Donít Pick a Stinky Host - Sniffing out Clues
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Start your research with the web hosting companyís own website. Does it contain all the information you need? Is it well organized? Does it look as if someone put some real care and thought into putting the site together, or does it look like tons of other sites youíve seen? Do all of the pages on the companyís website work? If the web hosting companyís own website makes you wrinkle your nose, how do you think it will handle yours?
If you are dealing with a reseller, you need to really put your nose to the research grindstone. There is nothing wrong with reseller web hosts, but you need to know how they work. A reseller does not own its own servers; it resells hosting space from another company. In that case, you should do a little research on that other company. You should also be prepared to ask some gently pointed questions of the reseller. You want to make sure the reseller will offer good support and is knowledgeable about the kinds of things likely to affect your website. This will vary with your needs, i.e. if you are using scripts on your pages. And while the reseller does not own its own servers, it should know them as well as if it did.
Be nosy about testimonials. Talk to other webmasters about the host. Ask the web host for a list of customers you can contact about their service. If they refuse to give you such a list, take that as a warning you may not want to deal with them.
This might be a good time to take your nose for bargains out of the equation. Weíre all attracted by the lowest price, but remember, just because itís cheap Ė or even free Ė doesnít mean itís going to suit your purposes. Yes, there are good deals out there, but there are also nightmares just waiting to happen. You need to consider a web hostís reliability, features, and customer support as well as the price.
Following up on that point, you might want to think twice before purchasing web hosting space in an auction. Often, there are so many terms and conditions attached to web hosting purchased in an auction that you will find you canít do much with it, beyond small static HTML pages. This isnít to say that this is always true, but it pays to read all the details before placing a bid. You might be better off paying more for an account directly from the company itself, which will probably carry fewer restrictions. At the very least, youíll be less likely to get your nose bent out of shape over not being able to do what youíd planned for your site.
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