Business
Choose a host that matches your home business needs

Choose a host that matches your home business needs

With a plethora of hosting companies offering services, choosing a good web host seems like a daunting task. Technical jargon is hard to crack and that makes it even harder. It is better to prepare beforehand and then look for offers instead of acting otherwise.

What is web hosting? If you compare the web to the earth, hosting is where your office or website will be located. The server is the computer that stores your website files and allows you to view them when you click on the link to your site.

Since free hosting is out of the question for businesses and dedicated hosting is too expensive, shared hosting is the only good option for home businesses. As the name suggests, in shared hosting, your site is stored with many others, unlike dedicated hosting, which stores only your site.

Now let’s talk about other features:

oDisk space or server:

This is the space on your server’s hard drive that will be allocated to your site. Without graphics, a typical web page is between 40 and 50 Kb. Now 1000 kb = 1 MB. Allowing room for graphics as well and the need for any future expansion between 50-100MB should be enough if you’re not running a flashy website. Many companies offer space up to 1 GB (1000 MB), but if you don’t need it, don’t fall for the offer.

oBandwidth:

A very important and often overlooked aspect. This is the actual amount of data that can be transferred from the web server that hosts your website. It is directly related to the number of visitors to your site. If you have 10,000 visitors per month with few downloads, you will need 5-6 GB per month. More downloads means higher requirement. As your business grows, you’ll need more. To start with, 10 GB should be enough. That leaves you with some extra leeway.

oEmail aliases:

This allows you to formulate an email address to your site address, for example, [email protected] where anything can be support, live support, help, info, subscription, etc. Anything! This makes your business look professional. Look around for your needs, but anything around 10 is good enough. Many companies also offer unlimited aliases.

oNote these too:

If you plan to accept payment from you, you must have access to SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encryption. If you want your site to be interactive, you will need to install cgi (Common Gateway Interface). So it’s better to look for a host that supplies you with your own cgi wrapper.

If you want to build your site in Microsoft FrontPage, check to see if your host provides the FrontPage extension. If you plan to run a site with a database, MySQL should be a desired feature.

Your host must also provide you with free access to their server. You must have free access to the log files and statistics of the traffic your site receives. If your host offers a referral program, that’s better.

or Customer Service:

This is very important for your business. You will need this help every time you have problems. If your host is not supportive or fast enough, it could mean a loss for your business. Make sure that you are provided with good and meaningful support. Send them a question or two. Study the answer. Find out if they are available by phone in case you are in an emergency situation.

Make sure this service is free and they don’t charge you anything in the name of customer support.

Finally, you will have to find what matches the needs of your business. Shop around before you settle for a deal. Narrow your choice down to a few potential hosts. Look up your reputation. Ask them for examples of hosted sites.

Check with your existing customers and find out how satisfied they are. Most good commercial hosts are available between $15 and $50 with a few differences that could be important to the individual.

You can start small and upgrade later, as long as your host gives you this option. Select the one that allows you to expand if the need arises.

Just two words before you go. “Select carefully”

Copyright © 2005 Arun Pal Singh

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