Choosing a Web Host

Author:  Nola Young

Often, I am asked which Internet Service Provider (ISP) I would recommend to host a company’s Web site. The answer is not simple. In fact, it requires careful consideration. When evaluating your current Web host or shopping for a new one you should consider the following:

  • What are the setup costs? (Those hidden costs that never seem to be )
  • What are the monthly charges? Are you required to pay for a year in advance or can you pay on a monthly basis? If you don’t like the service, can you get your money back?
  • How many e-mail accounts are included? What do additional e-mail boxes cost?
  • What kind of account management tools are included? Account management tools allow you to facilitate processes online without having to call the Web host. This includes adding, changing or deleting domain e-mail accounts, changing passwords, forwarding e-mail, e-mail aliasing and creating automatic replies to e-mail It can also include being able to access electronic billing information.
  • How much disk space (MB) is included? What is involved in upgrading to more space if you find that your Web site is growing?
  • How much monthly transfer (GB) is included? If you plan to have a lot of visitors to your site, your account will need to allow for enough data transfer to cover these
  • Does your host provide Web Site Traffic Logs? This can be helpful if you want to know how much traffic you are generating and who is accessing your
  • Does your Web host allow custom CGI access? Web hosts, often, do not allow you to use custom CGI scripts (the scripts typically used for hit counters and mail forms processing), but provide their own versions of scripts. These versions may not suit your needs, or can be very
  • Will the server have the Front Page extensions installed? If you use Microsoft Front Page to develop your site, your site will not perform properly without the Front Page extensions installed. This is something you have to ask for at the time of
  • Does the Web host offer Secure Server access? If you plan to collect information such as credit card information or phone numbers, you will want to ensure your Web hosting plan includes secure Web pages. Don’t forget to ask if there is an additional charge for
  • Is there an upgrade path to e-commerce? If you find out that your Web site is getting a lot of traffic and people want to buy your product on line, you need to know if you can upgrade to an e-commerce hosting
  • Is the support available seven days a week, 24 hours a day? If you plan to work on your Web site at night, you may want to ensure that you can place a call to tech support 24 hours a day and have your call answered without having to wait until the next business

When it comes to your company’s on-line presence, you don’t want to have to worry about your Web site going down. Careful consideration and attention to detail when choosing your Web host will eliminate this problem.

Nola Young is the president of KW Digital Solutions. Send your comments or questions by email or call 519-741-7641.

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