How to Choose a Hosting Provider

Everyone looking to get quality web hosting will quickly notice that it is somewhat of a jungle out there. The web hosting market is literally crammed with different web hosting providers promising this and that. As it is extremely important for you get along with your provider it is crucial that you do some research before settling upon one. Finding out what features and services are included is pretty easy but what about the more techy stuff?

A Couple of Think-About’s

For some strange reason several hosting providers are not willing to present information about themselves and their hosting server details. Knowing if a provider is good just by reading the testimonials on their site is almost impossible to do as they will obviously only publish positive comments. In all honesty most of the published comments are nothing but fakes, making them even more useless in terms of understanding the hosting providers’ quality. There are however a few things that you should most certainly need to try and find out. First of all, what is their uptime? There is an industry standard of a 99.9 % uptime guarantee which you should get for paid hosting. If a web host can’t live up to this guarantee then you have no other options than to look elsewhere for your hosting. A tip which could help you out is visiting Pingdom as they offer great website uptime monitoring. Another good monitoring tool is the one being offered at the host-tracker.com website. Through it you will receive error notifications via anything from email to ICQ and via SMS to your cell-phone. Sign up for a 30 days free trial and if you like it you can take a look at their price-list for the different packages. A third monitor tool that is worth mentioning comes from mon.itor.us. It is a similar tool with which you will be able to diagnose and prevent any issues to deliver a superior web experience.

php-web-hosting
Of course, it is also important to make sure that your web host, and its hosting plans, fully support PHP 5 or above. Ever since the first version of PHP 5 was presented it has been installed on millions of websites, making it one of the most popular scripting languages around. Make sure that your future provider offers quality PHP hosting, enabling you to work smoothly in this environment. This type of hosting does not have to cost a fortune – browse and compare the fees of the different hosting providers on the market to find the best fit.

hosting-provider

Other things that are important to check up in advance, regarding the web server, are the server operating system (e.g. running on Windows or Linux platforms), storage size, speed, performance and manageability. There are a couple of good tools that you can take advantage of in order to control page loading speed. If you are using Firefox as the standard browser you should take a look at for example Firebug. Firebug is integrated with Firefox which means that you will be able to edit, debug and monitor CSS HTML and Javascript live, while you are browsing. The tools open in a separate window or as a bar at the bottom making it easy to monitor, inspect, edit and tweak everything to perfection. If you on the other hand are using Safari you will have to take advantage of tools optimized for this browser as Firebug will do you no good. One plugin that we have been using lately is the Safari Page Monitor. Download it for free and start detecting changes through a session log file. The operating system that you will use on your server will play a key role since the requirements will differ from one user to another. Storage is especially important if you plan to have an eCommerce website as you will have to store a lot of information; such as user info and transaction histories. Speed and performance is of the essence since your web server has to be able to keep up with the traffic coming to your site. If this does not work properly you can be sure to wave your visitors goodbye. Manageability is of course a headache for many of us – how easy will the machine be to work with and get access to? Once you got these questions answered you can start selecting your web hosting provider by keeping in mind to ask their support for details on their plans.

This article is a guest post written by Chris Reynolds from webhostingsearch.com. Chris has been reading viralpatel.net from a while and is avid fan and contributor. viralpatel.net welcomes your tips and guest articles.

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3 Comments

  1. W Patterson says:

    One of the best ways to see which hosting providers are rubbish is by checking out the dirt dissatisfied customers have leaked about them Unfortunately this information is not very marketable and as a result relatively invisible a sneaky way of collecting some this dirt is to sign up for free the hosting studies page optimiser run to publish there top web hosting company\\\’s http://www.pageoptimiser.com/Hosting_Providers.htm they will provide you a schedule on stats and graphs depicting and comparing focus points on customer dissatisfaction for the top nominations.

  2. Pamela says:

    You can check out directories like http://www.onlinewebdirectory.com and you will get a whole list of web hosts. You can then check out their packages and reputation in the market to get an insight

  3. Tim says:

    Great post Chris! Good point about checking the PHP version depending on your application needs. I actually wrote a bit more about my thoughts on this topic (including support) here: http://matchist.com/blog/what-to-look-for-when-choosing-a-web-hosting-company

    Do you find that most companies who offer 24/7 support actually provide around the clock support?

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