What You Should Know About Web Hosting

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If you're like most online entrepreneurs, web hosting really doesn't interest you unless there's a problem that shuts down your website, e-mail, web analytics, etc. However, that could be a mistake given all that rides on the stability and performance of this most crucial of Internet Marketing-related services.

Unlike its humble and somewhat geekie/techie origins when 'Mom and Pop' web hosts and academia ruled the scene, today's web hosts are sophisticated businesses with several of them achieving mainstream notoriety in the past decade.

As such, the industry's maturity has been accompanied by a number of issues and increased scrutiny like no other time in the digital communications era.

Many of us are web-hosting customers who host our own websites, and increasingly it seems as though we aren't getting the satisfaction from the companies we entrust to handle our online presence. Needless to say, this can have a negative or even catastrophic effect on our ability to perform as entrepreneurs, and consequently our business reputations (company brand).

Proactive online entrepreneurs always know what web hosting services they are paying for, no matter how technical the details are. For those just starting out and veteran Internet marketers alike, here are several of the key issues to focus on when dealing with a web-host.

See Also: Top 5 Cheapest Web Hosts for Your Online Business

1. Understand the Web Hosting Services Offered

These days, third party automation tools like cPanel and others rule the roost, and have been instrumental in expanding the web hosting market in the World Wide Web (WWW) era.

Accelerated standardization across the industry means that a reputable service should be able to walk you through the basic operations and point you in the right direction should you need to upgrade or use more advanced options or need specialized services, such as an optimized Wordpress hosting account.

2. Web Hosting Infrastructure

Most hosting companies offer either Linux (Apache) or Windows-based servers to house your files. The vast majority of customers share space on these servers, although other options like virtual private servers, virtual private network (VPN), dedicated servers, and dedicated IP exist for medium and larger-sized businesses.

See Also: How to Select and Register a Domain Name for Your Website

3. Web Hosting Customer Service

As technology across the board becomes more and more standardized, web-hosting companies must increasingly compete on the basis of its customer care quality. You as a business owner should leverage this knowledge to demand the services and attention you deserve. Price is increasingly being superseded by customer service as a deciding factor to stay with a web hosting company.

Hosting companies that offer 24/7 customer support (such as Bluehost and GoDaddy) are going to be the winners. Smart databases, forums, and ticketing systems are good supplemental services, but there is no substitute for the human touch.

At the same time, be weary of overselling, e.g. the promise of unlimited bandwidth and other goodies that sound good but may in fact be totally irrelevant to your needs.

 

4. Start Small and Grow

The safest way to test the waters may be to opt for a basic, one-year plan without any bells and whistles. Linux-based servers should be good enough unless you have Windows-specific demands (e.g. SQL Server, .NET frameworks). Choose a package that satisfies your security, e-mail marketing, and e-commerce requirements.

Estimate your growth over the short to medium term, and look for a plan that offers a type of tiered growth without necessarily having to upgrade right away.

Final Thoughts on Web Hosting

Web hosting is paradoxically simple and complex. Any number of well-known (see our BlueHost review and our list of the top 5 budget friendly web hosts) and not so well-known companies can satisfy your Internet Marketing needs as you start out with your business. The real test for you will be to develop a solid and mutually beneficial relationship that accompanies your growth – not hinder it.