Internet Hosting Companies

Choosing the right Internet hosting company

When choosing an Internet hosting company, it is important to research several of them before making a decision. Your customers' impression of your website and their experiences with it will be directly related to your success as a company. The value of a first impression cannot be overestimated.

Ideally, you will shop around, asking preliminary questions that will qualify or disqualify an Internet service provider from your selection list. Consider questions in the following categories as you make initial inquiries:

Pricing Structure: Don't simply look for the lowest price from an Internet hosting company. You need to know how much the prices will grow as you expand your services and customer base.

Ask about a variety of scenarios. For example, a small business owner who knows he will only need a small site to get started should ask about Internet service provider hosting prices for medium-sized websites with a larger number of visitors. Prepare for growth now so that you are not caught off guard by unexpected costs when you go to expand your services.

Technical Support: Critical to success, you'll need an Internet hosting company that can help you resolve problems quickly with the least possible disruption to your site activity. Does the Internet hosting company offer help on a 24/7 basis? If so, is it by phone, fax, email, or live chat? Is the support free or will there be charges involved? Also inquire about consulting. Make sure you know how the Internet service provider defines "consulting" versus "technical help". Technical help may be offered free, while consulting might come with a price tag.

Domain Name Registration: Find out if your desired domain name is available. You'll want to know how much the internet hosting company charges initially and the maintenance charges thereafter. Ask questions regarding the portability of your domain name. Will you be able to take it with you if you change Internet service providers? Are there any related contractual provisions?

Offered Services: Various Internet hosting companies offer a variety of services. Make a list of what you know your website must be able to do and find out if the Internet service provider you are researching can make it happen for you. Examples of services include visitor counts, email forwarding options, real time chat, shopping cart functions, and web statistics. The list goes on. With a predetermined needs list in hand, you won't forget to ask important questions of each of the Internet hosting companies you're researching.



Speed: You need to know how fast your Internet hosting company can provide access to your visitors. As part of your research, you should visit the websites hosted by the Internet service providers you are considering. Vary the times of day you visit, focusing on the times you believe your target audience is most likely to access your site. Find out who their other clients are and how many they have. This will impact your site's performance.

Uptime: An efficient Internet hosting company will not have disrupting downtimes. Ask each of the Internet service providers if it provides an uptime guarantee, or if you will be notified of any impending downtime. Also, ask if it has a related system of reporting and documentation?

In most cases, your website is your only chance to make that first impression. Knowing this, you need to select an Internet hosting provider that will be reliable for both you and your customers. Ask key questions to avoid getting involved with an Internet service provider that will cost you time, money, and possibly your reputation. Once you have a list of Internet hosting providers that are qualified according to your basic needs, contact each of them for a more detailed discussion.

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