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Can you trust your web host?
©2005 Julie Ryals - TheDesignShoppe.com

How well do you know how well your web host is handling their business? Basic facts are that it costs a minimum of $3,000 a year for a well maintained server. That cost doesn't include cPanel licensing, Fantastico privileges, Secure Certificates and any regular maintenance fees that a host incurs to maintain their servers. Do the math and try to figure out how much they'd have to charge per client to keep low monthly fees. Or even worse, do the math and try to figure out how many clients they are putting on one server to make that profit!

Today, you can buy a hosting business for like $29.95 per year off ebay. Anyone can do that. But, what do you get? You'll get a host that either goes down often because they have to overload a server to make any type of profit. You could be buying into a company that goes out of business without any notice. You could be buying into a company that is overseas and you have no recourse.  They could just get bored with it and go offline.

Hosting companies that offer web hosting for let's say: $3.95 per month for 1,000MB of web space, are a dime a dozen. Multiply that out as to how many accounts would be on that server to make a profit. Most hosting clients only use 50MB of space per account. Those that offer an ungodly amount of space is banking that you will not use it. Anytime you see rates like that, let that be a red flag to you. Unlimited bandwidth is one of the more popular ploys that some companies use in order to attract your business. It's worked on this principle: the vast majority of web site hosting clients will not be big bandwidth users, therefore lowering the average bandwidth usage across the entire client base. Meaning, they "count" on you not using it.

This situation allows hosting companies some room to move and if a few clients use a few hundred MB's above the average, it's no real problem. But if you start using a few gigs or more above the average, they will start getting nervous quickly. All bandwidth costs money and it's anywhere from around $3.00 to $5.00 a gig depending on the company's upstream provider.

Bottom line: For the companies that offer "unlimited bandwidth" hosting, it is not in their interest to have clients that will actually use appreciable bandwidth.

Try testing this out. The next time you visit an unlimited bandwidth company web site, send a note to their sales department stating that you are interested in using their services and that your site uses 50GB a month. They'll have to lie to get you as a customer. They may not even reply.

The "Unlimited Disk Space" offer is much like the unlimited bandwidth scam. All disk space must be paid for by the company and if you greatly exceed their user average, you may find that you cannot upload any more files once you reach their "reasonable use" limits. Worse still, they may see you as being a problem and drop your account altogether - without warning. Ask them how many hosted accounts are on one server. Ask them how much total disk space is currently used on one server. Hopefully they will be honest and tell you.

One big thing to make sure is that the hosting company that you trust your business to will be around. Make sure that your host is not just an affiliate of a hosting company. There is a fairly big mom site out there right now offering web hosting. It's an affiliate program! It's branded to make it look like they are a host and even has their logo. At anytime, the issuing company can drop the affiliate program. Who will you contact? If you are with a reseller, make sure they are dependable. If they do not pay their server bill, your site is shut down along with everyone under their reseller plan. Again, who do you contact? You've paid your reseller. They took your money. The server hasn't been paid, so your site is not put back up unless you pay the server owners!

Things to help you by checking out your potential new host or checking up on your current one:
1. Verify who they are in any whois lookup. If they hide their name, address or phone - forget that one.
2. How long have they been in business. Remember that a domain could of been bought years ago yet only made active months prior.
3. Client testimonials. Do they have any that are not just stuff like "Sally H says" or "Susie Q says"? Verifiable links are best.
4. Ask some of the important questions above regarding MB of space and Bandwidth usage if the plan rates don't match up.
5.  What type of server would you be on?  The language your site is written in makes a different.  If at all possible, it's best to stay away from a windows-based server.  You can do a search online and see thousands of potential reasons to stay away from ASP coded web sites.
6.  Do they have a site builder?  Easy site builder programs are a great way to lure in new clients.  BUT... many are not transferable.  It means that the host technically owns your site.  You can move hosts, but only your domain name and content.  You cannot move the "easy site builder". 
7.  Know if where the host gets their servers are even in this country! 
8. Last and most important: If it looks to good to be true - it probably is. Do the math.
9.  There is no such thing as "unlimited" in web hosting!

I hope this information helps at least one person online. Remember you are trusting your whole online business to a web host. Go with someone who has a verifiable track records as stated above. Of course, we recommend ourselves! We are dependable, reliable and affordable! With a track record to prove it.

Julie Ryals is owner of her own web company called www.TheDesignShoppe.com.  Her company is not a reseller nor an affiliate of someone else. She has been in business online for nearly 10 years. She has a management team that maintain her servers to the highest security standards 24/7. She has an experienced staff with each having a minimum of 5 years experience in web design, web hosting and technical support. They also give back online and support moms in business by owning, maintaining and yes, web hosting the very popular non-profit organization: www.MomPack.com.
 
 
 



 
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