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Ask Your Prospective Web Host the Right Questions
By: Terri Wells
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    Table of Contents:
  • Ask Your Prospective Web Host the Right Questions
  • Framing the Email
  • Customer Satisfaction Questions
  • “Ownership” Questions

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    Ask Your Prospective Web Host the Right Questions - Customer Satisfaction Questions

    (Page 3 of 4 )

    As with the purchase of any important service, you want to get a second opinion. Ask the host if you may visit other sites that they host; go ahead and tell them that you want to see the websites and email the owners. Be suspicious if the host gets cagy about answering this question. Obviously, you want to find out if their other customers are satisfied with their service, and what kinds of problems (if any) the host’s customers have experienced. Pay particular attention to any websites whose profiles are similar to your own.

    Find out what type of support the web host offers. The more ways you have to contact the host for support, the better. Email and phone are typical, but these days many also include IM. What are the host’s support hours? Is there a limit to customer/technical support (i.e. number of calls)? What is the average response time?

    Ask the host whether they host adult websites. This isn’t for the reasons you might think. If you aren’t planning to have an adult site hosted, you’re better off not sharing a server with them—not because it’s a “bad” neighborhood, but because adult websites consume a lot of resources. Any website that forces that much of a load on the servers is going to slow everybody down; visitors to your website will be happier if you’re not competing for bandwidth with digital flesh.

    Speaking of server load, ask the host how many sites are currently running on their server. Also ask how many more sites they plan to put on it before they consider it full. You want to find out how they decide when a server is full. Many web hosts oversell their servers. This isn’t a problem until some sites start actually using the full amount of space and/or bandwidth for which they’ve contracted; then it bites with a vengeance.

    Ask to view the host’s Terms of Service. Read it completely, and I do mean completely. If you find any small print or hidden rules, ask a few questions about these areas. It’s a good test to see whether the host’s customer service representatives have received the proper training about the company’s servers. You want to make sure you’re dealing with knowledgeable staff.

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