It was the best of hosts, it was the worst of hosts - Mid-Range and Above
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The next type of paid web host is what I refer to as a "mid-range" web host, meaning that they offer prices and service that will satisfy the majority of web sites out there. Mid-range web hosts like PowWeb, Your-Site.com and iPowerWeb offer packages ranging from $5 to $8 per month and provide the tools that most webmasters will need to run a web site, such as: CGI-BIN, tons of e-mail addresses, FTP support, visitor statistics and more. These hosts do have monthly bandwidth limits, but the limits are quite high, and most web sites will never reach them. However, if your web site features hundreds of file downloads and gets decent traffic you may be shocked at how soon you'll reach those bandwidth limits. When you do, your site may be temporarily shut down or you'll have to pay bandwidth overage charges, which can get pricey. Overall though, mid-range web hosts will be satisfactory for 90% of the web sites out there, and generally offer excellent uptime/reliability. In fact, many web-based businesses are successfully run using a mid-range web host. However, as mentioned previously, web sites that offer large files for download or sites that get a huge amount of traffic may find that a mid-range host doesn't quite suit their needs. These types of web sites may require "high-end" web hosting solutions, the next topic in our discussion.
High-end web hosts typically service web sites that are extremely popular, have a high amount of traffic, and/or require pretty much 100% uptime. Most businesses rely on high-end web hosts to host their web sites. Rackspace.com is an example of a well known high-end web hosting company. Pricing for high-end hosts varies, but typically runs from about $50 per month to several hundred dollars per month. Many high-end hosts give you your own dedicated server (which they support) that is reserved just for you and your web site. The mid-range hosts I discussed earlier typically host many different web sites on the same server - this is known as "shared" hosting. High-end web hosts offer stellar reliability, bandwidth, and just about every tool you'll ever need to run a successful web site. Another feature that some high-end web hosts provide is "co-location" hosting. In this scenario, YOU configure and provide the web server, but you get to plug it into their data center/network. This can be very nice because their data center usually has a fiber-optic connection directly to the Internet, offering blazing bandwidth and stellar reliability. People who run web-based businesses or extremely popular, high traffic web sites are good candidates for high-end web hosting.
Hopefully this brief overview gives you a good picture of the various types of web hosts that exist, and which one might be right for you. When you begin your search for a web host, always keep in mind the old adage "You get what you pay for" because it really does hold true in this case. Before you make the commitment to host a web site be sure to take some time and analyze what you want out of the web site, and decide which factors are most important to its success. Answering these questions will get you many steps closer to choosing the web host that's right for you.
Marc Eberhart is an IT Project Manager, webmaster, and all-around Internet junkie. His web site http://www.webhostingdiscounts.net/ offers visitors 40% off web hosting plans with top-rated hosting companies.
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