Since the quality and reliability of the hosting company you choose can make or break your eBusiness, it is important to find a hosting company that is rock solid. Your site must load quickly. Statistics show that the average Web Surfer will only wait about 20 seconds before they click away to another site. If your web host’s load time and connectivity are not fast and reliable, your competition is only a click away. Another important factor is Support. With so many unqualified web hosting resellers out there, if your site goes down there may be no one to call on to fix the problem.
Some people think that the only solution for them is to buy their own server and administer it themselves. Unless you are a Network Guru I suggest you leave it to a professional. You would not think of operating on yourself if you needed surgery…would you? There are a lot of overlooked costs involved with running your own server like site security, data back up, power back up, redundancy, upgrades and transaction tracking that are so critical to eCommerce. Furthermore there is the question of connectivity. You will need your server to maintain a constant connection with the Internet, and also handle the needs of the outside user. Most desktop PCs cannot handle such a load, and many home DSL and cable modem ISPs often prohibit hosting or any other high bandwidth activities. Running your own server also happens to be a very time consuming task. If all of your time is spent babysitting your server there is little time to grow your business, which was your main focus to begin with.
This is where a web host comes in. A web hosting company will handle all of this for you, at a fraction of what it would cost you do it on your own. Another fear of most people it turning over control of their business to a third party. This fear causes them to overlook the security and benefits a hosting company can provide. You are not outsourcing your business, you are merely outsourcing its security in the same way a brick and mortar store hires a security company. By allowing a hosting company to do this for you it allows you to focus on what’s important: building your business.
Another important factor is a web host can assist you in registering your own domain, www.yourcompany.com. If you went with a free hosting provider like Tripod, you may end up with a URL like http://yourusername.tripod.com. This can be quite confusing to your visitors. Think about how much easier it is to remember www.yourcompany.com than http://yourusername.tripod.com making it much easier to generate higher volumes of traffic. It is a win win situation.
So how do you choose the right hosting company from the hundreds that are available? It will require some shopping on your part to find the services you need to properly maintain and grow your eBusiness.
When shopping for a web host, reliability and support are key. The longer it takes a potential customer to access the content on your site, the higher the risk of that customer clicking away. Connectivity time can fluctuate, but you want to insist on at a 95% connectivity rate. Also if your site happens to go down you want to be assured that there is someone that can find a quick solution. Aside from that, there are a few more issues to consider before making a final decision:
It is obvious that everyone’s goal in business is to grow. As your company grows you want to be sure that the hosting company you choose will allow for this growth. Your site may require server side scripts for large amount of content, eCommerce and database support and higher bandwidth to accommodate interactive media like flash demonstrations or streaming audio and video. You will also need to research what web languages the host’s server can handle. Speak to your Web Designers to find out what languages they program in. If for example they program in ASP to create a shopping cart for your site, you will not want a host that only offers UNIX servers. ASP will only run properly on Windows servers.
Know what you need
Now that you have done some shopping for the “Perfect” host, it is time to see exactly what your company needs to do business on the Net. The most basic level of service from a Web host typically positions your site among a number of others on a single server, with a virtual domain name that points to the URL of your page. This is known as shared hosting, and is adequate for the simple variety of site on the Net. As your company grows you will need to move away from simple static HTML pages and possibly into something more dynamic. Since this requires more bandwidth, you should probably move to a machine with more resources, and fewer sites vying for them like a dedicated server. The host owns, maintains, and backs up the server while providing all the security, power management, and other aspects of maintaining a data center. The highest level of service a Web host can offer is a co-located server. You own the hardware, but it’s physically located at the host’s facility. This arrangement allows you to choose the amount of bandwidth you site will require, while the host provides a clear pipe to the Internet. The only drawback to this is that the security of the machine is in your hands, which means you’ll have to pay for any and all security and firewall provisions, as you won’t be protected by the host’s firewall.
You web presence is only as good as your host
The reliability of your site is directly affected by the quality of service provided by your host. If your host oversells their service and places your site on an overburdened server the result is slow load times sending your visitors elsewhere. Furthermore, a long update-to-live lag time can be disastrous. If your site has a highly fluctuating inventory, or you have set up time sensitive promotions, and your host’s cache (cache is essentially a snap shot of your site’s content that is used by some hosts to lower system resources) is too long you could have some angry customers to deal with.
Demand prompt service and performance
The popularity of your site will be directly affected by your host’s level of service. Slow load times due to an overburdened server will send your customers elsewhere. Furthermore, a long update-to-live lag time can be disastrous – especially if you have a large, constantly fluctuating inventory. For example, you may want to set up a special page for a new promotion, linked to the very expensive marketing campaign that your business is involved in. A few quick HTML entries are all that’s required, but if you have to wait days for your host’s IT staff to do the job, you could lose your marketing momentum and render the initiative useless. No matter how renowned your host is, technical problems will occur. As such, demand 24-hour, 7-days-a-week technical support for all your applications. Be sure you check the validity of that statement. Call your host at 3:00 am on a Sunday, if no one answers it is time to find a new host.
Summing it all up
Now that you have learned the essentials of the hosting industry, take this knowledge and make a truly educated decision. Take the time to create an outline of your hosting needs along with a list of hosts you have already researched. Weigh out the pros and cons of each company, and you are on your way. Visit Web Hosting Hunter today!