October 22, 2011
I was new to the blogging world and a friend of mine told me I should try Laughing Squid's hosting service. I must say that they offered great support, because I had lots of questions along the way. The responses were quick and always friendly, no matter how strange my question was. The "geeks" there are personable, and their knowledge is impressive. You can tell that they really focus on their customer's needs. The service is also great, and the prices reasonable.
The internet these days has become an indispensable tool, whether for individuals to promote themselves through blogs and personal websites or businesses that aim to reach a larger market. To make the process of establishing a presence in the World Wide Web easier, several companies provide web hosting services.
Having a website is only half the battle won in establishing a “web presence.” An entity with a web page, which is basically just a file, would still need to have it seen on the internet. Thus, the entity would need to rent space on a computer that serves files out across the internet. That particular computer "hosts" the web page in behalf of the entity with the website. The firm owning that “hosting” computer is engaged in the business of web hosting.
These days, with the abundance of web hosting companies, the entity that wants to have a website “published” in the internet doesn’t even have to worry whether there’s an existing web hosting provider that would fit his or her needs. The issue nowadays is which company to choose, especially with all of them seemingly competitive and offering the same services. Indeed, to some casual onlookers, the business of web hosting and the companies providing it look more or less the same, offering more or less the same product. Thus, it is prescribed that a thorough survey of the elements comprising good web hosting should be looked into. These elements include the features of the hosting package, the ease of using the service, available support for users, the availability of tools to create and market the website, and the availability of reports from the hosts regarding the websites hosted.
Web Hosting Reviews
Your choice of web hosting provider is probably the most crucial decision you'll make in setting up your website. Your brand is greatly affected by the reliability of your online presence and how fast your site loads. Use the web hosting services review guide below to help you make an informed value-driven decision during this crucial stage of your website's development.
Web Hosting and How to Pick the Right Service
The Internet is merely a large network of interconnected computers. When you browse the Internet, you are merely pulling information from millions of networked computers. Every single web page you view is located on the hard drive of a computer somewhere. This storage is called website hosting. Besides making sure that your website stays up and accessible, the right web hosting service must meet a wide array of considerations in order to provide adequate service. We have compiled the most common factors web hosting clients keep in mind when choosing the right provider for their needs.
Use these guidelines to find the best value that fit your particular web hosting requirements.
Hosting Service Package
Not all web hosting services are the same. Some specialize in helping novice website owners. Others focus on experienced IT managers for large corporate websites. The vast majority have differing packages that scale from the newbie website publisher to more experienced large scale website owners.
The standard web hosting package categories are as follows:
Your website is on the same computer as many other websites. You share the same IP address and use the same resources such as bandwidth and storage.
Virtual Private Hosting / Virtual Private Server
You are still sharing the same box as other hosting clients. However, you get your own mail server, admin control, and other features that give you more control. Keep in mind that you still share the same processor resources, disk storage, and bandwidth resources as other clients.
You get your own server and your own IP address. You have full control through an admin panel and control the whole box. No one else is sharing your bandwidth, processing power, and disk storage. The most scalable solution.
In order to find the right hosting package, start by going through this checklist:
How big is your site? The more pages you have the more storage you need. Make sure you pick a hosting package that has enough storage elbow room to not only accommodate the current size of your site but also future growth.
How many sites do I plan to have? This is crucial. Many website owners assume that they will only build a few sites. They get stuck when their needs change. Make sure to factor in future growth and opportunities.
How busy will my site be? If you expect a lot of traffic, your choice of hosting package must reflect this. Some hosting companies charge exorbitant fees for traffic that exceeds your allotted level. Don't get burned.
User Friendly Operation
Differing hosting providers offer differing levels of ease of use. Some offer very intuitive and clear administration panels that allow you to perform otherwise complicated procedures simply by pointing and clicking on some icons. Other providers require you to get your hands “greasy” and “get under the hood.” Make sure to inquire if there are administration tools included in your service package and what these tools do.
This is a crucial consideration since you will be doing a lot of things to get your website up: loading your pages, setting up domains, setting up emails, among other tasks. You need an admin package that makes all sorts of beginner and advanced tasks as simple and straightforward as possible.
Make sure you are comparing the same admin features since many companies label the same features differently.
Technical Support and Customer Service
This is probably the most crucial consideration. If you have a commercial website, you could be losing a lot of money for every minute your website is unreachable. If your website is a personal site, nothing is more embarrassing or unprofessional than a “dead” site. Make sure to select a web hosting provider who can guarantee 24/7 technical support. Their site must be available at all times and they must be reachable through all three communication modes: phone, email, and Instant Messenger. Skype access is an added bonus
Go over their technical support description. See if it not only covers site outages but other common issues such as uploading problems, script updates, or backups. The more details they share the better.
In addition to technical issues, investigate your provider's customer service system. Make sure they are easy to reach, and they use an organized method for keeping track of customer service requests and issues. You don't want to find out about your host's bad customer service system when there is a billing dispute.
Site Management Tools
Many web hosting companies provide site management tools which you can use to create web pages or add features like blogs or forums. Make sure you get the name of the platform they use and compare the features of these platforms. There's a wide gulf of difference between these platforms. Some are very easy to use while others require a lot of technical knowledge. Pick the system that fits your level of expertise.
Traffic Generation and Marketing Tools
Some web hosting companies offer bundled services like search engine optimization (SEO) or even search engine marketing (SEM) services involving pay per click (PPC) services. Make sure you get an itemized list of these additional or bundled services and compare their prices to standalone service providers to make sure you are getting a good value.
Website Statistics and Monitoring Services
In order to gauge the progress of your website, you need a way to measure the number of visitors to your website. Most web hosting providers provide free “off the shelf” statistics packages that help you measure your traffic. Some offer “premium” traffic tracking services if you need more details about your traffic.
The most important monitoring service is not traffic monitoring but uptime monitoring. This service constantly checks if your website is up and accessible. If your website goes down, this service sends you an email, calls you, or sends you an Instant Message. Make sure your hosting service aggressively monitors the uptime of all its clients and promptly takes action whenever a site goes down.
Using the guidelines above, web hosting customers, ranging from the newbie site publisher to battle-hardened web development veterans, can make the right web hosting provider decisions that meet their particular hosting needs.