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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Front Page Web Hosting - 10 Questions to Ask


In your quest for choosing a front page web hosting company, you want to ensure that the company has the basics, such as reliability. You also need to consider the technical aspects of front page web hosting and the obligations of your web host; both are essential if you want to avoid future problems. Technical trouble is the last thing you need, especially when your company is a startup. You should ask questions freely to gain confidence in any front page web hosting company that you are considering.
Top 10 Questions To Ask Your Front Page Web Hosting Company
1. How good and reliable is the customer support? 24/7 support is a must. Also, if the front page web hosting company has a large knowledgebase, do you know how to use it? Is the support staff responsive? Are they trained or do they pass the buck to someone else? Does the front page web hosting company provide live chat support (practically a necessity these days)?
2. How will you justify the price? Loads of features in a front page web hosting company may not be useful to you until you use them. How will you factor in bandwidth cost? Is the ratio of price to features, disc space and bandwidth the reasonable?
3. How will you ensure accuracy of automatic billing? Some front page web hosting companies have servers that trigger automatic billing even after you cancel your account with them. Do they confirm the stoppage of automatic billing when you cancel your account?
4. How long has the front page web hosting company been in business? This reveals many things. Trustworthiness, sustainability, technical know-how, strong marketing and business acumen. Ask for a list of long standing customers.
5. Do you have a sufficient back-up system? It is difficult to manage 99.9% uptime without sufficient backup system for servers and connections. A standby power supply is another important feature of a reliable front page web hosting company.
6. How good are the features? Ask for a feature-by-feature comparison with another front page web hosting company. Compare control panel to control panel, disc space to disc space etc, not just a list of features.
7. How good is the technical staff? It is not enough to have numbers; what counts is the hands-on experience of the front page web hosting staff. An experienced technician gets things done instead of wandering around in the dark.
8. Is the package flexible? The package you choose may need expansion as you grow. Will the host be able to provide additional features when you need them? Shifting your website to another host when business is hot is crazy. You don't want to be forced into doing this!
9. Why is there so much fine print? Too much fine print should raise red flags as to services provided and promises made. Clarify them upfront and let them know that you have other front page web hosting companies to choose from.
10. Does the web host run their own servers, or does a third party run them? If it is the latter, you have lost ground even before the battle has started. Many things won't be under your host's control if it is a reseller.
There is more to choosing a front page web hosting company than just asking 10 questions. However, these should serve as a base for beginning your evaluation of a front page web hosting company. You can and should send a pre-sales questionnaire to your web host asking about billing issues, technical issues etc. Keep the responses so that you have a written record of what they promise you. If there is no reply, you need to move on!