When we begin our journey in the ecommerce world, it is easy to fall into traps by simply overlooking most important checklists in our decision making in regards to web hosting. It is easy just to consider the disk space provided when selecting hosting company and other less important features which we do not need in the beginning. All plans look impressive but do we really need those features on offer? It is best to consider the following factors when deciding on your web hosting packages:
1. Established Host
You would not want to get involve with someone not long enough in the business to host your ecommerce or simple personal website. What is more if you are running a full fledge ecommerce with lots of data to back up your operation. Time is of the essence in selecting your host. The longer a host has been around, the more likely the better it would be. You would not want to go down along with the host that also goes down. To sort things out will get real messy.
This is an important checklist you ought to consider. Reliability is one the most important checklist as one would not want to engage a fly-by-night hosting company. Check the length of time on their response to your email enquiry. It is important to enjoy both after sales and technical services. Some big names with substantial customer base and length of operation may get complacent and not able to provide reliable services while small new companies will try their best to impress. You need to make your own judgment.
You need to decide on your disk space requirement. However, a better planning for future expansion is also important so that you need not come back to the hosting company and being charge unreasonably. There is a saying, once hooked, forever hooked even if you do not like it.
4. After-Sales and Technical Supports
You never know what you need after the sales or even after the web is up and running. You like to feel comfortable that after sales and technical support are there, when needed. Time take in responding to email enquiry is a simple indication of the level of services the hosting companies are providing.
Most hosting companies offer a 99% uptime. You should select the one offers nothing lees than 99% uptime.
6. Recovery Time
Determine how fast the hosting company recovers from a downtime. Do they have back up procedures? What kind of UPS they use? Where are they located? Are they near any disaster prone area? These are the questions you need answers.
Do not overlook bandwidth limit. Excess bandwidth uses accompanied by excess bill. Do not go over the allocated bandwidth; plan what you want to put in your site. Higher pixel images definitely utilize higher bandwidth.
8. CGI Bin
CGI is used to install scripts and programs; CGI comes standard with any hosting packages.
You must have Perl to run Perl Programs. Paid or free scripts are mostly written in Perl. Make sure you get the latest version or get to upgrade from time to time.
This is the most important criteria to consider especially when you are planning for a ecommerce. Make sure the SSL is included in your hosting packages. You may use third party credit card processor but the provider may not operate in some countries. It is also limited to electronic products only, not physical products.
Server Side Includes is used to minimize time in updating your site. You can edit you page or link section you want to amend without amending all the pages.
Some scripts and programs require a MySQL database to run. Make sure the charges are not exorbitant and it normally comes with the hosting packages.
Many new scripts and programs require PHP support, and this feature is almost standard for all hosting packages.
You should be able to point your own domain name to the site. Other feature is to make sure you can control you domain because you may not stick with the same hosting companies but your domain remains yours.
Definitely you need a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) to transfer file or make change to your web pages and uploading. You must be given unlimited and unrestricted FTP access to your site.
16. Control Panel
Main feature of hosting is availability of control panel. The level of use ranges from friendly to difficult. Choose the one that suit your technical capability and budget.
For adjustments on your marketing programs you need a good statistic program. Excellent statistical program enables you to monitor visitors, collect email, and so on so forth to fine tune your marketing programs. Get advanced statistical program from third party if the hosting is not able to provide one, provided the program can be installed.
18. Site Development Software
If you are not a webmaster, or a programmer it is best you consider package with software offered to build you site. Some hosting companies provided this free while other charge a fee.
19. Slow down and take time
Some hosting packages may look excellent but if one feature that is required according to your needs is not offered, then the package may not meet your requirements. Take your time to compare all the features that are on offer. What is good for someone may not be acceptable for you. The important thing is what is your criteria and can the hosting company meets your needs?
20. Last big Step
The following table lists some of the criteria that are normally offered by web hosting company. Do not be alarmed by the long list. As it was mentioned, some features may not be required when you start and it is good to know that those features are offered. You are always ready when the time is up for expansion. At the end of the day, what is important is the hosting that meets your budget and your expectations.
Pricing & Setup (Choose your billing cycle)
Setup Fee N/A
Option 1: Pay Monthly 34.95 USD (e.g)
Unconditional Money Back Guarantee 30 Days
Setup Time 30 Seconds
Summary Disk Usage 5000 MB
Summary Traffic 150 GB
Default Disk Space Quota (Adjustable to suit your requirements at no cost) 5000 MB
Multiple Domain Hosting 10 Domain
Sub Domain 100 Sub Domain
Third Level Domain 100 Third Level Domain
Stopgap Domain 100 Stopgap Domain
Domain Alias 100 Domain Alias
Parked Domain (DNS Hosting) 10 Domain Parked
Mail Domain Alias 10 Mail Domain Alias
Web Services & Tools
CGI with Custom Mapping Free
Own CGI-Bin Directory Free
MS Front Page Support Free
ASP Secured N/A
NET Framework Free
Server Side Includes (w/ custom file extension) N/A
PHP with GD (Latest stable version) N/A
Perl with GD (Latest stable version) Free
Cold Fusion MX 6.1 Free
Redirect URL 100 URL
Custom Directory Indexes Free
Pre-installed Commonly Used Components / DLL Free
Custom DLL Components Free
Server Side Image Map N/A
PhpMyAdmin / PhpPgAdmin Free
Web Shell (Advanced File Management Interface) N/A
Password Protected Directories Free
Site Studio Software
(Best Selling Website Creation Tool, WYSIWYG plus tons of templates and features!) Free
PHP BB 2 Forum Software Free
Custom Error Document Free
MS SQL Server Manager Free
Transfer Log (Access Log) Free
Referrer Log N/A
Agent Log N/A
Error Log N/A
Webalizer Site Statistics Free
Mail Services & Tools
Web Mail Free
Mailbox 1000 Mailbox
Default Mailbox Quota (Adjustable to suit your requirements at no cost) 10 MB
Email Auto Responder 100 Auto Responder
Catch All Email Address Free
Mailbox Alias 100 Mailbox Alias
Mail Forward 100 Mail Forward
Mailing List 10 Mailing List
Own SMTP Server Free
IMAP Support Free
Dedicated SSL Module Free
Shared SSL Free
OS Commerce Shopping Cart Free
MySql User 3 User
MySql Database 3 Database
Default MySql Database Quota (Adjustable to suit your requirements at no cost) 50 MB
MS SQL User 3 User
MS SQL Database 3 Database
Default MS SQL Database Quota (Adjustable to suit your requirements at no cost) 100 MB
PgSql User 3 User
PgSql Database 3 Database
Default PgSql Database Quota (Adjustable to suit your requirements at no cost) 50 MB
Advance Features & Others
Anonymous FTP Server 3 Server
FTP Sub Account N/A
Virtual FTP Server N/A
ODBC Service Free
Custom DNS Records Free
Shell Access N/A
Dedicated IP Address 3 unit
Daily Backup Free