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What Operating System should I go for? Windows based hosting plans are usually more expensive than those are UNIX based. Why would I need Windows Hosting then? There are many factors. If you use ODBC or MS Access database you may be required to use Windows Hosting. If you use ASP you may be required to use Windows Hosting. If you or your Web Master is more familiar with Windows environment you may consider using Windows Hosting. If you do not need any of above, I would recommend you to use UNIX based Hosting. Why? Because they are much less expensive in terms of service fees and software licensing than Windows Hosting. Windows hosting are often slower than UNIX hosting in performance. If you have two servers with exact hardware specs, one in UNIX and other one in Windows, UNIX server will have better performance in terms of speed, reliability, and security.
Should I use SHARED hosting or DEDICATED hosting? There are only a few reasons that you will need dedicated hosting. Your site contains sensitive information that you need better security and dedicated hosting does that. If you need flexible software support, you should consider dedicated hosting. If you need total control over your account, you should consider dedicated hosting. If you need to host a large web application, dedicated hosting is your choice. So who should choose dedicated hosting? Any Web Sites that need any of above should choose dedicated hosting. If you do not need any of above, I would recommend you to use shared hosting because it is more cost effective than dedicated hosting.
Hints on choosing a Web Hosting company Ok. Now I know requirements of my Web Site and which type of hosting to choose, but how do I know which Web Hosting company is better? There are two factors that you should focus on. First, check if company offers all things your Web Site needs. Second, check if company is reliable in terms of services and support. The only way for you to know if a company is reliable is to try them, so sign up for plans that have at least 15 days Money-back guarantee. This way you can always cancel account if you do not feel comfortable with company. How would you know if they have what you want? Well, best way is to ask them. Make sure to provide them all of requirements of your Web Site. There are other ways to know more about companies, such as finding reviews on hosting community sites. But reviews are often misleading, thus best way is still trying it yourselves.
To summarize, make sure to know both what your Web Site needs and what Web Hosting companies are offering before making your final choice.
Shawn Si, is an editor and Marketing Director of Sirunet.com, a leading ecommerce enabled web hosting service provider. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org