What is a Web Host Company? It’s a company that puts your site on the Internet.. Understanding how they work will help you decide the right hosting company.
Having the right company can make or break your Internet business. Don’t let price alone determine your company. Although you may save yourself a $100 a year going with a cheaper company… you could loose $1000’s in sales if your site is frequently down.
How does it work?
There are these computers called Domain Name Servers or DNS for short. They translate a URL like http://www.marketplacestrategies.com into an IP (Internet Protocol) address. DNS allows a domain name to move from web host to web host. If you want to change servers, you just change the DNS record to point to the IP address of the new server.
That may sound simple. It can take 3 to 4 days for all the changes to happen correctly on the Internet. Some people will see your old site, some will see your new site, provided everything goes right. Your site could be inaccessible or worse yet, the file structures are not the same as your previous host. This could be a major headache. For example, your shopping cart links have /cgi-bin/ and your new hosting company’s CGI directory is /Cgi bin/. That little hyphen makes all the difference. Your links won’t work. You have to go and change the URL path to all the pages with /cgi-bin/ to /cgibin/. CGI means Common Gateway Interface.
Thinking of your company’s current needs as well at it future need will reduce the need to keep switching host. We use Host4Profit and have been very happy with them.
You should ask your potential host company two most important questions before signing up.
1. What are my Upgrade Options?
Sometimes your site will probably need a database. So ask what their database capabilities are and what software they will support. I also knew I would need an eCommerce solution.
2. How Responsive is Customer Service?
This is probably the most important of the questions to me. If you have a problem at 2:00 in the morning, you want to know when tech support available. Most entrepreneurs don’t have a technical staff and your hosting tech support team can be your greatest ally in the Internet world.
Other Things to Consider for Web Host Company:
Their spam policy. One complaint and a company can shut down without noticing you. Even if you are innocent. There are many “grouchy” people out there that forget they signed up for your newsletter.
How much of the common administrative task can you do? Does your host provide those self-serve tools? If not you’ll have to hire some one to do those task.
Do you have access to your server logs? Server logs are the history of every transaction on your site. These longs contain valuable information on traffic, page visits, referrer logs, keywords, how long someone stayed on your site and how they navigated it. You need to know what is happening on your site. Make sure you have access to those logs.
Do they allow CGI Scripts? The majority of web hosting companies provide the basic CGI script for you. These scripts handle things like forms and site searches. You want to be able to add your own CGI scripts that are customized for your site needs. No CGI Scripts Allowed! No Hosting with Them!
FrontPage Extensions. If your site was created using FrontPage, and your host doesn’t support the extensions, OUCH!
More and more hosting companies now support FrontPage extensions but, make sure they offer you support using them.
You can find good reliable hosting on a shared server that will meet your needs for about $25-$40 a month. When your business needs to grow, you can move it to a dedicated server.
Tips for Planning a Web Site from a Web Host Company
A Web Page (one page) or Web Site (multiple pages) can be a valuable marketing tool when it is properly planned and executed, consistently promoted, and regularly maintained. Creating a Web Site that is useful and valuable to both you and your customers begins with clear objectives and realistic expectations.
The following 10 Tips will help you clarify your reasons for creating a site, and assist you in developing a professional site that will be a valuable marketing tool.
- What are your objectives? Do you want to inform, sell, serve customers better or attract new clients?
- What are your short and long-term expectations? Define what you want your Web Site to accomplish for your business.
- Check out the competition. Using a search engine such as AltaVista or Profusion, enter keywords that someone looking for a business like yours might use to find it. What is unique about their site? What are they doing to get noticed?