Thursday, December 11, 2008

Changes in web hosting

I have had the same web host for so many years I thought it might be good for me to research what the latest and greatest hosts are and what differences might be available. When doing this I thought that others might like to understand how I research web hosts.

When looking for managed hosting services you really should look for providers who have a good reputation, excellent value and knowledgeable staff.

I generally break down my research into a few categories. These categories allow you to rate each type of web host by each category and then decide which one best fits your needs.

The categories I use are below. You should rate from 1-5 how well the host performs in each area then decide if they are a good fit.

1. Hosting presence - what sort of data center does the provider have. What sort of bandwidth do they have available. Is their pipline small or large? Do they have a raised floor and fire prevention.

2. Features - What sort of features do they have. Do they have cpanel, plesk or other hosting interfaces? Do they allow you shell access, unlimited bandwidth and data pacakges, etc.

3. Stability - This is big key. There are a million fly by night places out there offering hosting. You should make sure that the people running the place are reviewing their practices and methods of running their web hosting. A good place to start is making sure they have SAS 70 compliance. What this means is basically they have someone independently audit them.

4. Knowledge in the industry - Feel free to ask them if they know the latest trend in security. Ask them what the toughest problem they solved recently was. It's important to have staff that can figure things out.

5. Value - Make sure you compare and weigh all the costs in your web hosting.

Remember, when you're looking for hosting it's not about price but a combination of many things. It only take a few days of downtime for someone to go surfing the web elsewhere!

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