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How To Choose The Best Webhoster

One of the most crucial decisions you will make for your website is selecting your web host. It's essential to choose the right host or all your hard work could be wasted or even worse, lost!

How do you choose from the plethora of web hosts available today? Will they hold your files to ransom when you come to transfer away? Can you be in full control of your account at all times?

With so many hosting businesses out there how can you ensure you choose one of the more reputable ones? Here are a few pointers that should help steer you in the right direction:

Step 1 Figure out what you want in a webhost first. Do you just want one to play around with and have one for your friends and family or do you want one for your local business or to create a way of making money online? Free web hosts will be fine to play around on but you will need something more if you want it for a business or making money online.

Step 2 Do they have an easy site builder system if you don't know any programming or anything about making websites? Most do these days. But be aware that most Site Builders provided by hosting companies are proprietary. They often work only on that hosting company's servers. If so, your site cannot be moved to another host without rebuilding from scratch.

Step 3 Do they have a cPanel, ispCP or ISPConfig with a system that will let you set up your own blog or forum with a few clicks? (cPanel, ispCP or ISPConfig, like others, is just a system that lets users access the files and website without knowing how to use ftp -file transfer protocol.) Many find this availability useful, but you must be aware it will do for small sites, not medium or big corporate ones, because of the difficulty to update.

Step 4 If you don't know anything about creating a website will they teach you what you need to know to get the site found and achieve the goal you have for the site?

Step 5 Get e-mail through the domain name of your website. It's best to go with a host that provides unlimited autoresponders, pop mailboxes, email aliases etc. These services are needed to stay in touch with your visitors, potential customers and indeed your past customers in the hope of back end sales. Using your_name@your_website_name.com also looks more professional and official.

Step 6 Investigate the uploading method. Using an online manager takes a lot longer when transferring large amounts of data. FTP provides more flexibility when managing your website. For the non-techies, always look out for a host that provides a good online manager, too.

Step 7 Track your website's progress with logs. Examples include Google Analytics, AWSTATS and Webalizer. If you are a serious entrepreneur, pay close attention to these. All good hosts will provide you with the ability to access your website logs via download.

Step 8 Leave room for growth with enough space. The amount of space good web hosts provide would matter if your website grows bigger than allowed. But do not overbuy. A common marketing trick of some hosting companies is to advertise huge "packages" such as 25gb or even more. The truth is, the vast majority of web sites will never use more than 1% of that space. It is just puffery. Moving hosts can be a pain. Avoid this with a little foresight and planning. Of course, if you're planning on a simple site, 5GB would be obviously a lot more than enough. Average websites don't even occupy over 50 MB.

Step 9 Test the speed of a host's network to your location by clicking start > run > type in "command" enter, and then type "ping hostdomainname.com" wait for it to finish and look for the average ping. The lower the number the better, and chances are the faster your site will load. Any number averaging around an 80 would be good. Anything over 100 is very bad except, of course, if the host is based in another country.

Step 10 Finally seek good customer service with lots of help pages and FAQ pages, 24/7 telephone support preferably toll free, 24-48 hours reply email support or chat is vital. Avoid a host that has a reputation for poor quality customer service. Check out their average response time and their true uptime guarantee.

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