Website hosting - choosing the host for your Internet web presence

 Hosting Your Website

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Marketing >> Website Development >> Website Hosting

Hosting A Website

 

Site hosting is one of the most overlooked aspects of developing your site.  It will do you no good to go through the cost and bother of putting together a website if the host does not perform its job properly.  

Hosting a site is a lot more demanding than what it used to be.  

Several mistakes that people make in choosing a host:

1)  Working with a host that is also your site developer - You can get a great deal this way and this may be the way that your developer prefers to work.  In most cases, you are probably okay, but when things go wrong, they can REALLY go wrong:

a.  Some developers work with outside hosts while others may host the site themselves on their own web servers.  Unless your developer is a pretty big deal, this usually means that your site is being hosted in a very unreliable fashion.  

Hosting a website isnít terribly hard as long as things are going right.  But when the power goes out, the server fails, or if the facility is broken into and the servers are stolen, your site is down.  Many hosts will claim a 99% uptime ratio which sounds pretty good until you do the math and realize that means they can be down over 7 hours per month and still keep their agreement with you.  

Seven hours may not seem like a long time, but that opens up a very big potential that search engines wonít find your site active.  If that happens several times in a row, you are likely to be removed from their index.

b.  If your site developer goes out of business or itís a one person operation and something happens to him, what happens to your site.  The only copies of your website are in his possession and he is not available.

c.  Though it should not happen this way and there are legal recourses, what happens if you and your web developer have a falling out.  This happens more than you would think.  Again, he owns all copies of your site, and even if you have a copy of your site, it can take days or longer to get set up with a new host.  It can take longer if you donít even know that your site is down.  

Most people do not check their own site daily or even weekly.  If several months go by with your site down, you are effectively going to have to start from scratch with search engines.

2)  Choosing a hosting/development package - Some hosts like to tie people into high dollar hosting packages by coupling the design with the hosting fee.  No charges are due for the development, but you will find yourself paying $50 per month to have the site hosted when you can do it elsewhere for $100 per year.  

This attracts many people that are on short monthly budgets as they donít have to come up with a design fee.  But after about a year or so, this is when the host really starts to make their money and they keep on making it forever.  

One of the trickiest parts of these contracts comes when your contract is up and you want to move your site elsewhere.  In many of these cases, the website owner finds that he does NOT own the website.  

Always review contracts carefully.  If it says that the developer retains the right to his code, you arenít taking your site anywhere else.  You are stuck between staying with him at his high monthly fees and starting from scratch with a new developer and a new site.

3)  Choosing a host simply on the basis of price - There is a lot more to choosing a host than simply how much it will cost you.  Consider the following when choosing a host:

a.  What do they guarantee for uptime?  Your site has to be live or itís useless.  When your site is not available, customers not only wonít find you, they may assume that you are out of business.   When your site is down, search engines cannot find you either and they too may assume you are out of business.

b.  How much space do they give you?  Not just space, but space for your files.  Most hosts tell you in terms of how much data you can upload, but a few will automatically reduce that by the amount of space for their files that are necessary to run your site.  This is not a problem for most websites but if your site is large, it could be a consideration.

c.  Tape backups Ė Does the host regularly do back ups.  Servers can fail or be attacked by an outside party.  If the server does fail, tape backups mean that they can quickly move your site to another server.  If there is no backup, this means that you will have to have your site uploaded again.

d.  Most important of all is the ability for you to contact your host via phone.  Most reputable hosts are happy to provide this information on their website.  If their phone number is not listed, the only way for you to contact them is via their website, which can often mean that your request goes into a queue and they will see it when they see it.

e.  Relatively close to that above is the ability to contact them 24 hours per day.  Hosts that only keep regular business hours may not give you any kind of support if your site goes down in the evening.

 

Marketing >> Website Development >> Website Hosting

 

 

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