December 20, 2010

Where To Host My Website?

man choosing doubting question mark
The correct choice of hosting provider is more important than people think, because it is a key factor in achieving the expected results in any Internet marketing campaign.

Few companies have sufficient infrastructure equipment and Internet connectivity to host their website at home. If your company is fortunate enough to have that ability, then you can seriously consider hosting your website on your own facilities. To do this, you should have trained personnel to manage both your server and your website. However, most companies do not have this capability or find little affordable to allocate their own resources to the tasks of website hosting. And just like directors have taken the decision to outsource other services, such as printing brochures for example, your company will surely benefit of paying a third party for hosting services of your website.

The choice of hosting provider for your business website is much more important than you might think, since much of the good performance and operational efficiency of the site will depend on this decision. Inappropriate selection of hosting may even get to adversely affect the outcome of the campaign to promote your business.

Ideally, you should follow this natural process for selecting your hosting provider. First, you must set the target market of your Internet marketing campaign, that is, for who will you run your business message. Then you should establish, along with your advisor in marketing, the type of content, information and services that potential customers expect to find on your website to satisfy their requirements. Once the content is set, the web design agency will determine the most appropriate operational platform (operating system, web server type, programming languages, content managers, applications, components, etc.) and general technical requirements for software and hardware necessary for the operation of the new website. Once you have this information with you, you can then search and select a hosting provider that meets the technical requirements set by the specialist in design and web applications.

In the rush to have their own domain on the Internet, many companies rush to register their domain name and host it on their trusted company or the one which offers a more affordable price, without first determining their requirements and defining the correct name and most appropriate type of domain, which almost always brings considerable problems when beginning operations, a situation that sometimes extends for several months until the company decides to put things in order. In the event that a domain is registered in an inappropriate way, because of name, class or country of the domain, the cost involved in modifying it can be considerable, so it is extremely important that the domain name is the right one from the start.

In general, the choice of hosting provider is based on the following criteria:

1. Required operating platform

2. Type of web server

3. Supported scripts

4. Supported databases

5. Supported operating platforms

6. Disk space required for installation and operation of the website

7. Number of personal e-mail that will be assigned

8. Services offered with hosting (support, design, advice, personal attention, etc.).

9. Availability and reliability of hosting services

10. Service cost

Most SMEs employ the services of Internet service providers (ISP) to access the consultation of website and email. Many of these ISPs also provide web hosting services as an additional service. However, you’d probably prefer to hire a provider that is strictly within the hosting services industry (WHP, Web Hosting Provider). Such selection will ensure that all hosting requirements will be covered. Hire an ISP for Internet access and a WHP to host your website.

When hiring a hosting provider, consider the following:

How much disk space is included in the base cost - as your website matures, surely you will add new features and more content and you will require increases in storage capacity, particularly if your site contains many images. Look for a hosting service that offers at least 100 MB of space in their basic configuration. It is also important that the prices are reasonable for additional disk space.

How many custom mailboxes are included in the base cost- Some hosting services offer a very limited number of email accounts (sometimes none) in their basic plans, others allow an unlimited number of POP3 email accounts. Find a service that offers at least 10 custom email accounts. The use of email associated with your website gives a professional touch to your communication.

Easy administration of email accounts - Simplifying the configuration and administration of email accounts is an important activity that is often overlooked. A good hosting service will provide support for easy management of email accounts, including email forwarding capabilities, auto-responder messages, addresses, aliases, among other functions.

E-mail access from any browser - This function is vital when traveling or visiting other offices and want to access email. There’s no complex configuration required, just open the browser and go to the email administrator to view or send messages. Make sure your hosting provider offers this facility (web mail) for remote access to your mail using a standard browser.

Do not decide based on cost alone - When evaluating different hosting providers, do not base your decision solely on price. Ask about all services and facilities provided. Also investigate the ability of your WHP to provide continuous access (how much traffic it can handle without affecting the response time). How much disk space is provided for hosting the site. What are the charges for exceeding the limits of space and traffic capacity contracted.

Follow the instructions of the experts - Whether you design your website at home or hire the services of a specialized firm, you must know perfectly the scope and limitations of your hosting. It is a healthy practice to follow the recommendations issued by the website designer about hosting providers, so there’s an unified criteria for the design and website hosting.

An important recommendation - When hiring the design of your website, apply the same criteria to the selection of the hosting provider. Some ISPs and WHPs offer web design services, however it is highly recommended for obvious reasons to go to a specialist agency that is strictly within the Internet marketing industry. Web hosting and website design are two very different specialties and the only thing they have in common is the website, so it is recommended that the design of the site will be performed rather by an marketing specialist agency.

About the Blog Author: Timpa has the mission of providing all entrepreneurs, whether experiencied or not in online business strategies, with the right information to help them manage their businesses online in the best, most time-effective and cost-effective, smarter way.