One of the first obstacles everyone starting up online faces is that of choosing the right hosting and domain name deals for their sites. This is an issue that is consistently present throughout one's online presence. With a large number of hosting companies competing for your attention, how can you make sure that the deal you choose is indeed the best one for you?
The following are a few attributes that you need to look at before choosing any hosting package:
1. Cheapest is not best - One of the biggest mistakes you can make is choosing a plan based on what is the cheapest web hosting package out there. Instead, learn to compare the relative value of each hosting package with its competitors. The best thing to do is to choose a yardstick or a comparative standard against which you can compare all the hosting packages you see. So once you are fairly certain that hosting company A is a good option, then look a little more and see if you can find a cheaper deal. Then compare the features that both of the companies provide and choose the better one. Weigh the relative price and the relative features to see which one is better.
2. More is not better - Many hosting companies intentionally or unintentionally mislead people by showing them the extremely high bandwidth and disk storage space. You will almost never reach even 10% of the bandwidth limit on any of these packages, so don't even use that as a yardstick for measurement. And if you do plan on receiving that high traffic, you should be using a dedicated server anyway.
3. Popular is not better - A more popular company is not necessarily the better provider. A classic case is that of iPower. It was once a very popular hosting company with many satisfied customers. As the company and the name grew, the quality of the service went down the drain. When looking for the cheapest web hosting package, don't take gross popularity into account, take the actual reputation into consideration.
4. How many domains? - This is an important question any more. Very few people use only one domain throughout their online existence. Most use two or more, and many use more than 5 or 10. It is important to see what your hosting provider's policy on more domains is. There are still many hosting companies that will only host a single domain with each hosting account. Relatively few will allow you to host many domains and even less will allow unlimited domain names to be hosted on their account. If you plan on increasing your scope of online activity, consider these packages. Usually the cost is barely higher.
5. How many sites? - Among the hosting companies that allow you to host multiple domains, see how many of them allow you to host unlimited SITES. Some hosting companies give the illusion that they allow unlimited domain hosting. On further investigation, you may find that all this means is that you can store your domain on their server, nothing more. For all practical purposes, that's useless. What you need to look for is how many sites are allowed on a given account. There are very few web hosts that are still cheap that give these options, but they are definitely there!
6. The Customer Service - Before signing on with any given company, contact the customer service with questions, even if you already have the answer to them. This will give you a first-hand view on how efficient, courteous and useful the customer support is. Use at least 2 mediums. Usually, you can contact support by phone, e-mail, or live chat. Definitely use the phone, and choose from the other two.
As is clear, there are many things that need to be considered before making the decision about signing on with a specific web host. All of these issues and attributes need to be fulfilled to your satisfaction before purchasing from a single place.
The author is a web service provider who specializes in providing discount domain names and the cheapest web hosting package with hosting for unlimited sites.