Step-By-Step Guide on Web Hosting
Unbiased Step-By-Step Guide on Web Hosting
No more speeches about importance of your own domain, no more talks
about necessity of having paid hosting. If you think your brand
domain name and stable hosting with a number of features and absence
of ads are not worth, at least, $50-$150 per year, then you probably
want to play games, rather than build online business.
Choosing hosting provider is something similar to choosing the
place of your off-line office. Despite the fact that it is as easy
to enter the URL and go to web-site that is physically located in
Sidney as in Oslo, the final role here plays the speed of connection
and stability of the hosting itself.
The problem with hosting comes down to the old statute of running
ebusiness - that is RESEARCH before ACT! The easiest thing to do
online is to pay money, the hardest is to THINK OVER what I'm paying
for! That statement is true with hosting also because you can pay,
let's say, $35 monthly for some particular hosting service, without
notice that in two mouse clicks there is a hosting offer providing
two times better services for $15 per month only, so you will keep
on losing services as well as $20 monthly that accumulates up to
$240 annually losses as a Fee for not doing hosting research! Besides
you should keep your eyes open for very good discounted offers that
could save you 30-50% for the first year of payments.
Phase I - Determining NEEDS
1. Estimate your ebusiness basic requirements: total web-space
needed, monthly bandwidth (approximate traffic volume multiplied
by the most visited web-pages' total size) and ability to run CGI
scripts as a must for every ebusiness.
If it is content rich web-site, example of your first year of hosting
may look like this:
* 30-50Mb of disc space; * 500Mb-1Gb of monthly bandwidth; * cgi-bin
to be able to run your own scripts an offer additional services;
If it is sales web-site, your first year of hosting should be something
similar to these requirements:
* 50-300Mb of disc space depending on how much info products you
are going to sell and therefore upload on your server; * 1-3Gb of
monthly bandwidth; * cgi-bin to be able to run your own scripts
an offer additional services;
In particular case with one-two ebooks and three-four pages sales
web-site, 10Mb of storage space with 500Mb of monthly bandwidth,
in general, is more than enough, if you are not going to expand
it, so look closely and examine your potential but remember: you
ALWAYS have a chance to expand, but you will NOT be able to get
your money back if you overpay for services or web-space you don't
need. That is called efficient ebusiness running.
2. Determine additional services that are necessary or preferably
to have. Consider among them the following:
* Email aliases * URL Redirects * Web Mail * FTP access/ FTP Accounts
* Web control panel * Graphic statistics * Custom error pages *
POP3 Accounts * Sub-domains * Autoresponders * Mailing List(s) *
Password protected directories * MYSQL database(s) * Perl * PHP
* marketing info & support * promotional help (SE submissions,
free banner impressions) * shopping cart * chat * forum
3. Plan your hosting expenses beforehand. Usually the amount you
pay depends on the amount of services you choose, but not always
as there are hosting providers, which offer identical services for
totally different money. The saying that "You get what you
paid for" is not necessarily true, especially what concerns
high profit margins internet business. Although hosting service
is not pure online as it involves some physical computer systems
to be installed, nevertheless paying more for less is extremely
possible. In other words, know your budget.
Phase II. Selecting the ONLY ONE!
1. Those who start looking for proper place or business web-site
should have one or several possible hosts in view that you knew
or met positive feedback about. For now just make a note of them
and put aside, we will come back for them in the step 3.
2. Now it is time to search among hundreds of offers. Accomplish
your search by filling online forms at:
http://www.google.com http://www.hostcompare.com http://www.findmyhosting.com
Click on advanced/enhanced search option if available, input all
your approximate criteria that we determined at the first phase
and here we go! Tens if not hundreds of wannabe your host providers
at your computer screen in less than a minute.
3. Narrow your search by selecting first ten (or more if you have
the will and spare time) results on every search site page(s). Now
you should have 50 (or more) host providers and 2-5 hosting companies
you heard and knew about before.
In the next step we will start to compare all of them in order
to choose the one that deserves your hard-earned money. This task
is being accomplished by simple viewing and testing each of the
host providers' web-site. How to test and what things to pay close
attention to are explained below, but first eliminate all duplicate
hosts if there are any.
4. Knowing your potential market will help you to differentiate
some of the host providers by selecting those who are physically
located closer to your market. If your auditory is mainly English
speaking people then you should think about choosing servers that
are located in US. If you are a German restaurant owner running
web-site for local market it is not critical, but preferable to
put your web-site to web servers that are located in Germany, not
in US. I have mentioned web servers instead of hosting providers
on purpose, because the hosting provider itself may be located and
registered in one place, but having their servers co-located in
other city or country, like my own provider situated in Moscow,
but the web-site they host, physically co-located at their US servers.
If you provide universal services (like web-design) and shoot for
the global markets offering multilanguage site, then physical location
of host provider is subsidiary.
5. We start from removing absolute "losers". The first
criterion they won't pass is the look of their web-site. Is it professional
or there are amateurish colors with 3 or more banners? If you think
the price of their site design is not even worth $100 you may close
their site and forget about them. By doing so, you distinguish profitable
host providers from those that don't even have $300-1000 to invest
in the professional look of their web-site. You may not even read
what they wrote on their sites as their appearances tell ten times
more about their businesses than no words can.
6. Check technical specifications of the hosting servers that are
being offered for your shared hosting. Needless to say that Pentium
III 450 Mhz with 1 Gb of RAM, for instance, is worse than Pentium
IV 2.2 Ghz with 4 Gb of RAM. Outer channels bandwidth and speed
can also give you the image of how established the host provider
is. You may not need to know all specifications of routers, connectors
or other devices, just ask for specific numbers that are easy to
compare. That analysis will also tell what hosts are worth further
testing and what aren't.
7. We also need to reassure that our web-site as well as all possible
databases won't be vanished due to power supply overload, virus,
fire etc. It is important to check what kind of maintenance conditions
they offer. - Do they provide at least 99,5% uptime guarantee? -
What kind of independent power supply they offer? - Is there automatic
back up option? - Do they have fire and humidity control systems?
Some host providers wouldn't even bother to tell you about these
control systems. You know what to do with them - they go off the
8. Next stage is to send them a prewritten email asking for some
question. It may be some purposeful inquiry or imaginary one just
for testing task. Those who failed to response in 24 hours are off
the list also. Remember, that email, due to the "unstable nature"
of the internet, may not be even delivered, so write for the second
time, if no response again, than they aren't worth the ink to spend
on them by crossing their web-site address out of the list :0) Just
carefully tear them out :0)
9. The last test that we run is to check the connection speed of
the remaining hosts. You should know how fast the response of your
web-site will be.
Two online services would help us in fulfilling this task, namely:
this one will check a particular server within 8 hours and email
you the report. * http://www.webhostdir.com/toolkit/comparehosts.asp
allows to compare 4 hosts simultaneously by entering 4 domain names
of respective web-sites.
I would suggest testing each host twice. First time to check the
response rate of their corporate web-sites, and second time by comparing
speed of their clients' web-site as there may be a big difference.
Just make sure clients are using approximately the same shared hosting
That is all. By now you should have several options: your gold,
silver and bronze hosting winners. You can go ahead in setting up
your web-site with anyone you prefer more. Don't lose the rest though,
as they may prove to be useful in case some collision occurs with
your present "winner". Last thing. When your web-site
is online, don't just forget to create additional page for providing
your new service - expert analysis of selecting web-hosting. :0)
About the Author
Pavel Lenshin is a publisher
of NET Business Magazine, professional web-developer and CEO of:
- http://ASBONE.com/ - informational portal and provider of discounted
internet services for entrepreneurs, including internet access,
web-design and hosting; - http://InfoAlchemist.com/
- a must-have business library.