Is Your Web Host A Paddle Boat Or A Cruise Ship?
By Mike Jones
A paddle boat is great for fun on a day off! But would you consider taking it to the open sea? A cruise ship on the other hand is ideally suited for pampering its guests with every facility imaginable for the vacation of your dreams!
Applying this analogy to web hosting can help you make a wise decision if you are currently 1) new to internet business and looking for that first web host, or 2) up and running but thinking the time has come to upgrade to a higher level.
Web hosts fall generally into 3 categories. They are: 1) Free Services 2) Budget Hosts (under $20-25 per month) 3) Full Service ($25+ per month)
Let's take a look at each category.
1. Free Services
If you want to run a home page for personal interest for family and friends, great! If you want to ease into the internet cautiously, great. Tripod.com offer a good free service with reasonable support. Or check out: http://zap.to/1freewebpage/ for a good listing of what's available.
In short, if you merely want to paddle around, have a little fun, gain some experience, these services are fine. For serious business however you really need your own domain name, not someone else's. Tripod takes the edge off by allowing your name to come first in the URL, e.g. http://yourname.tripod.com
Having said that, you can't get away from the fact that your credibility as a business takes a hit when clients see this kind of domain name.
2. Budget Hosts
You get what you pay for, generally. Many may knock the value of budget hosts. If you are running a serious business, then probably this kind of package would not give enough stability or features.
Consider the following first-hand nightmare experience: "One popular low-cost host left my entire site dead for over a week while I scrambled frantically to save my business. Heck, I couldn't even reach anyone or get them to return my plea for help. When the dust settled, they had lost the backups of my entire site and I was left to fend for myself." - Ken (Internet Marketing Challenge)
On the other hand, you may find my experience helpful in your decision making. I am running a resource site at present containing information pages and some doorway pages. I don't sell from my site. I don't need a secure ordering page. For my purpose in running this particular domain, a budget host is fine. However, I ran a check on it some months back using the free service at http://hostwatcher.com .
I was shocked to see how many times the server was down, or there was a very long load time for my pages. I wrote and complained. The reply came back that ownership of the host had changed and a better service was promised. Recently I checked again and found the company now has a 99% up time - a vast improvement. I was on the verge of changing my host but I now find the service is very good for what I need. Read a more in depth report on this here on my website: http://www.vitalstop.com/cheapwebhosting.htm
3. Full Service
If your business is taking off and you need 24 hour full support with all the "bells and whistles" then this is the way to go. If your internet business is your main stay then you need a "cruise ship" company who are going to give you professional top of the line facilities and service.
See if there are good shopping cart facilities so you can easily set up your online store. Managing your post office and autoresponders should also be easy through a friendly interface with good web hosts.
Look for 24 hour technical support and immediate response to customer needs. Some even have a troubleshooting crackforce which can give a response usually within an hour or two.
This is the kind of service you can expect from a top line professional web host. If your site is really beginning to make money, can you afford any less?
Choosing a web host or changing a web host is one of those decisions which will have a massive impact on your business. Use the 3 category test above and decide where you are going! Then decide whether to jump into a paddle boat or book yourself a ticket on a cruise ship for a happy trouble free experience.
About the author: Mike Jones firstname.lastname@example.org