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Articles for Webmasters     Three Key Considerations for Choosing a Web Hosting Service


There are many factors specific to your business that you must consider in choosing a web hosting service. For example, will you need a shopping cart, or multiple email addresses, or hosting for multiple domains? Take the specific needs of your business into account when fine-tuning your choice of a web hosting service. But be sure that whatever hosting service you choose satisfies the three most important criteria.

Reliability

What could be worse than going to the time, effort and expense of getting your business online and directing traffic to it, only to find that the hosting service is frequently down. Customers coming to your site eager to do business are greeted with an error message instead of your landing page. Not exactly good for business! Look for a guaranteed uptime of greater than 99%.

Disk Space and Bandwidth

Disk space is the amount of data storage the hosting service will allow you, and bandwidth is the amount of data your site will be allowed to transfer to clients. How much of each will you need? There’s probably no way to know early on, but you should plan on needing increasing amounts of each as your website grows. As a rough rule of thumb, probably 3 GB of bandwidth, and 10 MB of disk space will be sufficient for most new websites.

When you’re comparing services, check the minimums they provide for disk space and bandwidth, but also check to see what they charge if you go over the minimums. Read the fine print of the service agreement; some services are much more reasonable than others about exceeding your allotments.

Support

When problems arise, as they inevitably will, you want to be sure that your web hosting service will be available at all times to resolve the problems. After all, one of the great advantages of doing business on the web is the round-the-clock accessibility you can offer your customers. If there’s a problem at 3:00 a.m. on a Saturday, you don’t want to have to wait until Monday morning to get it fixed. Look for web hosting services that offer technical support 24/7.

What About the Price?

Use the price of the services you're comparing as your LAST criteria. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for, and when you’re shopping for a web hosting service, your priority should be to get the services and support you need. Anything cheaper will turn out to be very expensive in the long run.



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