Finding that Host that Offers the Most

Whether you already have a website or are thinking of setting up shop online, sooner or later you’ll have to deal with the issue of web hosting. Although it may seem like a “no brainer,” there are actually many factors you’ll need to consider before making this important decision. Your first inclination may be to look only at the cost, thinking “cheaper is better.” However, that old saying “you get what you pay for,”is especially true in this situation. Here are some of the more important points you’ll want to look at when considering your next host.

UNIX/ NT/ The two most popular hosting platforms to choose from are UNIX and NT. UNIX is by far the favorite, as it was the only choice way back in the early days of the Internet. It is easy to configure, great for setting your own file permissions and the platform for most of the free scripts available for download. It is flexible, reliable and supports scripting languages like Perl and PHP3.

NT is Microsoft’s baby. One problem that I have found with NT servers is a lack of readily available scripts that work on this platform. Also, (unlike UNIX) many NT users need assistance from their Web Host Administrators to set file permissions. NT supports MS applications such as ASP, Access, FP and scripting languages such as Perl, Cold Fusion and ASP.

TECH SUPPORT/ When you need help you’ll want to make sure you can get it. Some web hosts offer phone support or even live chat. Make sure they have good tech support in place as there’s nothing more annoying than needing assistance with your site and not being able to get it.

SET UP FEE/ MONTHLY FEE/ Some hosts charge an initial set up fee to get your site set up and running on their server. Make sure you check on this when comparing prices. I’ve seen monthly fees ranging from 9.99 to 39.99, depending on the plan and services offered. My advice to you would be to look past the cheapest and most expensive ends of the scale and go with a mid-range pricing plan to be on the safe side. You should be able to pick up a reliable web host for 20 to 25.00 per month.

HARD DRIVE/ SPACE/ How much space they’re willing to give you is important if you’re going to compare apples to apples. You need to keep in mind the size of your site when deciding how much space you really need. Generally, 20 to 30 MB is plenty for a small site. You might want to ask if you can pay for more space should your site ever outgrow its present state.

FTP ACCESS/ TELNET ACCESS/ Even if you plan on using Frontpage to manage your site, you’ll still need to have FTP access. It is usually standard, but it never hurts to ask. Make sure you keep your user name and password in a safe place. You’ll use FTP to set file permissions and to upload your files to the web server.

Telnet can be very useful for troubleshooting CGI scripts and changing server configurations. There are some servers that will not grant telnet access.

CGI-BIN/ A very important component if you’re planning on adding any sort of interactivity to your site like forms, shopping carts, etc. Usually comes as standard equipment, but I’ve seen some of the cheaper hosts leave it out entirely.

EMAIL BOXES & POP 3 ALIASES/ One thing that’s very important to me is the ability to use different aliases with my domain name. For example, if your domain is ezineadauction.com, you may want to set up separate addresses to sort your mail like service@ezineadauction.com or support@ezineadauction.com. They may all funnel into the same mailbox, but you can set up filters at your end, making customer service a whole lot easier.

If you have a “wildcard” account, you can set up as many aliases as you like. If you have other employees who will need their own private box, check with the web host to see how many boxes they will allow.

STATS/ Once you start getting traffic, you’ll want to know where it’s coming from and what pages of your site are being visited. Some web hosts will throw stats tracking in with their standard package or at least give you access to your log files, which you can then use with third party software to run reports on the traffic your site is receiving.

MISCELLANEOUS THOUGHTS/:

1) If you want to use Frontpage: Do they have the FP server extensions installed?
2) Do they offer autoresponders?
3) How about a secured server option for payment transactions?
4) Do they back up all websites in case of disaster?
5) Do they offer assistance in programming or design work if needed at an hourly rate?
6) Do they offer shopping cart software if you’re going to be selling products?
7) Do any customized forms come standard with your account, like feedback or order forms?
8) Bandwidth- Be aware that bandwidth is how much data can be transferred in a month’s time. This shouldn’t be a concern unless you’re getting a ton of traffic, but be aware that most hosts do have limitations on what they’ll allow.

As you can see, there are many factors to take into account when choosing a web host. Your host is essentially the spine of your site,so you want to make sure that the one you choose is reliable and solid. Nothing can ruin a site faster than an unreliable host. I know; been there, done that.

Remember, choosing a good host is essential to the success and reliability of your online business. Do your homework and choose the one that’s right for you.

NetFronts Review

NetFronts is a full service Web Hosting company based outside of Salt Lake City , Utah , in a high-tech area with fellow employers such as Ebay and Novell. Established in 1996, NetFronts has become a leader in the Web hosting industry through a commitment to service and customers.

NetFronts offers Linux and Windows Web hosting platforms, domain registration, Email, and Ecommerce capability. The company has reputable partnerships with a variety of Web site designers, merchant gateways and merchant account companies to assist customers with all of their Internet presence building needs. A basic Web hosting package starts at $9.95 per month and includes a generous amount of email, data storage, and data transfer. Each plan consists of a Web site control panel, site creation software that includes free pre-designed templates, experienced toll free technical support, virus protection, SpamGuard, site analysis tool, and full-featured Web-based email.

NetFronts has a superior infrastructure, which provides premium speed and reliability to over 7,500 Web hosted domains in the United States and abroad. NetFronts is also the exclusive Web hosting provider for an organization of over 100 independent ISPs called TrueBand.net.
NetFronts isn’t the biggest hosting company, but the company has earned a loyal following of Web site owners through a combination of affordable Web hosting technology and quick, reliable customer support. NetFronts has grown significantly due to referrals, webmasters, and resellers. Five basic principles that have aided NetFronts success over the last eight years are outlined below.

I) Deliver reliable service: A Web site is an investment and NetFronts protects its customers’ investments by offering a fast network, designed for 100% uptime. Technicians have a combined 20+ years of computer expertise brought to every infrastructure decision and system design element.

II) Keep the price right: Through system automation and by hiring the right employees, NetFronts has kept operations streamlined in order to keep the price below most major competitors. Many customers have returned to NetFronts after receiving poor or unprofessional service at the “discount” hosts. NetFronts prices plans and sizes disk space, bandwidth, and other features at a point that allows customers to receive an incomparable level of service. There aren’t many markets where the cheapest is also the best and Web hosting is no exception.

III) Empower employees: NetFronts’ technical support and billing representatives are highly-trained, college-educated and given permission to ‘do what it takes’ to make situations right. Employees are sympathetic and highly-motivated to resolve issues fairly. NetFronts’ customers feel appreciated, which is the primary reason word-of-mouth growth has been so significant in the company’s success.

IV) Support customers conveniently:  Help at NetFronts is available around the clock, seven days a week. Customers may find an answer easily within a comprehensive support knowledge base, receive a reply to an email within 4-5 hours, or will receive a qualified technician by phone without long wait times.

V) Be fair: NetFronts has learned that the best way to grow is to balance emerging technologies with solid service. NetFronts doesn’t offer 750MB of disk space and 10GB of bandwidth for $6 like some of the other Web hosts. In order to do that, NetFronts would have to make the same sacrifices they make in their level of service; put too many sites on a server, oversell bandwidth, force customers to talk to a different customer support agent every time a customer calls (if support is even offered) – these aren’t NetFronts’ core values. NetFronts has taken the years of experience in this industry and balanced it with prevailing technologies to give a fairly priced plan – not a gimmick pricing scheme that apparently offers something for nothing.

N etFronts offers fast, reliable performance, responsive technical support, and a 30-day satisfaction guarantee.

Please visit NetFronts’ Web site today at www.netfronts.com or contact sales@netfronts.com .