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How to find a web hosting company?
A primer for non-technical people who need a web hosting company for their blog or website

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"I like your argument why blogging should be a marketing tool employed by all small and mid-size companies and also found your blogging guide helpful.  But now I am confused how to find a website hosting company.  They all look the same and make the choice so difficult.  Any tips on how to find a web hosting company?"

Think of your web hosting company as the backbone of your blog/website.  Not only do you need a web hosting company to host your website on the web, it can play an important role in determining if all the users will be able to surf the website without any problem (or at the right speed) and access will not be denied if too many users flock to your blog or website at the same time, particularly if you are blogging for dollars.  In this article, let me provide you with tips on how to find a web hosting company and what to look for.  

How to find a web hosting company?

Web hosting is literally a commodity now, so as long as you go with a company that does business honestly, you should not have any problem.  While it is always a good idea to ask for recommendations, you will also see a lot of advertisers.  In our opinion, if a company is advertising on a website like iProceed and other respected business websites that are targeted at business professionals, chances are that you can pick any one of them.  On the other hand if you find a web hosting company listed on a get-rich-fast website, I would say "think hard" even if they are half the price.  You can also do a simple search to find a website hosting company.

What to look for in a website hosting company?

Website hosting services have become so inexpensive that for the type of readers on this page, $10 a month is the most that you should expect to pay.  What should you look for:

  • Very high reliability (the closer to 100% the better it is)

  • Unless you plan on having an images-rich blog or website (it is best to have pages that do not have many large size images so that they can load quickly), 100 MB of disk space is generally sufficient.  You can always add more space later if your website becomes large.  Another feature to look for is FTP capability (you will need this if you want to have a blog or you want publish your website using the FTP feature).

  • Monthly bandwidth should be at least 1 GB though higher is better.  Also check if there are any limitations on daily/monthly visits/hits.  No limits is best because then you can be sure that all your visitors will be able to surf the website without any glitches.

  • Web-based email should be a must.  Even if you do not want to use it all the time, it is much better to send a message from @iproceed.com than @hotmail.com.

  • A control panel is the interface that you will have with the server to manage your website.  Unfortunately, most control panels seem to be designed for technically savvy folks.  However, most website hosting company will have a demo of the control panel on their website.  So prior to signing up, make sure you like the control panel and it is easy to understand and use.

  • For non-technical people like me, a simple manual is a must.  In most cases you should be able to read the manual, technical support documents, and help/FAQ without being a customer.  If they look like a manual on rocket science, you know what to do.

  • Technical support should be 24X7X365 by telephone.  This is key for people like us.  I think it is even worth some extra expense because email or online chat support service does not compare to telephone support.

What else to consider when signing up?

  • To start off, sign up for the monthly payment option.  That way you can test the company before getting the discounts available if you pay in advance for a quarter or a year.
  • Most of you will not use a lot of other bells and whistles that they might want to push.  So unless you are a technically savvy person, don't bother.
  • If you don't know anything about PHP, then it is too early for you to worry about it and check if they support PHP.  However, PHP is an excellent language to use for providing certain functionalities on your website, for instance, content syndication.

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