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How To Choose The Right Web Hosting Company

In today's competitive world, it is vital to have your own business web site. Businesses with their own web site are taking more seriously by customers, as they project professionalism and credibility. However, choosing the right web hosting company is a vital factor in determining your potential growth. This technical brief will cover all aspects on this and assist you with choosing the right Web Hosting Company.

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Choosing The Proper Domain Name

Your can consider your internet domain name to be equivalent to owning your own personal territory on the Internet, to which you have full access and control over. Thus, it is very important that you choose a domain name that contains the name of your business, if it is available. For instance, if the name of your business is called Candlestick, you would try to register the domain name: http://www.candlestick.com, as it contains your company's name. Another benefit of choosing your company's name, is that you automatically receive E-mail addresses relevant to your business, such as: firstname@candlestick.com. This not only allows you to receive E-mail for your business, but also allows you to promote your business as well. Therefore, you definitely want to act quickly because domain names are vanishing by the minute.

Registering Your Domain Name

Domain can be registered for any of the top level Domains that end with the extensions: "Com" (for commercial type entities), "Edu" (for colleges and universities), "Net" (for other entities and network information centers) and "Org" (for non-profit organizations) etc. Your web hosting company will usually register your domain for you. The current registration fee varies and today one can usually register their domain name for around $9.95 per year. This is a separate fee and does not include any web hosting.

Choosing The Proper Web Hosting Company

Remember the questions you asked yourself when you were looking for a wholesaler to supply you with materials for your business? Well these same questions apply toward choosing a good web hosting company. You want to know about their reputation and reliability. You want to know if they are going to be around for a while, as you are entrusting them with your business home in Cyberspace. You want to pay close attention to the new guy that springs up offering you extremely low prices such as $2.95 per month. This is important because if they go down so will your site. Luckily, there are web sites that provide you with a listing of superior web hosting companies. They are "Top Hosts" at www.tophosts.com, "Host Index" at www.hostindex.com and the "Ultimate Web Host List" at www.webhostlist.com.

Getting The Proper Services

The next point is whether or not your hosting company will charge you an additional fee for registering your domain name. The basis rule to apply is that if you are going to pay a company to host your web site for you, than they should register your domain name without an additional fee. You also want to ensure that you receive a unique Internet Protocol number for your domain. IP numbers are part of a global, standardized scheme for identifying machines connected to the Internet. Lastly, there are some hosting companies that will charge you separate setup fees for web usage statistics. A good hosting company will not charge you for web statistics and will provide you with an area to view them whenever you choose.

I would like you to visualize that your personal domain is really equivalent to owning your own personal territory on the internet, to which you have full access and control over. Well, how much access and control does your web hosting company offer you? A good hosting company will provide you with 24-hour access to all areas of your site and also to your account information as well. You want a company that will provide you with your own and easy to use Control Panel that will allow you to add or delete email accounts, change vital passwords on the fly, set up automatic email forwarding and allow you to view you web site's usage statistics. These 24-hour accessible options are extremely important because you do not want to wait on the phone with technical support people guiding them through your required changes.

The Subject of E-Mail

Next comes the subject of E-mail accounts. You want a company that offers you at least 10 or more different E-mail accounts, all of which contain their own user names and passwords. I had mentioned earlier that upon registering your domain name, you would automatically be assigned a default E-mail address for your business. This is usually your firstname@domain-name.com. However, this one business E-mail address can create a huge problem if your business is equipped with different departments that are headed by different personnel. With 10 or more different E-mail accounts, each department can have its own E-mail address such as marketing@domain-name.com or sales@domain-name.com etc. This allows your business to operate much more efficiently and gives you the ability to adjust for future expansion.

You also want a company that provides an E-mail forwarding protection scheme known as star addressing. In short, if an email is sent to a user name that is no longer assigned to your many E-Mail addresses, the E-Mail will then be automatically forwarded to the default account. Lastly, if for the time being, you would like to have all received e-mail forwarded to one account, you want to make sure that the web hosting company has this option available for you. This feature is known as Unlimited E-mail Forwarding.

Auto Responders And Remote E-Mail Management

An E-Mail auto responder is an automated program provided by your web hosting company that allows information and acknowledgements to be automatically forwarded to individuals making certain inquiries within your web site. For instance, you can have an area of your web site that allows someone to ask for specific information about your company or its credentials. And when that area is clicked upon, your predefined company information will be automatically sent to the individual instantly. You can use auto responders to have an automatic E-mail sent to anybody E-mailing you or an automatic thank you E-mail for filling out a survey. This is a great feature as it can increase the efficiency of your customer service department. A good web hosting company will provide you with E-Mail Auto Responder capability.

As stated earlier, it is important to have your own and easy to use Control Panel that will allow you to manage your E-Mail accounts and set up automatic E-Mail responders on the fly. This Remote E-Mail Management option is vital especially in the area of auto responders. Because as your business grows and expands, the information in your auto responders will need to be updated to compensate your expansion.

Data Transfer And File Transfer Protocols

Whenever your web site is accessed, data is transferred from your web hosting company to the viewer's browser. This requires a specific amount of bandwidth also known as internet pipeline. The main reason you need a web hosting company is that they will be managing this internet bandwidth for you. For instance, an average web page today contains about 200 kilobytes of information, including the text and graphics. Therefore, you want a company that will provide you with at least a 100,000 Megabyte per month bandwidth limit. In simple English, every time your web site is accessed it is using internet bandwidth. Therefore, with a 100,000 Megabyte per month limit, you will be allowed to have that 200 kilobytes page accessed by 500,000 visitors. Thus, your internet bandwidth is determined by the size of your pages and the number of times your pages are accessed. Therefore, it is important to choose a hosting company that offers a high amount of bandwidth so your visitors can continually access your site.

File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is the method you use to transfer your web site information files to you web hosting account. Your web hosting company should allow you to make unlimited changes to your web site whenever you choose. You should have the unlimited ability to update your web site anytime you want without charge. However, you will need an FTP software program, such as Winsock FTP, to transfer your files. This software can be obtained at www.ipswitch.com etc.

Anonymous FTP allows users to access a special FTP portion of a web site in order to download or upload files such as business forms etc. The access is anonymous, which means that anyone can access this area without a user name and password. You may have representatives in the field who may need to receive certain business forms or applications while they are servicing clients. By using anonymous FTP, the field representatives will have the ability to download this information and print it at their location.

Internet Platforms

Your web hosting company should give you the choice of using NT Machine or UNIX for your internet platform. Both platforms work well, but there are some advantages and disadvantages of each that should be considered. The NT Machine platform will allow you to use Microsoft FrontPage Extensions, Active Server Pages, Visual Basic Applications, Microsoft Access Databases and Microsoft SQL Databases. UNIX platforms will allow you to use your hosting company's Automatic Shopping Cart Generator and the PHP Programming Language. However, you will not be able to install FrontPage Extensions on UNIX platforms. You will be able to use FrontPage to create your web site, but you will not be able to use FrontPage to transfer your files to the live server. Your web hosting company will explain these differences to you.

Secured Communications And Transactions

A standard has been established for secure transmissions of confidential information over the Internet. It is called Secure Socket Layer (SSL). SSL Server Access allows secure communications to transpire safely over the Internet for your business clients. This is extremely important for anyone considering conducting their business online and for establishing customer trust. Therefore, you should choose a web hosting company that either allows you shared use of their SSL server or allows you to have your own personal SSL server. Netscape Communicator, Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Internet Explorer are able to view all secured areas of any web site and each browser will inform you upon entering the secured area.

PGP encryption is the standard encryption method used today and is the industry standard. E-Mail transmissions can be encrypted to maintain complete privacy and conduct your business securely. Let's say that you want to email secure data that you captured through your SSL server. You can perform this task with confidence if you use PGP encryption to ensure that the Email is confidential. Your web hosting company should have this protection feature and be able to set this up for you.

Password Protection And Data Backups

The last point to cover is password protection and data backups. The previously discussed Control Panel feature of your hosting company will let you manage password protection for specific areas of your web site from anywhere in the world. It will also give you the ability to place user names and passwords on specific directories on your web site. This will let you limit specific access to certain users. Your password protected area will only be available for those who you authorize to view the section. Lastly, you definitely want a web hosting company that performs Daily Tape Backups of their web servers to safeguard their information in case of any major catastrophe. Be sure to ask them how they safeguard their information.

My Personal Recommendation

My personal recommendation, without question, goes out to PowWeb Hosting. They are a superior web hosting company. All of the vital topics discussed in this technical brief are covered by PowWeb Hosting. Therefore, go ahead and give them a visit by clicking on their featured package. You will not regret it!

Try Powweb
2168 South Atlantic Blvd., Suite 232, Monterey Park, CA 91754 USA
Sales: 877 476-9932 | Fax: 310 248-2399 | Website: www.Powweb.com
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