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Unbiased Step-by-step Guide on Web-Hosting

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Unbiased Step-by-step Guide on Web-Hosting
copyright (c) Pavel Lenshin

No more speeches about importance of your own domain, no
more talks about necessity of having paid hosting. If you
think your brand domain name and stable hosting with a
number of features and absence of ads are not worth, at
least, $50-$150 per year, then you probably want to play
games, rather than build online business.

Choosing hosting provider is something similar to choosing
the place of your off-line office. Despite the fact that it
is as easy to enter the URL and go to web-site that is
physically located in Sidney as in Oslo, the final role here
plays the speed of connection and stability of the hosting
itself.

The problem with hosting comes down to the old statute of
running ebusiness - that is RESEARCH before ACT!
The easiest thing to do online is to pay money, the hardest
is to THINK OVER what I'm paying for! That statement is true
with hosting also because you can pay, let's say, $35
monthly for some particular hosting service, without notice
that in two mouse clicks there is an hosting offer providing
two times better services all for $15 per month only, so you
will keep on losing services as well as $20 monthly that
accumulates up to $240 annually losses as a Fee for not
doing hosting research!
Besides you should keep your eyes open for very good
discounted offers that could save you 30-50% for the first
year of payments.

Phase I - Determining NEEDS

1. Estimate your ebusiness basic requirements: total
web-space needed, monthly bandwidth (approximate traffic
volume multiplied by the most visited web-pages' total size)
and ability to run CGI scripts as a must for every
ebusiness.

If it is content rich web-site and example of your first
year of hosting may look like this:
30-50Mb of disc space;
500Mb-1Gb of monthly bandwidth;
cgi-bin to be able to run your own scripts an
offer additional services;

If it is sales web-site, your first year of hosting should
be something similar to these requirements:
50-300Mb of disc space depending on how much info
products you are going to sell and therefore upload on your
server;
1-3Gb of monthly bandwidth;
cgi-bin to be able to run your own scripts an
offer additional services;

In particular case with one-two ebooks and three-four pages
sales web-site, 10Mb of storage space with 500Mb of monthly
bandwidth, in general, is more than enough, if you are not
going to expand it, so look closely and examine your
potential but remember: you ALWAYS have a chance to expand,
but you will NOT be able to get your money back if you
overpay for services or web-space you don't need. That is
called efficient ebusiness running.

2. Determine additional services that are necessary or
preferably to have. Consider among them the following:
- Email aliases
- URL Redirects
- Web Mail
- FTP access/ FTP Accounts
- Web control panel
- Graphic statistics
- Custom error pages
- POP3 Accounts
- Sub-domains
- Autoresponders
- Mailing List(s)
- Password protected directories
- MYSQL database(s)
- Perl
- PHP
- SSI
and
- marketing info & support
- promotional help (SE submissions, free banner impressions)
- shopping cart
- chat
- forum

3. Plan your hosting expenses beforehand. Usually the
amount you pay depends on the amount of services you choose,
but not always as there are hosting providers, which offer
identical services for totally different money. The saying
that "You get what you paid for" is not necessarily true,
especially what concerns high profit margins internet
business. Although hosting service is not pure online as it
involves some physical computer systems to be installed,
nevertheless paying more for less is extremely possible. In
other words, know your budget.

Phase II. Selecting the ONLY ONE!

1. Those who start looking for proper place or business
web-site should have one or several possible costs in view
that you knew or met positive feedback about. For now just
make a note of them and put aside, we will come back for
them in the step 3.

2. Now it is time to search among hundreds of offers.
Accomplish your search by filling online forms at:

http://www.google.com
http://www.hostcompare.com
http://www.findmyhosting.com
http://www.findwebspace.com
http://www.hostsearch.com/search_main.asp

Click on advanced/enhanced search option if available, input
all your approximate criteria that we determined at the
first phase and here we go! Tens if not hundreds of wannabe
your host providers at your computer screen in less than a
minute.

3. Narrow your search by selecting first en (or more if you
have the will and spare time) on every search site page(s)
result.
Now you should have 50 (or more) host providers as a result
of host searching and 2-5 hosting companies you heard and
knew about before.

In the next step we will start to compare all of them in
order to choose the one that deserves your hard-earned
money. This task is being accomplished by simple viewing and
testing each of the host providers' web-site. How to test
and what things to pay close attention to are explained
below, but first eliminate all double hosts if there are
any.

4. Knowing your potential market will help you to
differentiate some of the host providers by selecting those
who are physically located closer to your market. If your
auditory is mainly English speaking people then you should
think about choosing servers that are located in US. If you
are a German restaurant owner running web-site for local
market it is not critical, but preferable to put your
web-site to web servers that are located in Germany, not in
US. I have mentioned web servers instead of hosting
providers on purpose, because the hosting provider itself
may be located and registered in one place, but having their
servers co-located in other city or country, like my own
provider situated in Moscow, but the web-site they host,
physically co-located at their US servers.
If you provide universal services (like web-design) and
shoot for the global markets offering Multilanguage site,
then physical location of host provider is subsidiary.

5. Then we will remove absolute "losers". The first
criterion they won't pass is the look of their web-site. Is
it professional or there are amateurish colors with 3 or
more banners? If you think the price of their site design is
not even worth $100 you may close their site and forget
about them. By doing so, you distinguish profitable host
providers from those that don't even have $300-1000 to
invest in the professional look of their web-site.
You may not even read what they wrote on their sites as
their appearances tell ten times more about their businesses
than no words can.

6. Check technical specifications of the hosting servers
that are being offered for your shared hosting. Needless to
say that Pentium III 450 Mhz with 1 Gb of RAM, for instance,
is worse than Pentium IV 2.2 Ghz with 4 Gb of RAM. Outer
channels bandwidth and speed can also give you the image of
how established the host provider is.
You may not need to know all specifications of routers,
connectors or other devices, just ask for specific numbers
that are easy to compare. That analysis will also tell what
hosts are worth further testing and what aren't.

7. We also need to reassure that our web-site as well as all
possible databases won't be vanished due to power supply
overload, virus, fire etc. It is important to check what
kind of maintenance conditions they offer.
- Do they provide 99,9% uptime guarantee?
- What kind of independent power supply they offer?
- Is there automatic back up option?
- Do they have fire and humidity control systems?

Some host providers wouldn't even bother to tell you about
these control systems. You know what to do with them - they
go off the list!

8. Next stage is to send them a prewritten email asking for
some question. It may be some purposeful inquiry or
imaginary one just for testing task. Those who failed to
response in 24 hours are off the list also. Remember, that
email, due to the "unstable nature" of the internet, may not
be even delivered, so write for the second time, if no
response again, than they aren't worth the ink to spend on
them by crossing their web-site address out of the list :0)
Just carefully tear them out :0)

9. The last test that we run is to check the connection
speed of the remaining hosts. You should know how fast the
response of your web-site will be.

Two online services would help us in fulfilling this task,
namely:
http://www.netmechanic.com/server_check/site_monitoring.htm
this one will check a particular server within 8 hours and
email you the report.

http://www.webhostdir.com oolkit/comparehosts.asp allows to
compare 4 hosts simultaneously by entering 4 domain names of
respective web-sites.

I would suggest testing each host twice. First time to check
the response rate of their corporate web-sites, and second
time by comparing speed of their clients' web-site as there
may be a big difference. Just make sure clients are using
approximately the same shared hosting plans.

That is all. By now you should have several options, your
gold, silver and bronze hosting winners. You can go ahead in
setting up your web-site with anyone you prefer more. Don't
lose the rest though, as they may prove to be useful in case
some collision occurs with your present "winner".
Last thing. When your web-site is online, don't just forget
to create additional page for providing your new service -
expert analysis of selecting web-hosting. :0)

About the Author

Pavel Lenshin is publisher and web-designer, who offers:
+ Powerful package on how to run Private Info Business
+ Free subscription to the unique NET Business Magazine
+ Free Optimization Report of your Website
http://www.InfoAlchemist.com

www.homeincome.com

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