How To Really Find Reliable Web Hosting

Scientists have recently discovered that cats can sing the national anthem of the country they were born in if you ask them nicely.

Let’s guess; you don’t believe that, do you? Of course not, it’s ludicrous, yet many a web hosting company sells their services on the very premise that if they write it, customers will believe it’s true. And why do they do that? Because, in most cases, they’re right.

The point here is that, when searching for reliable web hosting, don’t believe everything you read – especially if it’s the web host that are saying it. While every company on the world exagerrates in their advertising campaigns, web hosting companies are infamous for it due to the fierce competition in the market place. They’ll say things and claim things that just aren’t true, while storing the facts away in the small print terms and conditions so they’re covered legally should anyone challenge their claims.

One of the biggest claims made by web hosting companies is to super-technological feats of reliability. Everyone wants reliable web hosting – that’s a given – so by claiming something like 99% up time, a web host knows they’re going to get potential customer’s attention. What they don’t tell you is how often that 99% is; is it 99% uptime per day, per week, per year? If it’s per year, that’s still a lot of down time you’re going to have to deal with.

Finding reliable web hosting is all about asking around on internet forums and websites for true customer feedback on the offers available. Never, ever believe everything a web hosting company says.

The Truth About ‘Unlimited’ Web Hosting

May 10, 2010 by  
Filed under Web Hosting Info

If you are in the market for a new web hosting provider, you’ve probably seen a lot of advertising literature. Adverts claiming that X company is the best, for X reasons, and for X amazing price. Everyone is out to impress and to snare your business, and they’ll say anything to catch your eye. That’s why the word “unlimited” is so over-used when it comes to web hosting companies advertising literature.

The promise is usually something along the lines of “unlimited space” or perhaps “unlimited bandwidth”. And you immediately think: wow! That’s a good deal! I’m going to get server space, a web host and everything I need – and I don’t need to worry about my site becoming too big, because my space and bandwidth is unlimited! So that’s the company you sign up for.

Well, it pains us to burst your bubble, but there’s no such thing as unlimited web space.

When these companies advertise ‘unlimited’ space, they are relying on their consumers to only use a small amount of space. Even with limited web hosting plans, few consumers ever use more than 75% of the space provided – so a web host company knows that they can offer ‘unlimited’ service because it’s unlikely they will ever be required to supply unlimited web space.

In reality, they have just the same server storage capabilities as anyone, and they are limited – it just so happens their limits are wide, and they can afford to entice people with an ‘unlimited’ offer. The moral here is do not be fooled by the offer of ‘unlimited’ space; only ever buy the amount of web space you need, because you’ll probably find you don’t even need that much.

Can You “Afford” Cheap Web Hosting?

Getting a bargain, saving money, spending less than we expected – it all sounds great, doesn’t it? There’s very few people on this earth who wouldn’t jump at the chance to grab a bargain, so it’s therefore no surprise that those looking for web hosting are any different. In fact, there are hundreds of thousands of queries for “cheap web hosting” every month with search engines.

So, yes, getting a bargain is good – but one question you have to ask yourself if you’re searching for cheap web hosting is this: Can I really afford cheap web hosting?

That may so ridiculous – of course you can afford it! It’s cheap! That’s the whole point, right? – but there are different ways and means of ‘affording’ things. For example, can you afford – can you allow yourself, your website and your business interests – to be subjected to a poor service from your web hosting company?

While everyone likes a bargain, it’s only a bargain if it’s good value for money. If you pay $20 per year for web hosting, that might sound great, but the associated problems – down time, server crashes and perhaps worse – suddenly makes the deal seem less attractive. If you are only running a small personal site, maybe you can afford to put up with those issues for the sake of saving the pennies – but if you’re looking to make your website a money-making scheme, then you definitely cannot.

The key here is affordability. Don’t look for cheap web hosting providers, just affordable ones that still offer a high, consistent level of good service. Your business will thank you for it in the long run.

Do You Need A Dedicated Server?

May 10, 2010 by  
Filed under Web hosting tips

For most website owners, a shared web hosting plan will be perfectly serviceable for their needs. This means that you share a server with many other websites – websites unaffiliated to your own website, and the link is untraceable also. It’s cheaper, efficient and these shared servers can handle medium to large sites without difficulty.

However, if you are trying to run your site on a shared server that is too small to host your site, you’ll notice quickly. For a start, loading times on your site will fall dramatically, and you’ll probably start to lose visitor numbers, too. You will also experienced a slow down of uploading times to the server, making your site a pain to update, and server crashes will become a more frequent worry. If any of this sounds familiar, you may need to consider a dedicated server.

Rather than sharing your server with other users, a dedicated server works exactly as the name suggested: the server is dedicated to your site, and yours alone. Transferring a big site to a dedicated server will eliminate all of the aforementioned problems, and your site will load and run quickly once again.

As you would expect given the nature of the service being provided, dedicated servers are more expensive than their shared counterparts. Costs vary, but anything around $70 to $120 per month is a usual pricing structure for a dedicated server.

Before you make this outlay, you need to ensure you really need it. If you make money on your site and rely on it, you cannot afford for the down time that a shared server may bring. If, however, your site is just a hobby, it may be worth exploring other alternatives first.

The Dangers of Relying On Your Website Host To Back Up

Many a web hosting company attracts clients based on their promise of nightly, weekly or monthly back ups of the sites you host with them. These back ups are usually a key selling point for many consumers, who like the security it brings. In the event of a server crash, your site will be protected no matter what, and restoring it should be simple.

Mostly, web host companies back ups are a good thing – they provide stability and allow the website owner to relax. However, these packages do promote laziness; and many a business owner ceases to create their own back up files when they know their web hosting company are doing it too. This is a dangerous trap to get in to; while no one is looking to discourage you from buying a hosting plan that includes back ups by the web hosts, you should be aware of the continued necessity to create your own copies, too.

Web hosting companies are usually reliable. However, in the case of a server crash and you needing to restore your site from nothing, you don’t want to take any chances. You definitely don’t want to discover they have been reneging on their side of the deal, and have not been making back ups, after you’ve lost your site.

There’s no real way to verify your site is being backed up beyond requesting copies of those back ups. Some web hosts will do this, but even if they do, always keep making your own back up copies of your website – without fail.

See Through The Jargon of Web Host Advertising

May 10, 2010 by  
Filed under Web hosting tips

Learning to understand advertising jargon is essential whenever you are looking to buy a service or product. The process of “selling” themselves to the consumer is no different for web hosting companies; everyone wants your business, and they’re prepared to promise you the world in an attempt to get it.

Spotting web hosting companies advertising jargon is fairly simple. The most obvious ruse is used on pricing.

For example, a company may bill their web hosting as “$9.99 per month” – which may sound like a good deal. Many people starting up with their own website will like the idea of paying monthly for their web hosting, as it is less of an financial outlay initially.

However, in most cases, the “per month” figure is just the year figure divided by 12 – you still have to pay up front for an entire year, which in this case would be $119.88. That is a substantial financial outlay; and by that point, you might be ‘sold’ on other aspects of the plan and will just go ahead and pay it – even though you may be able to find cheaper elsewhere. The initial low figure of “per month” is used to attract the eye and drag you in, and then hit you with the full price when you don’t expect it.

Always watch out any asterisk use in web hosting advertising. Most companies will cram the truth of what they are offering underneath the main sales text; so if you see asterisks, go and find their corresponding section in the terms and conditions. That way, you’ll always be immune to flashy advertising banners, and will get a better deal because of it.

How To Find A Good Web Host

When you have made the decision to invest in a website for your business, service or even just personal use, it’s time to start looking for a web host. Of course, everyone wants the best web host in the world, but with all the options out there, how do you know who to choose?

Hopefully, this list should provide some answers to that very question…

- Check webmaster forums.

Webmaster forums are the best place to get recommendations for web hosting providers. The users of the forum rely on their website as their income, so they’ll know who is worth hosting with and who is a waste of time. Start a thread asking for recommendations, or just browse through until you have a general idea of which companies are worth trusting.

- Run Google searches.

As soon as you find a company you are interested in, it’s time to start checking them out. Run a Google search for their company name and sift through the results; if there’s anything bad to be said about them, you’ll find it. Add in words like ‘bad’, ‘poor’, ‘terrible’ and ‘useless’ to increase the chances of finding any poor user experiences of the company.

- Read the small print.

This is a truism in life, and it applies to web hosting too. Before you hand over your money to buy web hosting, you should always read the terms and conditions of the arrangement. If there’s anything you don’t like, either contact the web host for clarification, or go elsewhere. There are good web hosts out there, and by being diligent and following the above steps, you’ll find one.

The Downside To Free Web Hosting

Free web hosting is one of the many, many options available to the business-minded website owner looking to make their way in the online world. Like anything, free web hosting has its pros and cons, so before you spend time building a website on a free service only to realise it isn’t for you, here’s the downside to free web hosting so you can be fully informed:

- You will be restricted.

The amount of web space, bandwidth and even visitors you can receive will be massively restricted if you use a free web hosting provider. However, the space offered is usually perfectly adequate for a small business or a fun fan site.

- You will most likely have to have a add-on domain name.

Instead of www.yoursite.com, your domain name with a free web hosting provider is likely to be something like: www.yourfreewebhostingprovider.com/yoursite or http://yoursite.freewebhostingprovider.com – meaning your site is immediately associated with another company. It isn’t a specific problem, just something to be aware of.

- The meaning of ‘free’.

While you may be getting the web space for free, with most free web hosting companies you will be expected to run adverts on the site. Usually these are generated and placed on your site without you needing to do anything – and you have no way of removing them. Running the ads is essentially how you ‘pay’ for your ‘free’ service. There’s no workaround for this; the web host has to make money somehow.

If you are looking to host a small, easy website with only a few pages, it may be worth considering free web hosting. For another more, you’re going to need to self-host.

The Good Side of Free Web Hosting

In a world that is dismiss anything that is labelled ‘free’ as suspicious, when users are looking to build a website they will likely give the concept of free web hosting short shrift. However, there are some significant upsides to using a free web hosting provider – so before you dismiss the concept, take a read of the list below.

- It’s free!

It may seem like an odd point to include in this list – isn’t it obvious that ‘free’ web hosting is, er, free?! – but it’s the aspect you should focus your attention on. No, free web hosting is not going to work if you are looking to make a lot of money from that website – but if you just want a small corner on the web, somewhere personal or as a small business listing, then the free aspect is important.

Essentially, there’s no point investing a lot of money in a website if you are not intending for that website to make you money – so it may be worth putting up with the minor inconveniences a free web host provides, and using your money elsewhere.

- Support for beginners.

Most free web hosting providers have their own support forums, which are moderated by their own staff as well as including posts from users of the service. This means you’ll have an immediate support base should you run in to any trouble.

- You don’t need to be technically experienced to build a website.

A lot of free web hosts offer WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) website building, meaning you don’t need to learn HTML or anything else complicated. You can just plug and play.

WYSIWYG? ORLY? OMG!

While many web hosts provide WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) site building software, it is important to consider the matter of whether this software is what you want to use. Make no mistake, for the most part these are perfectly useful and often even very good. But your best bet may be to ignore these editors and choose a Content Management System instead. The CMS (as it is known for short) can be installed on the cPanel of your hosting software and you can then use it for all your web building needs.

The advantages of using a CMS over the WYSIWYG editor on your site are substantial. Primarily, it comes down to the fact that these systems (Joomla and WordPress are the two most popular) offer you a lot more latitude with what you want to do with the site. Both are highly customisable and also offer a real “plug and play” element, which makes it a whole lot easier to install extra content on your site – content like road maps, YouTube videos and Paypal clients which make it a lot easier to create a business site.

Additionally, these systems make it a lot easier to make your site look good. It is very easy to download a “theme” or template for your site which will give it a distinct and professional look. Although the WYSIWYG editor is a nice touch and may be useful for basic sites, you should never look a gift horse in the mouth – install a free CMS today.

Is There Such A Thing As “Free” Web Hosting?

In this world, getting something for nothing is rare – and, perhaps naturally, people distrust things that are free to acquire and give benefits back for what is seemingly no financial reward. This applies across all walks of life, from business to finance to the internet – and applies particularly to the concept of free web hosting.

Web hosting is expensive, there’s no doubt about it. That’s why offers for free web hosting seem too good to be true, and many users will just avoid on sight. In reality, there are some benefits that can be gotten from free web hosting. For some users, it might be worth looking deeper in to the idea.

Free web hosting is not without its drawbacks – usually you cannot use your own domain name, and you will be limited in terms of how much space and bandwidth you have. So far, it’s not such an attractive package if you are looking to host a professional, large site – and in truth, it probably isn’t a good idea if you fall in to that category.

It is with the small, often first-website user that free web hosting comes in to its own. If you only want to put a minute website, with a couple of pages and perhaps contact deals on the web, then it may be something worth considering. It’s certainly cheaper, and if you are not relying on the website solely to generate business or income, then a free offer may be exactly what you need.

Cheap May Be Better Than Free

Although free web hosting exists, there is no getting around the fact that a company has to pay for it somehow. This tends to result in you having to make do somewhere along the line. Yes, you’d like to have a website without ads on it, or at least have some control over what is being advertised. But if the hosting is free, then you may have to make do with distracting and potentially off-putting ads on your site. You’d hope for good tech support, but they have to pay for that “free hosting” and good tech support doesn’t come cheap.

However, not everyone has the budget to go with the more established, well-reviewed companies, so there has to be a third way, and that comes in the form of cheap web hosting. Yes, “cheap” is a relative term, but if you’re paying something to them, and a lot of other people are too, then it at least gives them a budget to spend on important little things like tech support people who know what a computer is and servers that don’t explode when someone actually visits your site.

Cheap web hosting has this in common with the more expensive type – there are good providers and bad providers. The more established big names in the sector are, generally, well-liked by those who use them and while you might not expect as much from them as you would from a blue-chip company there is a lot to be said for a fresh, inexpensive option – especially when you’re starting out.

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