Today's economy is driven by the internet. Most people research purchases online, shop online, compare prices online and, with fuel prices skyrocketing, have chosen to no longer enter a physical store unless it is absolutely necessary. What does this mean for you? It means that you need to have a reliable presence on the world wide web in order to effectively compete. If you are not familiar with what it takes to operate an effective website, this can be a daunting and frustrating task. There are so many articles and forums out there but most of it is nonsense and quite difficult to understand. The main thing to keep in mind is that you need to understand the terms being used, compare various web hosting companies and ask lots of questions. Do not let anyone make you feel foolish for asking a question, if you do not feel comfortable with them, move on since there are plenty of companies out there competing for your dollars.
There are many things to consider when setting up a new website and one of them is to determine if your business needs a dedicated server. This can be an extremely costly piece of equipment to purchase and it may be worth your time to look into a shared server. By using a shared server, you will defer some of the costs by splitting that cost with other small business owners who are in the same position. When you are looking at a web host server it is critical that you are guaranteed an 'uptime' of 99% because anything less will become detrimental to your business.
Another keyword you will hear is bandwidth. Bandwidth is basically how much traffic is allowed to come into and out of your website. An average business will require about 500 MB to 1 GB of bandwidth. Making sure you have enough bandwidth is crucial as it allows your website to grow and attract customers but you want to make sure you are not paying for more than you really use. There are companies out there with questionable integrity who will try to sell you unlimited bandwidth at very low prices and then toss in a few clauses that will make your life more difficult down the road. Again, ask questions and make sure you know what you are getting.
One of the most crucial things to look for when choosing a web hosting company is support. Be it technical or customer service, you need to make sure that you can always reach a live person who can communicate with you effectively. It pays to make sure you can actually get the service you are being promised before you sign on the dotted line, there is nothing worse than watching your customers being turned away because your site is down and you are on hold trying in vain to reach someone who can answer your questions. A company that offers competent technical support should also offer you excellent security protection. You are looking for a provider that will monitor, to the best of their ability, your site and prevent anyone from hacking your information.
How do you find a reputable web hosting company? You do your homework. There are lots of web hosting forums on the web, by spending some time looking through archives and reviews, you can get a good idea of what each company has to offer. Also, calling the companies directly should give you a good idea of if they will be a good fit for you. It is a good idea to make sure that the information you were given over the phone or by email matches the contents of your contract. Unfortunately, not all companies operate ethically. By asking questions and making sure that you understand all the features you are paying for, you will become a savvy and assertive consumer who will be competing in the cyberworld in no time!