How to decide on a Web Hosting Company

In order to decide which web hosting company is right for you, you need to know what you want your website to do and how you’re going to do it.

Control Panel-Administration : How easy or flexible are the controls when administering your website. Most web hosting companies have control panels via the web that allow you to easily perform changes to email, DNS, FTP, Site Statistics, CGI, Restricted Panels and more.

Feature Set : Be sure to choose a Host that offers the features that you will need. A list of important features are listed in our product comparison chart.

Price: With so many hosting services competing for your business today – you can purchase quality web space for very low monthly prices. Make sure that the plan and service is what you need for the money that you’re willing to spend. Price is always an important issue, but in today’s market, the amounts are low enough that price by itself should not be the main determining factor. You’re going to get what you pay for – don’t expect anything special from a free hosting service. If reliability, customer service and fast hosting are important to you, then you should be willing to pay a little each month for a good reputable hosting service. Free hosting services typically receive their revenue from advertising, which means that you are not the customer.

Customer Service and Technical Support: Probably one of the most differentiating characteristics of the many web hosting companies is the quality of customer support. Availability, professionalism, and response time are some of the characteristics that I looked for in ranking the Hosting solutions.

Choosing a Platform; Unix or Windows?: Both platforms offer the same functionality regarding email, auto responders, and performance. You will need to ask yourself what types of scripting, databases, and other features your will need for your site.

First things first – you do not need to be running UNIX or Windows on your own computer in order to use either platform. Your own computer’s operating system is irrelevant in making your choice. This means that if you run Macintosh OS X, you can choose Windows, or if you run Windows, you can choose UNIX.

YOU NEED UNIX IF: you are developing your site using: PHP, MySQL Databases or Python. YOU NEED WINDOWS IF: you are developing your site using: ASP, Access Databases or MSSQL.

Administration Control: UNIX is generally considered superior when it comes to administrative control. This is because its system allows for programming closer to the base of the programming hierarchy. In UNIX an experienced Webmaster or Web developer can fine-tune a website, using CGI scripts, to create applications and site features specific to their needs. In fact, some Web hosting services even offer free CGI scripting as part of their UNIX packages. You can still use programs like BlueVoda, ColdEdit, FrontPage and Dreamweaver or use site builders to develop and publish your site with UNIX. But the question is ‘how much administrative control do I really need?’ Many users do not need the kind of direct control that UNIX provides and are better off with the simpler, pre-prepared (and integrated) programming that Microsoft supplies for the Windows NT platform.

Platform Performance : You should not notice any performance difference; no matter what platform you choose. Most ‘techies’ will tell you that UNIX is a more stable and secure environment. However, Windows 2000 is the most reliable and secure product Microsoft has ever released.

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