What Makes For A Good Host?

Written by Richard Lowe

I've had to change web hosts a number of times. In fact, I spent most of this week changing from one host to another. Believe me, it is a major pain, although I have made sure that my site is always ready to move if necessary.

One thing I've become is very aware ofrepparttar difference between a good host and a bad host. To put it simply (and obviously) a good host makes it easy for you to create and maintain your web site. A bad host gets inrepparttar 134444 way and makes you angry, unhappy and gives you an ulcer.

The key point to remember when evaluating hosts isrepparttar 134445 most important quality is responsiveness - of your site and support people. Your site should be up virtually all ofrepparttar 134446 time (unfortunately computer crashes do happen but they should be rare and far between) and it must be fast. In addition, all good hosts react in a timely manner to support issues and questions. You can tell when a host is going bad fromrepparttar 134447 failure of these key areas - unresponsive technical support, slow servers or constant downtime.

This article is intended as a kind of checklist - what is essential, essential if you need it, optional and not important at all? Look it over, then when you go to find a good host pull outrepparttar 134448 article and make sure it measures up.

Essential Qualities

There are a few attributes which are common to all good hosts.

Reasonable support - This is something you won't know until you've started using a web host and hopefully you will not need much support. However, when you have a question, concern or problem, it's essential thatrepparttar 134449 you have a way to contactrepparttar 134450 support staff. Just as important isrepparttar 134451 handling ofrepparttar 134452 issue needs to be fast and efficient. I wouldn't insist on a phone number, but an email or form interface with quick responses is essential.

Even if you don't have any particular reason to contact support, it's a good idea to send off a message occasionally just to see if they are onrepparttar 134453 ball.

Access to control panel - You should not use a host unless it gives you access to a well defined control panel. What does this do for you? It allows you to controlrepparttar 134454 features of your web site (account) from your web browser. For example, usingrepparttar 134455 menu you should be able to upload files, protect directories, add autoresponders and so on.

Excellent automation - This is perhaps one ofrepparttar 134456 more important features of a good host. Automation. You should be able to access everything you want from a well designed menu and do virtually anything without involving a human being.

Control of creating protected directories - Sometimes it doesn't seem important, but sooner or later you will almost certainly want to create a protected directory. This is a directory (or folder) on your web site which requires a username and password. Any good web host will allow you to do this directly from your account menu.

Error pages - I would not host my site anywhere I could not create my own 401, 403 and 404 errors pages. I likerepparttar 134457 idea of letting visitors know in a nice way when there is a problem. The better hosts allow these files to be maintained fromrepparttar 134458 control panel, although some simply allow you to edit your .htaccess file directly.

Reasonable performance - A web site must load quickly. It's hard enough to get page sizes down torepparttar 134459 point where they load reasonably quickly without your web host slowing things down.

Domain Parking - It's incredible useful to be able to park a domain on your web site. This can be useful for having several closely related domain names (internet-tips.net and internet-secrets.net for exmaple) as well as to just reserve domains for future use. A good host should be able to allow you to do this for at least a dozen domain names.

Your Own Name Servers

Written by Richard Lowe

I've gotten downright tired of moving my site again and again. It seems there are no competent hosting companies anywhere onrepparttar planet. I don't ask for much. In addition torepparttar 134443 usual features for a paid web host, I just want my site to be up and relatively quick. Downtime should be measured in hours per year, and at it's slowestrepparttar 134444 site should respond in less than half a second.

So far I haven't found a single hosting company that even comes close. I've tried about a dozen different firms, and they've all come up short. In fact,repparttar 134445 most important rule of any web host is violated on a regular basis time and again. The sites are down and very slow. Virtually anything else can be tolerated, except for downtime.

Finally I sat back one day and thought long and hard about my options. I was getting very frustrated with my current hosting company becauserepparttar 134446 server was timing out on occasion, causing my sites to become unavailable for a few minutes here and a few minutes there.

I started looking for hosts and saw a word that caught my eye. The word was "dedicated". Now that was a thought - a whole machine all to myself. There was some appeal to that thought, butrepparttar 134447 price was too high, or at least I thought so atrepparttar 134448 time.

Looking closer intorepparttar 134449 concept, I found a dedicated hosting service that was actually reasonably priced. For a couple of hundred dollars a month I had a web and mail server all to myself. Yes, I know that sounds high when compared to a shared hosting service, but remember this included an incredible amount of bandwidth, lots of disk space and plenty of power.

I paid forrepparttar 134450 first month and soon discoveredrepparttar 134451 server had it's own name server software. This meant I no longer had to deal with an ISP for name server services.

What's so good about that? Well, as an example, some time ago I wanted to install Bigmailbox on a site. This would have allowed my visitors to have a mailbox named "theirname@renaissancefaire.org". I thought this would be a pretty cool service to offer my visitors.

The ISP would not makerepparttar 134452 change necessary to install this feature. The change requires about 1 minute, yet they would not do it. Not even for a charge. With access to my own name server I could have made this change myself. It's very simple really. Just a one line modification.

Another thing I wanted to do on occasion is create subdomains. For example, wallpaper.renaissancefaire.org. This would allow me to create sites within sites in a logical, easy to remember format.

Most of my previous ISPs would not allow me to make these changes. One of them wanted to charge $10 per change. Ten dollars for a one minute modification. Now I can do this kind of thing myself, as often as I want.

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