction.com. They
may all funnel into the same mailbox, but you can set up filters
at your end, making customer service a whole lot easier.

If you have a "wildcard" account, you can set up as many aliases
as you like. If you have other employees who will need their
own private box, check with the web host to see how many boxes
they will allow.

STATS/ Once you start getting traffic, you'll want to know where
it's coming from and what pages of your site are being visited.
Some web hosts will throw stats tracking in with their standard
package or at least give you access to your log files, which you
can then use with third party software to run reports on the
traffic your site is receiving.

MISCELLANEOUS THOUGHTS/:

1) If you want to use Frontpage: Do they have the FP server
extensions installed?

2) Do they offer autoresponders?

3) How about a secured server option for payment transactions?

4) Do they back up all websites in case of disaster?

5) Do they offer assistance in programming or design work if
needed at an hourly rate?

6) Do they offer shopping cart software if you're going to
be selling products?

7) Do any customized forms come standard with your account,
like feedback or order forms?

8) Bandwidth- Be aware that bandwidth is how much data can be
transferred in a month's time. This shouldn't be a concern
unless you're getting a ton of traffic, but be aware that most
hosts do have limitations on what they'll allow.

As you can see, there are many factors to take into account when
choosing a web host. Your host is essentially the spine of your
site,so you want to make sure that the one you choose is reliable
and solid. Nothing can ruin a site faster than an unreliable
host. I know; been there, done that.

If you'd like a list of possible hosts take a look at
http://www.WebIspList.com. For a comparison of hosts pop over to
http://www.HostCompare.com or to search for a host by the
features you need go to http://www.HostSearch.com

Remember, choosing a good host is essential to the success and
reliability of your online business. Do your homework and choose
the one that's right for you.

About Author Merle :

Merle http://www.EzineAdAuction.com"Where some of the BEST Deals in Ezine Advertising are Made"Buy & Sell Ezine Ads in a live auction setting!Publishers sell off your excess inventory and Buyerspick up some Fantastic bargains. Go now.


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