What to look for in a Web Host? Published: Oct 28, 2003
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To evaluate a web host, the price is not the only important factor, the client will need to take consideration about other characteristics.

To evaluate a web host, the price is not the only important factor, the client will need to take consideration about other characteristics.

Host's Connection to the Internet
One of the most important features is the quality of host's connection to the Internet. There are a bunch of variations T-1, T-3, OC-3, OC-256, etc. (Fig 5) A company that offers a T1 connection to the Internet can only allow 1.544 Mbps (Megabits per second) a T3 can allow up to 45 Mbps. Then again an OC-256 can allow 13,000 Mbps, giving the ability to transfer much more information at a higher rate of speed before getting bogged down.

Connection Types

Speed
Customers that are seriously worried about speeds that a viewer can see their site, need to consider how fast the servers are. Although bandwidth and connections are major factors, server speeds are equally important. A server that is a host to many sites that are being accessed simultaneously may get bogged down. No matter how fast the connection is this can seriously slow down a viewer’s speed to surf through a site. A simple way to test the speed at which a server responds is called "pinging" a site. This will determine how quickly a server can receive and send back a small piece of data through the connection you have to it.

Processor speed is also important. Certain sites will make greater demands on the host's CPU and will consequently run slower - and slow down every other site on the server as well (Beginner's Guide, 2000). Streaming video and audio, discussion forums and message boards, online surveys, and high-level animation all require huge amounts of memory and fast access to the main server. Overloaded processors can slow down a site's transmission considerably.

Server Software
Server software can also affect a site. UNIX and Windows NT are the most common server software environments. Advanced developers should be aware of what applications they will be using and assess which software environment will best suit their needs. Some hosting companies only offer one of the two software options.

Security
Protecting a site's data from unwanted intrusions is another key consideration for the web developer when selecting a host. The hosting company's security protocols should be outlined. Protection from everyday denial of service attacks and the various hacks and cracks that will be attempted on your server is essential. The hosting company should be responsible for upgrading and maintaining these security measures. "The only thing worse than having no security is thinking you have some" (Finding the Host, 2001).

Customer Service
Service is another important aspect to consider when shopping for a host. Hosts offer a variety of customer service options. Services offered can be 24-hour toll free number, 24-hour email help, Frequently Asked Questions pages and help forums. The amount of help you might need depends mainly on your experience and problems you encounter from the server.

Reliability
Checking out the reliability of a service is also very important. Hosts usually have several backup systems in case something goes wrong with the main servers. They also can promise less "down time" by backup power systems such as a diesel generator.

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Comments (1)

  • Gravatar - Dev
    Dev 18:34, July 15, 2010
    Hi,

    Am totally agreed with above said points.Basically customer service & reliability are 2 big factors before finalizing web hosting provider.

    Anyways nice article.

    Dew Rawat
    www.hostmonsterz.info

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