Despite the common misconception, there are huge differences from one web hosting company to another. Don’t just grab the first host you come across. Take your time, do some research, and choose a host that works best for you. These hints should help:
Determine if your hosting provider offers the ability to run server-side scripts. Some free sites only offer pages that are static, which won’t allow you to write any of your own scripts. If you cannot find the kind of dynamic scripts you want to use, look for a paying plan instead.
Make sure you, and not your web host, controls your domain name. If you let your host control your domain name, you may be stuck with that host if you don’t want to change domains. Some unscrupulous hosts won’t release the domain info if you leave on bad terms. If you control the domain, you can point it at another host’s nameservers and start fresh.
If you are considering using a particular web hosting site, read reviews about it. Specifically, check for reviews written by users of the site’s hosting services. Just as you wouldn’t make a major electronics purchase without first checking out product reviews, nor should you bypass looking at reviews for web hosting sites you’re considering using. Doing this now can save you frustration further down the road.
Not only do you need to select a good web hosting company, but you need to select the right package. Usually the more expensive the package, the more bandwidth you receive as well as disk space. Disk space is important because it is where all of your pages and site information is stored. You need a large amount of disk space in order to have an advanced site.
Avoid choosing the cheapest web-hosting service out there, and certainly think long and hard before you go with a free one. If you are running a business online, your reputation can be severely damaged if you choose an unreliable hosting service. In addition, the free ones will often have advertisements that make it obvious you are not willing to pay for a basic service that is important to your livelihood.
It is important to understand the refund policy of your potential web host prior to making a commitment. A lot of web hosting packages will require you to sign up for a year at a time, or will offer significant discounts for making a long term commitment. You should make certain that you will be able to obtain a refund if the service is less than satisfactory. Certain packages may not allow refunds, or might have cancellation fees.
If you want to use a shopping cart software, make sure it is compatible with your web host. A good web host should support certain features such as Web scripting, dynamic content or executable files. These features will allow you to add different ways for your visitors to interact with your website, for instance by leaving feedback.
Now you really understand the difference between your average host and great companies that have racks filled with servers, all running dedicated memory for hosting your files. Review these tips when your contract is up for renewal, or whenever you’re ready to choose a better host.