Saturday, January 17, 2009

Choosing a good Web Host

There are several factors involved in this decision. What kind of traffic do you believe you are going to generate? What features do you need for your website to be a success.

If you simply wish to provide a place to share your pictures, or information, or daily journal entries and don't want the overhead 'free' services like Flickr, Facebook, and Live Journal offer, then a 'standard' account on many providers will do just fine.

If, however you want a website for a buisness, there are a ton of things you must be wary of. What is the monthly badwidth (the amount of traffic to AND from your site), how much storage is available, what features does the host support (ASP, .NET, PHP, MySQL, SQL Server...). Alternately if you intend on having enough traffic, and enough data consumption will your provider allow you to co-locate (they house your hardware for you, and you simply pay a bandwitdth fee).

Then comes the what's allowed questions. If your content is deemed 'inappropriate' by the provider they (typically) will disable your account and not refund your fees, typically continuing to charge you for a site that you no longer can access.

Take the time to ask your potential provider, think of it like buying a car. Kick the tires a bit, read through the policies of the site. Make sure their philosophy of 'appropriate' synchs up with yours, and if they are vague about something ASK. Ultimately just get a 'feel' for the people you are talking to if you get a creepy feeling and need to shower after talking to them, look some more there are more hosting companies out there than you can possibly imagine, the right fit for you is there, but this is a long term commitment and should be entered into with that frame of mind. Your success ultimately is dictated by your tools, your provider is one of your most critical tools.