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May 29, 2007

Web Hosting Options for Everyone

As e-commerce continues to change the way that people shop in our culture, the numbers and types of website hosting options has grown to staggering proportions. Trying to find the best hosting sites and the best website design templates can be maddening. As you begin to shop around for the website hosting option that best meets your needs, keep in mind that there are three basic things that you want to look for and compare as you compare one services solution against another. Business owners have more choices than ever before when it comes to website hosting options. As the demand has grown in recent years, so have the number of service providers. There are so many to choose from that finding the best hosting sites can be a bit of a challenge. You may find it helpful, as you begin looking, to make a list of your specific needs.

Use that list of needs as a template to hold up next to the service plans that you are looking at and see which services solution best meets the needs of your company. Trying to select a website hosting solution can be as difficult as buying a used car. The sheer volume of service solutions is staggering, and it’s getting bigger every day. A plethora of options, some vital and some not so much, flood the front pages of advertisers trying to draw you in. Deciding what features you really need and which ones are just gimmicks can be difficult. If you are unfamiliar with website hosting options it may seem like the best option is to open up the phone book and blindly point a finger to decide. Your best option is to make a list of what you need, and then consider the following criteria based on that list.
First, and probably most obviously, is price. While there are a number of free website host services available, you are probably not going to get the same level of services or support that you will from an internet host that charges you a small monthly fee. Generally these fees are low, and shouldn’t make a substantial dent in your budget. Most are fairly competitive on price, and only vary by a few dollars. If then, you determine that you are willing to spend this few extra dollars each month to pay for host support, what other options should you be looking at?
The second set of factors that you need to consider, after price, are the services offered. Different website hosting services offer a variety of service levels. Some may offer different packages, often with a catchy name like the silver, gold and platinum package. As they get progressively more expensive, the number of services available goes up. Whether it includes online support or 24-hour phone support, your website hosting service should provide a services solution package that works for you. If not, then you should keep looking. Once you have determined a budget for your website hosting needs then you need to begin narrowing down the pile to the best web hosting services that remain.

Different service providers all have unique packages to try and earn your business. For the most part, these packages differ only in the kind of support that they offer. Excellent host support can be the factor that ultimately wins your business. You need to know that your services solution will be there for you when you need them and that you can get accurate help in a timely manner when things go wrong. The amount of host support that you get is one of the biggest deciding factors in website hosting decision. Keep in mind that, the more you spend the more you get. The providers of services solutions often grade their support packages by how much help you think you’ll need. Of course, you then pay accordingly. Everything from live online chat support to actual personal site visits are available. While you don’t ever want to overpay for anything, it is important that you have the support that you need when things go wrong.
A third factor, also usually determined by how much you are willing to pay, is the amount of disk space that you are allowed. Some also include data transfer information in this package. As with everything else, the more you pay, the more you get. The best web hosting services are the ones that offer unlimited data transfer and disk space. This allows you to grow without worrying about over stepping your limit. You don’t want to be in the middle of a big sales month only to have your host server lock down because you drove too much traffic to it and thus maxed out your allowable bandwidth.
As you consider each of these factors, keep in mind that the best web hosting services for you are not necessarily the most expensive, nor do they need to be the cheapest. Make a good assessment of your needs and then make an educated decision. An affordable website host is out there just waiting for your business. When you find it, you will have just taken your internet based business to the next level. While cost is going to be a factor in every business decision that you make, don’t let a few dollars a month be the driver of this decision. Figuring out the best way to manage your website hosting needs will potentially save you a lot of time.

For most business owners, your time is worth much more than a few dollars a month. Make sure that you choose a services solution that will set you up to succeed. Generally, website hosting solutions are similar in price. Don’t let the difference of a few dollars a month sway you into making a decision that might leave you scrambling for answers the first time that you have a problem. Make sure that you are completely comfortable with the level of host support that is available with your hosting package. Your time is worth more than the few extra dollars a month that you may have to spend in order to get a quality service provider.
Author:  David Odell is the owner of: Web Hosting – Know How Pages