The vast array of new web hosting services on the market today can be more than a little overwhelming. There are thousands of web hosting services from which to choose. Because of all the choices, it has become increasingly difficult for the beginner to decide what web host will serve them best. Choosing your e-commerce hosting service basically comes down to the features the company offers and their customer service, which, especially for people new to setting up web sites and blogs, is extremely important. This article endeavors to cover some of the important issues you need to be aware of when choosing a web host.
First, a caveat regarding free web hosting: you may be tempted by free web hosting but these services offer very little in the way of features and almost nonexistent customer support. Good customer support cannot be stressed enough when you’re starting out in e-commerce. You will have problems and you’ll need a real live person who can help you. Cut-rate and cheap web hosting services aren’t much better. If you want to be successful you’ll avoid these kinds of web hosting services. Diving into e-commerce requires enough effort as it is; you don’t want added hassles from your service provider. If you’re serious about e-commerce on the Web, you need to start off with the right tools. The company you choose to provide your web hosting is one of these tools, and it can be the difference between failure and success.
Again, your web host’s customer support can make all the difference in the world. Quality customer service can make or break you. It’s what separates a good host from a bad host. One of the things you should look for in a hosting company is if it provides customer support 24 hour, 7 day a week availability with a toll-free number. You have to be able to get help whenever you need it. If you have just a few simple questions, the answers should be easily locatable on the web host’s site. If time isn’t of the essence, then you should be able to email customer support and receive a response within a day, if not hours. If you have more involved questions, there should be a toll-free number and friendly informative staff available at all times. Many hosts offer online support in the form of instant messaging. Being able to “chat” with a customer service representative is an excellent feature.
The next thing you need to determine is how much disk storage and bandwidth you’ll need for your online enterprise. If it’s a relatively simple affair then you should select a relatively small plan. Someone who just wants to put up an informative page about their business won’t need as much from their host as someone who intends to supply images, video, and audio. As always, it’s important to decide what you need and then base your decisions on that.
Remember, you’ll also want to give yourself room to grow. Read the company’s user terms and policies. If you’re contracted to stick with a certain plan for a certain amount of time, make sure that it gives you room to expand your site. Maybe your site will be more successful than you planned. How bad would it be if your site starting getting tons of visitors but you had a cheap plan, with little storage and bandwidth, and then your host shut it down for exceeding its limits? If you’re not sure what you’ll need, start out with the low-level plan from a good company, but don’t sign on for a year or two at once. Stick with monthly plans or make sure you can change yours at any time so you can adjust to unforeseen popularity.
Along with the amount of disk storage and bandwidth, make sure you check your hosts data transfer rate and uptime. It won’t do you much good if you choose a service with slow speeds and frequent crashes. Reliability and speed are of the utmost importance when doing business on the internet. It’d be like if you had a great store but the power kept going out and you closed randomly.
Another feature to look at is the control panel offered by the company. The control panel allows you to manage your web site and keep track of activity. It allows you to check your bandwidth and disk storage. It also lets you see what your customers are doing. The control panel should be intuitive and informative. It should provide more information than the novice knows what to do with so it can grow with you, but it should be easy to interface with at the same time.
The web hosting company you choose should be well-established, have the right hardware, and it should provide the appropriate tools for their clients. Research the issues and avoid second-rate web operations. Once you get past the initial bump in the learning curve, you’ll find that doing business on the web can be easy and extremely profitable.