7 Features to look for in your web host

by John Neyman

A web host allows you to put your websites on their servers so that people can access it. There are lots of web hosting companies around. Some have their own servers while others are resellers. Each web host provides you with different plans or packages. You should be very careful, while selecting your host or a particular plan. Most people pay high attention to content and website design and overlook the selection of a proper web host. Many times, they end up selecting a plan that costs more than their needs. Here are seven features that you should look at, while selecting your host or a plan.

1) Disk Space: Each hosting plan offers different amount of disk space. The price is directly proportional to disk space offered. So select a plan that provides you with enough disk space to host your web site. Also, make sure how much you should pay for each additional MB of space in case you need extra.

2) Scripting Languages: You should make sure that your hosting plan supports all the scripting languages that are used in your web application. For example, if your site is created using PHP and Perl, than you must make sure that your host supports both, PHP as well as Perl. Another example is that you cannot use Linux host for websites created in ASP.NET. Also, make sure to look at the version of scripting languages supported by your host. This is extremely important, as some scripts written in PHP 5, do not work in PHP 4.

3) Database: If your web application has a database backend, than you must make sure that your hosting plan provides you with required number of databases. Apart from number of databases provided, it should also provide you with the same database management system that’s used in your web application. You might end up struggling to get your web application running, if your script uses PostgreSQL and you are provided with MySQL database.

4) Uptime: Go for a host that guarantees at least 99% uptime. To provide you with the guarantee of such uptime, your web host should have power generators (Diesel generators), backup systems and connectivity to multiple Internet backbones.

5) 24/7 Support: Make sure that your host provides you with 24/7 support by phone, email or live chat. This is most important if your business totally relies on your website. Your host must give you immediate support in case of emergencies; else you could lose your customers.

6) FTP Support and Online File Manager: FTP helps you in uploading your site quickly and setting permissions to your files and folders. Some hosts provide online file manager, which you can access directly from your account control panel (CPanel). Make sure that your host allows more than one FTP account. This will help you if you need to hire someone to maintain your website. Having more than one FTP account allows you to create a separate account for him rather than sharing your login details.

7) SSL Support: If you are going to host an e-commerce application, than make sure that your host provides you with SSL support. SSL certificate guarantees your users that their credit card information is not accessible to packet sniffers. Your host should have 24/7 monitoring facility of all incoming requests to prevent security breach. Before selecting your web host, take some time and go through all the features that are provided by your candidate hosts. Compare their prices. Call them up or email and clarify all your doubts. This will also show you how quick they are in responding to your requests. Stay away from hosts that claim to provide unlimited bandwidth. Do not select a host just because of their cheap hosting plan. If you have no choice but to go for a cheap web hosting than make sure that they provide you with guaranteed uptime and proper support.

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