Affordable web hosting services are legion on the Web these days. Can you just pick one and
run with it?
Not if you value your Web business! As all true Web veterans know - many having learned
the hard way - web hosting providers vary tremendously in terms of reliability and value.
And many if not most of your worst headaches as an ecommerce pro can come from choosing
a loser at the outset of your Web endeavors.
May I mention just a few of the experiences I've had with a certain web host (which I won't
name) before switching to a more reliable company? Frequent downtime. Busy signal when
calling customer service. Customer service reps who barely speak English. Continual
technical issues with the company's servers that mess up the site, cause order forms to
malfunction, or take the whole site down.
Another serious problem you can run into is inadequate functionality (such as inability to
support PHP, MySQL, CGI, Perl, etc.). Note: CGI, in particular, is vital. CGI, or Common
Gateway Interface, is used in developing order forms on your site. You can't conduct much
ecommerce without order forms!
What about inadequate bandwidth or disc space? You should make sure the hosting company
package you choose provides at least 200 GB bandwidth and at least 25 G disc space.
Other useful features you should look for include: statistics reporting (number, kind, and
origin of visitors to your site per day, week, month, year, etc.); website development
software; both Unix and Windows functionality; and an adequate number of ema il accounts
(at least 25).
Following is a checklist that may be helpful in choosing a virtual hosting service. (Note:
virtual simply meaning you're renting space on a server, as opposed to renting an entire
server). This checklist applies to small ecommerce and company websites just starting out. If
you're expecting a huge amount of traffic you'll need more disc space and bandwidth than
indicated in the table. But for nearly all new sites the following amounts are are more than
adequate and can be easily adjusted upward later if needed.
Disk Space: at least 25 GB
Bandwidth: at least 200 GB
Reliability: At least 99 percent uptime
Support: 24 hours a day 7 days a week
Cost: No more than $15 a month if you're looking for affordable web hosting services
Both Unix and Windows hosting (Some more complex applications require Windows.)
MySQL and Perl functionality
At least 25 email accounts available
Statistics reporting: Number of visitors to your site and to its individual pages, page views,
Of course, your hosting package should should also have a Cpanel (control panel) and FTP
access included, but virtually all hosting companies provide those features. However, below
are a few less common features you may need. These are not necessa ry but, for some sites,
Audio streaming: Will this be offered by your site? Then you'll need a lot more bandwidth.
Encrypted passwords: Provide better security.
Domain Names: Some affordable web hosting services provide free domain names.
To sum up: Don't jump at the first WEB HOSTING FOR $4.95 ad you see! The reliability
and features of affordable web hosting services vary enormously. Research this subject
before you make your decision. A bad decision will hinder your Web efforts greatly while a
good one will make everything a whole lot easier.
This article serves as only a very brief intro to the subject of choosing an affordable web
hosting service. For a more thorough discussion, as well as an objective price and features
comparison of major affordable web hosting services, visit our site Web Search Guides at