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How do I find a good web host?

To create a website, you'll need to find a web host to place the files and publish your website. Choosing a good web host is tricky as there are hundreds of web hosts making all sorts of promises, but there are only a few that delivers what they promise. Your website requires 24x7 uptime, good performance, and with uninterrupted email services. A good web host delivers what you're looking for, while bad host will cause a lot of pain. This article provides the information you'll need to pick a good web host.

1. Quality of Service

One of the most important features you'll need from your web host is the reliability and performance. Your website must be online 24x7 with good performance. Look for at least a 99% uptime guarantee, and find out what that guarantee means. Try learning from others experiences by reading articles on web hosting forums such as Web Hosting Talk, HTTP Talk, or Talk Web Hosts.

The host computer is connected to the Internet by high-speed network, and the network bandwidth may vary depending on the type of interface being used. The traditional data lines in the United States were provided on T1 (1.54 Mbps) and T3 (45 Mbps) trunks, while many web hosts employ higher optical facilities such as OC-3 (155 Mbps), OC-12 (622 Mbps) and OC-48 (2.4 Gbps). It is also important to have multiple backbone connectivity, providing redundancy and eliminating single point of failure. A web host with the Internet connectivity of at least T3 should be chosen as your web host.

The performance of a website depends not only on the bandwidth of a web host but also on the number of virtual domains hosted on a given server. The more domains hosted by a server results in less time allocated for servicing your website as single server resource is shared by many domains. A web host may service as many as 500 domains on a physical server, depending on the type of server being used. It is hard to tell how many domains are shared, but if your website suffers from performance it's likely that the server resources are shared by too many virtual hosts.

2. Support

Many web hosts claims to offer 24x7 technical support, but the statement is subject to interpretation. Does 24x7 support mean a live person available to answer the 800 number, or does it mean responding to an online trouble ticket within 24 hours? Depending on the type of plan you purchase and the cost of services provided, your expectation may vary. Generally, the response time should be less than 1 to 4 hours.

3. Features and Prices

It is easy to get blown by endless features offered by a web hosting company, and makes the assumption that the cost may be justified. With cost of bandwidth and price of hardware coming down on a monthly basis, it is not too hard to find a web host offering same or better features at a cheaper price. The catch is that the price should not be used as a sole factor for deciding a web host. There are companies offering cheap web hosting services, but not all web hosts are providing same quality of service. You'll need to find a web host who offers the features and quality of service you need, and at the same time meets your budget constraints.

One of the important feature that you'll need from a web host is the ability to manage your domain name, only if the host is also used as a domain registrar. There are too many web hosts using domain names as the hostage, and makes it very difficult for customers transfer web hosting service out of their company.

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