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Compare Web Hosting Providers – A How To Guide

Finding a quality web hosting provider can be a challenging process for first time site owners. Fortunately, as the hosting industry has grown, an increasing number of sites began to offer reviews and tips on finding the web host that matches your needs and budget. These sites offer the ability to compare web hosting providers at a glance.

Review sites are useful because there are a wide array of features offered by web hosts, and it can be difficult or time consuming to manually compare them.

One very important factor to look for is phone-based customer support. Many hosting companies are resellers with little or no experience in network administration, and a lack of phone support is a dead giveaway. These inexperienced services can’t give answers during a live phone call, but first have to contact the company they buy space from. While there are quality hosting companies who offer email-only support, many site owners appreciate being able to reach a live representative by phone.

Also, look for an established host. There are an endless number of cheap, fly by night hosts comprised of just one or two web servers rented from someone else. These services typically overload their servers, as their emphasis is volume over quality.

Cheap hosting is great, but if your site’s uptime is critical, you should look for a host whose pricing allows them to afford excellent customer support and put less load on each server. With web hosting, as in anything else, you usually get what you pay for.

Before choosing a host, you should also consider their allowances for bandwidth, email, storage space, domains, FTP accounts, and control panel.

Bandwidth is the amount of data your host will serve to visitors of your site. As the Internet has evolved, hosting companies have greatly loosened or even abandoned bandwidth restrictions. Never the less, if you expect your site to have a great deal of traffic, you need to find a host who is guaranteed to serve your data to every visitor.

Many hosting companies offer unlimited email accounts, yet some offer only a limited number of email accounts. If it is important for you to have a number of email addresses hosted with your site, you should pay attention to the number of accounts a server allows, as well as the storage space allowed each account.

With hard drives becoming increasingly larger and less expensive, and some hosting companies offer unlimited storage space. Others offer more than the average site is ever likely to use. But if you plan on storing many files or having an extremely large site, it pays to know how much storage your host will allow you.

Some hosting services allow you to host multiple domain names under one account. This can be a cost-effective option and is something you should look for if you plan on hosting multiple sites.

Another important consideration is the amount of access you have to your files and server configuration. One thing to look for is a host that allows you to create multiple FTP accounts. Some hosts only allow one, which means you must share your login information with everyone you want to have access to your files. With hosts that allow for multiple FTP accounts, you can create restricted logins with access only to the files you select, so multiple users can work from your server if necessary.

The control panel offered by your host is especially important. Most hosts offer cPanel, a powerful interface that allows you to add email address, work with databases, install software, view visitor stats, and dozens of other functions directly from your browser, without having to get the hosting company to do it for you. There are other control panels, so cPanel is not a requirement. But if a host offers no control panel, you should move on.

There are a number of factors to consider when choosing your host. And as you may already know, there are an endless number of hosting companies out there.

Start your search with a web hosting review site. They are a powerful tool can help you quickly compare established and trusted providers to determine who offers the features and pricing that meet your needs.