How to select web
The Web expands every day, and so do your
choices. How do you find a Web host to meet your business needs? There are
many providers, each one with a different focus and services designed for
a specific segment of the market. As you study your options, you might
consider the following factors:
Can the company support the current and future needs of your Web business?
Web hosting providers listed here, HOST a wide range of business and
Ecommerce sites, from small sites to complex high-performance dedicated
server solutions. Choose a Web host with services designed to accommodate
your site's growth.
How far can your Web host take you? The success of a well-designed site
hosted by an expert provider might surprise you, so it's a good idea to
choose a company that can support the growth of your business. If you need
to upgrade, integrate complex applications, or move to a dedicated server,
you don't want to be limited by the scope of your provider.
You'll find that each hosting company focuses on a specific segment of the
Web market. Some design their services for personal Web sites and small
businesses, others concentrate on high-performance Ecommerce sites, and
many offer a variety of mid-range services.
It's a good idea to ask hosting companies for the domain names of a few
representative sites. You'll get a feel for the size and complexity of the
sites the company supports (and you'll be able to check the speed of their
network connections at the same time).
Does the company offer exceptional customer care?
Choose a provider that focuses on customer care. The web host company
should have engineers monitor and maintain your site 24 hours every day,
and automatically fix any problems that might affect your site's
The company you choose should offer round-the-clock technical support -
Make sure that your hosting company staffs its data center round the clock
Browse through the host's automated on-line services to make sure they're
user-friendly and useful, and check that telephone support numbers and
Email addresses are easily available. Ask some questions and make
sure the representative can speak to your needs and to your level of
Does the company offer redundant T3 or OC3 lines linked to a high-speed
Choose a provider with the fastest possible Internet connections.
Web hosting companies connect to the Internet through T1, T3, and, less
frequently, OC (Optical Carrier) lines. T1 and T3 lines, two of the
fastest network connections available today, offer data transfer rates of
of 1.5 and 43 Mbps (megabits per second), respectively.
The best hosting companies use redundant T3 lines to ensure that
customers' sites remain responsive even if their primary Internet
connections are temporarily unavailable. It's a good idea to determine
which providers offer backup connections fast enough to maintain your
site's performance in the event of a primary line failure.
In addition to offering the fastest network connections, a host should
provision its lines and circuits to use less than 50% of available
bandwidth. Overburdened network connections will inevitably result in poor
site performance - in fact, a lightly used T1 line will transfer data
faster than an overused T3 connection. Be sure to ask hosting companies
about network capacity and utilization to make sure that your site will
benefit from the fast network connections they've advertised.
Does the company offer multiple platforms on state-of-the-art equipment?
All the most popular platforms listed in here are constantly upgrading to
maintain state-of-the-art technology. Choose a Web host with powerful
servers, multiple platforms, and the resources to keep pace with rapidly
Although it's possible to host a Web site on the CPU of an average
personal computer, responsive Web sites require high-speed SCSI disk
drives, error-correcting RAM, and the most powerful microprocessors
available. Reliable providers host their sites on equipment built to
withstand the constant bombardment of Web traffic.
In addition, the host's engineers should be skilled in managing their
servers' operating systems (for example, NT or Unix). In the early days of
Internet activity, most servers operated on a Unix platform, an extremely
powerful and flexible system that requires considerable technical
expertise. Unix is still as popular as ever, but today you have a choice:
Microsoft's Windows NT and Unix variations such as Linux, Sun
Microsystem's Solaris, Silicon Graphics' Irix, and Berkeley's BSD. As your
site grows in size and complexity, in all likelihood you'll decide that a
particular platform is desirable. It's best to anticipate this contingency
and choose a Web host that offers multiple platforms and backs them up
with technical expertise.
Does the company offer a secure Web hosting environment?
SERVERS should well protected, both physically and digitally. Choose a
provider with firewalls and other security measures to protect your Web
site and Email accounts from unwanted disruptions and hacking.
It takes many layers of Internet security, from password protection to
firewall barriers, to prevent determined hackers from wreaking havoc with
your Web data. Most hosting companies offer some assurance that their
network and software are protected from unwanted intrusions such as
spamming and hijacking. Make sure the hosting company you choose has
enough security measures in place to ensure that your data is completely
Does the company guarantee at least 99% uptime?
Choose a provider offering a guarantee that your Web site will be open for
business at least 99% of the time.
Excellent Web hosting providers can offer this guarantee because they've
invested in the best automatic monitoring equipment; hired experienced
engineers who can anticipate problems and emergencies; and installed
redundant back-up systems to take over the moment anything goes wrong.
If a Web host guarantees only 95% uptime, keep in mind that this
translates into 8 hours of down time per week: the equivalent of a
"closed" sign on the door of your 24-hour business.
Does the company have redundant back-up systems and multiple network
connections to keep your Web site running in the event of an emergency?
No matter how excellent the equipment, no matter how expert the engineers,
technology fails occasionally. A Web host with multiple routers and
switches, secondary servers, and UPS systems with back-up generators can
provide consistent, high-speed access and guarantee at least 99% uptime.
Web hosting companies, unlike Internet Service Providers (ISPs), have
high-speed lines connected to more than one Internet "backbone"
provider. This is crucial to reliable Web site performance, since network
service can be compromised by technical glitches and unexpected surges in
traffic. A redundant network design allows a Web host to direct traffic
away from Internet "hotspots" and along the fastest routes - and
your site remains available even if one network's service is interrupted.
Does the company have adequate resources to support an expanding customer
The Web is expanding every day, and you can count on the fact that your
provider's customer base will increase significantly - and soon. Make sure
that the company you choose has the resources to accommodate this growth
(adequate servers and bandwidth) or the wherewithal to buy more as the
need arises. A poor ratio of resources to customers means increased
downtime and slower site access, even if the host advertises
state-of-the-art servers and high-speed network connections.
Does the company offer competitive pricing?
Choose a provider offering prices commensurate with the range and quality
of its services.
You can go to the web host reviews to see
the features of the top hosts and decide which one fit your needs.