The investments in a website might often involve large amounts of money, often reaching 5 figures. However, regardless if you have a highly complex website or a personal web site, there are a few things that you want to know for sure. The hosting provider should guarantee a server up-time of over 99% and you should also have a backup server in case the main server has problems - these are essential requirements for any web hosting services company. FTP and email access should also be discussed and there are a few other details that you want to be certain of before you make a commitment.
A little shopping around can pay off for you in cheap web hosting and design services, especially if you're building a business web site. There are several web hosting services that offer all-in-one design and hosting services starting at $9.95 a month for a one page business card site to $50 a month for a 9-10 page full service catalog. Some require a commitment of 12-24 months, though they'll only bill you the monthly fee up front, and all require that if you leave their web hosting service, the site design belongs to them. If the web hosting company is otherwise dependable, reliable and offers all the bells and whistles that you need, an all-in-one package can be a great way to get a professional design at cheap rates.
As a novice who doesn't understand all the web hosting jargon this can pose a problem. Are you an individual, small business, blog, or a big time corporation? What do you need and how do you get it. You know you are a customer and a person, not just a number on a sales receipt. I believe the hosting companies are the same. A smaller hosting company will probably treat its users with more honest integrity as well as having more flexibility in dealing with your individual situation. They can often tailor web site packages to accommodate exactly what you are looking for as well as the ability to update them quickly when your needs change. My advice is to contact a few of the smaller companies. Look for ones with good reputations or just arbitrarily email them and compare results from different places. Which one do you feel most comfortable with? Go for it; ask as many questions as you can, see how the different hosts differ in their answers. Try one; if it doesn't work out try another, it's really easy to move around. Don't be afraid, you've got nothing to lose except the fear itself!
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