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Tutorials > Webmaster > Web Hosting


 
Host Gator
 

Learn how to find the best host for your website.


So, you have your website made but don't know where to start when you have to find a place it host it. Selecting a web host should not be made using a magic eight ball, though it may be tempting since there are so many choices to be made.

What should I look for in a web host?

This actually depends on you and what you need to run your site. If you're new you may be looking for almost constant 24/7 support to help you every step of the way. Scholars may be looking for widespread support for almost every computer scripting language known to man. For the majority of people, the four things you should focus on and research are superior support, reliability, speed, and most importantly, price.

Support

At some point, you are going to need support to solve a script error or even to find out why your site is down. Many people don't research a company's support level, and will eventually regret it; many hosts only do what is necessary to keep the masses happy. You can test your prospective web host's support simply by sending them an e-mail and asking them a few questions about their service and uptime guarantees. Will they give you credit if it isn't guaranteed? Also ask how long a support question that would require some research be answered in. If you would think you would ever need help with 3rd party scripts, ask them what their response would be. Would they be glad to help you or would they say they don't offer support for 3rd party scripts?

Also pay attention to how long they have been online. A well-established hosting company of many years will most likely yield the greatest chances of customer successes. Click on the about page if they have one and read it all; after all, you may very well be giving this company your credit card number.

Reliability

Most hosts now a days have an uptime guarantee, usually 99.9%, which means that if your website is not available 99.9% of time, you will either get credit for free hosting for a month or a refund for the current month's hosting. Most hosts will not automatically give you the refund if the uptime guarantee is not kept, you will have to contact support and ask them for it. Look for site uptime reports on the site, if not, test the uptime yourself by periodically visiting the host over a week's span or more.

Speed

When your visitors come to your site, you'll want it to load fast. Slow load times are usually because you have not compressed images on your site so they load faster, but sometimes it may be the server's fault. Servers at companies that pact hundreds or even a thousand sites on one server are going to be slower because of the high demand on the server. You can test a host's speed by just going to their site or asking them for a large file to download.

Price

Ok. Let's face it, we all want to get the most bang for the buck. We naturally want to find the cheapest host we can find. However the phrase, "You get what you pay for", usally holds true in the web hosting industry. That doesn't mean you have to find the most expensive host; some hosts should be locked up for fraud. For example, $50 a month for 100 MB of space and 2GB of bandwidth isn't reasonable, but $5-$10 a month is.

Now that you understand how to find the best host for your site, check out these web hosting resource sites.

Web Hosting Talk- forum all about the web hosting industry. You can review web hosting offers, search for information about your prospective host, and ask questions.
Hosting Assured- look for web hosting deals, read reviews, and check a host's uptime.
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