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Website Hosting Services

Some clients want their website designer to manage their web hosting for them... and some want to manage their own. But in both cases, clients nearly always ask their website designer for a hosting recommendation. Actually, website designers ask each other about hosting service providers too. So it's a question I hear often, and it's not so easy to answer as it used to be...

More General Notes on Web Hosting

There are more kinds of website hosting options now than ever before. In some ways that's great for the web, but it also complicates the process of selecting a quality service provider.

If you are building a website to show off your vacation photos, your kids pee-wee soccer team, or share gardening tips, you might want to consider free hosting. If you're organizing a fundraiser, a community earth-day celebration, or a bicycle fun-run, inexpensive hosting options might meet your needs. If you are a professional, offering a service or product for which people may pay you, you need to consider more professional hosting options. Most professionals put a lot of work into a website, writing text, designing graphics, taking photos - consider that when selecting a host. It's not a huge investment to pay for quality hosting services - yes, you can get a host for under $10 per month, but if you're willing to spend just a bit more, you can get very good quality hosting services. This is where your website lives, don't cheap out on hosting.

Some considerations for selecting a hosting service provider

  • Reliable power is critical. Web servers need power and cooling the way vineyards need sun and rain. Ask about the power supply and security standards.
  • Service 'uptime' guarantee. Most hosting service providers will offer some sort of assurance your site will remain online, with an Uptime Guarantee. Read the fine print carefully, some are better than others.
  • Traffic statistics. Stats provide vital information that can help you manage your search engine optimization, determine if there are problems with your site design, and let you know where visitors are going in your site. Other than hosting your website, traffic data is the most important aspect of your hosting service.
  • Service and Support. Consider what level of technical support and customer service is right for you. If you want to be able to phone someone when you have a problem, check out the service providers help-line. If you prefer to get support by email, test their online help system.
  • Size, space and features. How much space will your site need, and how much will it need in 2 years? How much hosting space do you need, and what are your bandwidth requirements? What features will you want to go along with your site? Hosting servers can provide email services and mailing list management tools, website traffic stats and features like calendars and shopping carts - or those can be outsourced and managed externally to your hosting server.

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