Questions To Ask a Hosting Company Before You Start

There are several types of hosting. Among them are:

Free hosting
Free sites are for people who's sites are small and do not expect much traffic. Personal sites about your family or hobbies are perfect for free web site hosts. I do not recommend this for any business, promoting or selling a product, or expect a lot of traffic. Usually you cannot use a domain name for your site. You must use a domain and site path provided by the company.

Virtual (or shared) hosting
A web server which shares its resources with multiple users. It's another way of saying that multiple web sites share the resources of one server. If you do not need your own web server (i.e. your own server class computer), you will use a virtual server to host your web site.

Dedicated hosting
A more expensive type of account in which the web hosting company provides you with an entire hosting setup including your own server hardware that only you can use. This usually means a much faster loading time for your site because the entire computer is "dedicated" to running the server software. This is different from most other hosting accounts in which your web site will share space on a server with many other web sites, called a virtual server. A dedicated server makes sense for web sites that require higher availability and higher data transfer rates.

Collocation hosting
Collocation hosting offers the same benefits as dedicated hosting, except you provide the server. I only recommend this plan if you can gain physical access to the server, or have special server requirements. If you are located in New York and the server is in Seattle, it would be difficult, and expensive, for you to replace a hard drive. You can have the hosting provider repair problems, but at a premium cost.

Questions To Ask a Hosting Company Before You Start

1. How long have you been in business? Are you incorporated? Do you have your own Merchant Account?

Varies These are questions geared at stability and long term continuation of web hosting service. These questions are important as you don't want to sign up for a web host who will disappear in one day.

2. How many customers do you serve per server?

Depending on the Web hosting plan or the Web hosting company the server that your hosted on might be a little more packed than you might think. A responsible Web hosting company will not overstuff the servers they own or collocate. Most of the time, sharing a server with several different companies is not a bad thing though. However, you do need to ask your Web hosting company about the numbers. If you are shopping around for Web hosting, you need to ask each company about the client per server ratio. Go with the company that fits your other needs, and has the least amount of clients per Web hosting server.

3. Do you allow SMTP POP3 email to be sent and received from mydomain.com?

You should get the answer: Yes

Some hosting companies force you to send SMTP POP3 email from isp.yourdomain.com rather than yourdomain.com. They do this because they claim 1) it keeps the servers fast. However, a dedicated SMTP POP3 server won't have any problems 2) it minimizes spam (however, spammers can still use technical tools for spamming from their account - so it really doesn't minimize spam). The biggest problem is that some Internet Service Providers won't allow the use of isp.yourdomain.com. It probably wouldn't make for a good day if you discover you had to change ISPs just to send email via your domain.

4. If I go over the monthly allotted bandwidth, what are the charges for each gig?

You should get the answer: $0 to $2 a gig

Watch this one as we have seen hosts indicate "purchase additional bandwidth for $0.1 per MB." That translates into $100 per gig.

5. Do you have any upgrades for each account, and if so, what are the costs?

Varies Most web hosts publish this information along with each hosting plan. It's good to ask if you can't find this information.

Other issues

1. The lame web host companies usually lack professional "look and feel" in their emails, some even taking days to respond. Worse yet, you may find some that won't reply, forcing you to have to send another email. It pays to find out any problems in advance

2. The established web host companies reply to your email within 12 hours, if not by then, you should have at least received a courtesy email to let you know they are reviewing your questions.

3. Keep in mind that there's much more to hosting than gigabytes and HTML, as without the professional support you need, your online business will suffer the consequences.

4. Look for an established Privacy Statement and Terms of Service. A web host without a Privacy Statement or Terms of Service is usually a red flag for you since it is very important for all web sites to establish this information to their visitors. While it can be boring to read this material, you may be in for a surprise to later find out extra charges that your site could unexpectedly incur. Know what to expect. When in doubt, ask.

5 Ask for names of two to three similar users and check with them regarding their experience.

You can find Recommended Hosting Companies at www.RichTrack.com.

Written by Helen Peshkova, RichTrack.com.

http://www.RichTrack.com is one of the first business oriented education portals. It's the leading online business information network for millionaires. The goal of RichTrack.com is to present business content in a professional, helpful and practical format that helps you getting rich.

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