What to look for in a web host
Recommended Hosting Companies
Have you any host nightmare stories to share ? If so, then I'd like to hear from you. I am also looking for your recommendations for web hosts across the globe. In particular, I am looking for sites to host e-commerce sites.
So far, I have used just two hosts, and have just moved to phpwebhosting to allow my person website to contain a PHP/SQL based web forum.
What to look for in a host
How much space do you really need ? Well, I think for any basic site, 100Mb will more than suffice. However, if you are looking to have a forum, and want to keep messages for more than a few months, it might just be necessary to seek a higher amount. The only real issue is what type of content you are going to have. A few dozen movie/ audio clips will really consume your web space, - and the host will likely throw you off their servers (without recompense) if the clips are downloaded hundreds of times each.
Again, the issue is mostly related to the content you are going to have. Even starter website packages offer at least 1 gigabyte (gb) of transfer per month - which is an awful lot of information. Unless you are going to have large chunks of audio/video clips on your site, 1 gb per month will be plenty.
PHP/SQL database support
If you are going to have a web forum on your site, you will require (usually) php support. If you are given php support by your host, you will then be looking for an online database to contain all the info that the forum/your site collects.
*Special note* : type of database. There are various types of database available, including Microsoft Access and MySQL. Access is usually the cheaper route, however it is very weak at dealing with more than 2 people using the web forum at the same time. Personally, I would not consider Access as a viable Forum for even small websites, go with SQL instead.
When signing up for web hosting services, choose one that offers (if possible) various payment options. Some offer a monthly payment option, quarterly, or annually. ANY reputable host should offer you a 30day trial period, where you can test things out, see if the service they offer is up to what you need.
I am unsure about this, but I gather that 'cobalt' servers are inferior to other server types like dell. I have noted that some sites claim they are not using generic servers, but that they have customised servers that more fully meet the needs of their clients.
If you know anything about this, mail me.
Third party hosting ?
I have just recently become aware of this. Some hosts appear to be merely middlemen in the chain of hosting. They are selling you hosting space which they are buying from a large dealer. From what I gather, this is not particularly the best way to go. Technical support may also be inferior, and there is simply more potential for problems somewhere along the chain. If possible, choose a direct web host, it'll be simpler in the long run.
Before making any decision on a web host, check their background. Normally, they should have their own history listed on their own site. Personally, I am somewhat wary of joining any company that is less than a year old.
Has the host won any major web awards this past year ? This can be a good indicator of whether they are well known and respected within the hosting industry. Have a look around the net, check the forums, see if the host has some good supporters, or maybe they are associated with many nightmare stories. It is worth taking a few days of browsing around to see what the consensus is on any given host.
Recommended Hosting companies
DWHS Web hosting : An American based company. Offers a wide variety of web packages, one of which will probably suit your needs. This site also accepts 'adult content' (unlike most other hosts). DWHS is reliable, and uses excellent servers.
Phpwebhosting : my current host. As the name says, they offer full php (web forum support), which is a really useful attribute. Their philosophy is somewhat useful, they offer unlimited web space, - for those who aren't running a 'download' site for adult material :) Generally, they offer 250Mb of space, 4-5Gb bandwidth per month, for about £6-8 a month with NO long term contract. Very nice.
Host depot : My first web host, I would have stayed with them, if they had offered me a php feature for their basic plan (only £5 per month.) ,but the only way to get a web forum from them is to have their 'silver service'. The silver service is geared towards an e-commerce business, and thus costs £25 a month, way too much for anyone just wanting a web forum.
I do however highly recommend them, if you are simply after a basic web hosting service that is easy to set up and maintain - their customer service is VERY good.
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Last updated : 07/11/05