How to choose a great web hosting company!

Web hosting companies are a dime a dozen. You have the one man show working out of his house with his DSL connection and on the other end of the spectrum you have your large corporations that are so big they leave you feeling like a number in a database. How do you decide? If your website is important to you, this article will tell you the right questions to ask your potential web hosting company so that you can have real peace of mind that your web site is running and available to the rest of the world.

There are several important questions that you will want answered before choosing your web host. The first and most important is the history of the company. The web hosting industry is full of fly by nights. Here today gone tomorrow. These companies will rack up several thousand accounts with the goal of selling your account away to a larger company which many times will place you in their huge customer database and change your pricing to their higher priced plans. When I first started out designing web sites this happened to me. I went with a cheap hosting solution and my account was sold. Within two months I was moved to a much higher priced plan and forced to either accept the price change or move my account. So, make sure the company you choose has a solid history and plans on still being around tomorrow.

Secondly, make sure they company has the right type of connection to the internet. Ask you potential web host what type of connection they have to the internet. The minimum connection that you will want to go with is a T1 connection. Anything slower than a T1 connection is probably going to leave you with slow web site syndrome. A slow site means a loss in return visitors and will also cause visitors using dial up connections (Yes they are still out there) to find a different site to get their information or products from.

Ask you potential web hosting company what type of backup system they have in place. The minimum backup system you should expect from a quality web hosting company is a triple raid backup with tape backups nightly, weekly and monthly. A triple raid configuration will mean that the hard drive is simultaneously writing the data to two other hard drives. In the event that one drive fails then your information is safely stored on the other two drives and can be restored by changing around the raid configuration. Well, then why the tape backup? In a raid situation, if the computer ever comes under any type of attack such as viruses or hackers, the tape backup will have the information backed up separately from the machine. This means that while your information is may be erased or inaccessible from the hard drive, it is safely stored on an archival tape and can be quickly restored. A lot of times a web host will charge for having to restore the information from a tape backup, but it is usually a small price to pay for retrieving your lost data.

Find out what type of machine you site will be hosted on? Most people start out by hosting their first site in a shared hosting environment. What this means is that several sites are sharing a common machine. Over time if the sites on this machine get more and more traffic then the sites may all feel the slowdown of the strain on the machine. If your once peppy site seems slower, this could be the cause. Talk to you potential web hosting provider up front and see what their policies and plans are for upgrading their machines and their services as time goes on.

When choosing a web hosting company, also get a full list of the services that are included with your plan. Ask them what options are free and what options are available for additional costs. Another important question to ask them is whether or not there is a cost to upgrade or downgrade to one of their other plans. Some web hosting providers will not disclose everything up front and will hammer you with little fees on the backend. If the web hosting company requires you to sign an agreement for a certain term, make sure that it does not automatically renew at the end of that term. A lot of web hosting companies will want you to sign some type of agreement up front. This is not out of the ordinary. It is so they can recoup some of their up front costs that they wave to keep your initial investment down. Verify with them (Get it in writing) that at the end of your contract that you are only obligated on a month to month basis.

If you are still uncertain about what web host to choose, then read some reviews about what people think of their web host. Search on Google or Yahoo for web hosting company reviews and see what people who have used them have to say. Beware of the reviews that sound too good, they were probably posted by an employee of that company. Go with the majority rules theory and you should be okay. In these reviews look for peoples opinions on the support and professionalism of the company. Also look for comments on their response time for support issues.

These tips should help you out and make your web hosting experience a better one. Keep in mind that this is one of the single most important decisions that you will make regarding your web site. It really can mean the difference between your site being a success or a failure.

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