Find Host With Most No one can deny that quality and reliability of your Web presence can make or break your business. The average attention span of a Web surfer is a mere 20 seconds, and your competition is always just a click away if load times and connectivity aren't fast, reliable, and browser-compliant. Support and back-end infrastructure are just as critical to your Website as aesthetic appeal. A gorgeous, multi-tiered graphical interface is useless if no one can get to it – and no one will try more than once. Like stage and silver screen, you get one audition, and that's it.
For this reason, running your own server is a tempting prospect. You have total control, and can configure and reconfigure to your heart's content, without having to concede to bandwidth limits or third-party server failures. Even SOHO businesses can afford to purchase industry-standard HTML editors, and no expensive hardware is needed to quickly create a Website. But opting to do it yourself without counting costs and consequences can end your business, or cause your site to be dismissed as amateurish. While amateur construction is adequate for home or hobby sites, it is increasingly necessary to outsource your hosting needs if you wish to operate as an effective eCommerce vendor.
Quite simply, eBusiness doesn't end with Website. Aside from handling traffic that your site will attract, you need your server to maintain a constant connection to Internet while simultaneously accommodating needs of outside users. Few desktop PCs can handle such a load, and many home DSL and cable modem ISPs frequently prohibit hosting or any other high-bandwidth activities, which are so critical to eCommerce. Furthermore, there are costs of site security, data backup, power back-up, redundancy, upgrades and transaction tracking to contend with, expenses that are far beyond resources of even wealthiest of small businesses. Furthermore, someone will have to constantly monitor and manage your infrastructure to ensure a constant level of connectivity, which will require hiring of very expensive IT professionals.
A Web host will take care of all of this for you, for a monthly fee that is a fraction of amount you would pay to purchase these services and hardware on your own. Many people are leery of turning control of their business over to a third party, and because of this unwarranted fear are dismissing security and benefits that a host can provide. You are not outsourcing your business; rather, you are outsourcing responsibility for keeping your business up and running. In same way that a bricks-and-mortar warehouse hires security staff to watch grounds, a Web host will keep a constant vigil over your virtual property, so you can focus on what's important: building your business.
Web hosts allow small businesses to play in same arena as corporate giants, giving them competitive bandwidth and traffic volume accommodation. Most importantly, your Web host will help you secure a domain name, something that most individual ISPs and free hosting accounts (such as Yahoo!) can't offer. Having a lengthy URL indicates that your business is hosted on a free server, and its amateur appearance will confuse your customers. Imagine traffic that would be generated by a simple URL such as www.acmeflorists.com compared to www.yahoo.com/~128.hmpg/client2434/net~mypage/index_ acmeflorists!
But how do you choose a Web hosting service out of hundreds that are available? You'll have to do some careful shopping to find services and relationship you need, as wrong decision can be disastrous.
When shopping for a Web host, connectivity and reliability are key. The longer it takes for customers to access your Website, more likely you'll lose customers. Of course, no one's perfect. Connectivity time will fluctuate on a cyclical basis with flow of daily traffic, but you should insist on a guaranteed connectivity rate of 95% when seeking a host. Aside from that, there are a few other issues to consider before making a final decision:
Look to future
As your customer base and revenue grows, your site may require addition of server-side scripting, eCommerce and database support, and a large bandwidth to accommodate audio and video streaming. Free hosting sites never offer these kinds of advanced features, but many commercial hosts don't offer them either. Make sure your host is big enough to accommodate your future needs, as well as your present ones.
On other hand, don't empty your bank account paying for services you don't need.
The most basic level of service from a Web host typically positions your site among a number of others on a single machine, with a virtual domain name that points to URL of your page. This is known as shared hosting, and is adequate for simple "text-and-GIFs" variety of Website.
As your company grows, however, you will probably want to move from static HTML to incorporate more interactive elements into your site. Since this requires more bandwidth, you should probably move to a machine with more resources, and fewer sites vying for them. If you want to add streaming video, audio, or high-level graphics and forms to your site, your should probably switch to a dedicated server, which means having an entire machine to yourself. The host owns, maintains, and backs up server while providing all security, power management, and other aspects of maintaining a data center.
The highest level of service a Web host can offer is a Colocated Server. You own hardware, but it's physically located at host's facility. The advantage of this is that you can choose bandwidth you'll need, while host provides a clear pipe to Internet. Unfortunately, it also means you'll have to pay for any and all security and firewall provisions, as you won't be protected by host's firewall. While this gives you complete control over level of security you desire, it can be quite expensive.
Demand prompt service and performance
The popularity of your site will be directly affected by your host's level of service. Slow load times due to an overburdened server will send your customers elsewhere. Furthermore, a long update-to-live lag time can be disastrous - especially if you have a large, constantly fluctuating inventory. For example, you may want to set up a special page for a new promotion, linked to very expensive marketing campaign that your business is involved in. A few quick HTML entries are all that's required, but if you have to wait days for your host's IT staff to do job, you could lose your marketing momentum and render initiative useless.
No matter how renowned your host is, technical problems will occur. As such, demand 24-hour, 7-days-a-week technical support for all your applications. If a host claims to already offer this, check! Call their tech line at 3:00a.m. on a Sunday to see if anyone is really there. Ensure that there is some sort of written agreement regarding service, which ideally will provide you with financial compensation in event of failure.