To save time and headaches it’s important to keep several things in mind when looking for a Web host. First off is cost. It’s easy to be enticed by Web hosts that offer to host Web sites free of cost. However, it is vital to read the fine print to find out what are the hidden conditions.
Typically, free hosting is provided only for a trial period. Don’t sign an agreement without checking for this marketing ploy. Another concern is third party advertising. Many hosting companies make the money to host sites for free by placing ads on each site outside control of the Web hosts.
In case of shared or dedicated hosting it is important to find out whether a host offers a money back guarantee. Also the potential for additional charges on extra bandwidth, disc drive space or email accounts that may be needed for site growth should be investigated. Often, hosting companies charge steep rates for anything that is not part of the basic hosting package, relying upon low initial costs to draw in businesses and recouping the losses when those businesses grow and require additional services.
It is a good policy to read the reviews and customer feedback for any potential Web hosts. These are useful indicators of customer satisfaction and can provide invaluable insight. One point that there can be no quibbling about is 24×7 telephone support. Any technical problems that may arise, regardless of day or hour, will require an immediate point of contact between the site owner and the Web host.
If possible, visit the data center where the hosting company’s servers are kept. This makes it easy to determine the precise scale of the company’s operations. Strictly avoid hosting companies that run one or two servers only, as this is provides woefully inadequate backup capabilities. Rather, look for companies with enough hardware to easily and quickly switch servers one fails.
When it comes time to register a domain name, use only an ICANN certified domain registrar. During registration, double-check to ensure that only the owner’s name is listed as administrative contact with InterNIC for the domain name.
It is also imperative to check the sites hosted on the server. Avoid sharing a server with an adult content Web site. Such Web sites are notorious bandwidth hobs and will likely negatively impact the performance of any other site on that server. Also, some Web services that discourage adult content are known to blacklist every site on a server that hosts it.
Multi-layered security should be a requirement, as it works to protect Web sites from hackers. Even though the Web hosts are not strictly responsible for protecting their customer’s code, they should have contingency plans to protect sites from network attacks such as DNS poisoning, cross-site scripting, URL hijacking, spam and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.
Initially signing up for only a short-term contract is also a good idea. The arrangement can be made long-term whenever the host has proven to be worthy of a long-term arrangement. Any long-term contract should be written with careful attention to being flexible in regards to future growth.