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Feburary 2004

   Dynamoo 2004



Web Hosts Go Head-to-Head

Dynamoo Diary - June 2002 

Dynamoo covered the topic of registering Domain Names in Domain Names and Party Games Part I and Part II.

However, registering the domain name, and even designing the site, is only the beginning of the story. Finding a reliable hosting company at a price that won't break the bank is another issue altogether.

Firstly, we need to establish some basic ground rules. One is the simple one - take advice about a potential host before you commit. There are plenty of review sites out there - to make life easier Dynamoo has compared several hosting plans in the Dynamoo Web Hosts page. Secondly, take precautions when agreeing to a hosting plan and don't put all your eggs in one basket.

What are the major things to think about when choosing a hosting company? Well, there are several but broadly speaking, these are the things you need to consider:

  • Host reliability and speed. Take advice by looking at different review sites. How fast is the hosts own website? What do other customers think? This research can take a little while, but Dynamoo Web Hosts page has links to user reviews of many potential hosts.
  • Bandwidth. The more visitors your site has, the more bandwidth it takes. Dynamoo's rule of thumb is that 1 gigabyte (Gb) of data transfer per month is good for 10,000 page views. Check out a potential hosts fees for exceeding your bandwidth allocation and see how easy it is to change plans if need be. Ask questions from their sales or technical support department - if you don't get a response, don't bother with them.
  • Storage space. It's easy to be wowed by huge amounts of storage space, but a site such as Dynamoo only takes about 10Mb of space. Don't be too tempted by plans that offer a lot of space, because if they don't have the bandwidth to support it you could be out of pocket.
  • Other features. What else do you need? FrontPage extensions? CGI scripts? How many mailboxes do you need? Do you need a database such as mySQL or secure sockets for eCommerce transactions? Think about your requirements carefully before making a decision. Even if you're not sure, a basic guide is that more features are better than fewer features.

Even with the best research in the world though, you need to protect yourself if the relationship with your hosting company goes sour. Here are a few steps to protect yourself:

  • Never register domain names with your hosting company, always register them with a third party. Although the idea of a one-stop-shop can be appealing, you might find yourself in difficulties if your business relationship with the host turns sour. If you use a third party to look after your domains, you can easily change hosts at any time just by altering the nameserver records. If your registrar is also your host, you may find this more difficult, especially if the host is unscrupulous or uses underhand tactics such as locking you out of your account in order to settle a financial dispute.
  • Watch your bandwidth. If you exceed your bandwidth allocation you may end up paying over the odds for additional capacity.
  • Consider the country your host resides in. Especially if you're looking at a serious financial commitment, think about how you might get recourse if the deal goes wrong. One advantage of hosting in your own country is that you can more easily take legal action if it goes wrong. However, there are also advantages in hosting overseas if you want to give yourself some legal protection against snooping from domestic sources. India and Russia are a couple of upcoming hosting countries in that respect.

Dynamoo's recommended web hosts:

One of the most talked-about hosts is FutureQuest who are very well respected by their customers. They're not the cheapest host, but their customer service is first rate. FutureQuest is Dynamoo's Five Star Choice.

If FutureQuest's packages aren't quite what you want, then here are our other recommendations:

Just to prove that you don't need to be a big hosting company to give great customer service, we also recommend TH Media. TH Media not only value their customers very highly, but they can also help with other small business needs such as toll-free numbers. In particular, TH Media has very many music-related sites as customers, so if your business is in the music industry, this is the hosting company who will understand you best. We're proud to give TH Media Four Stars.

Apollo Hosting also gets a big thumbs-up from its customers. Again, not the cheapest outfit but one of their strengths is larger-scale plans and eCommerce packages. Dynamoo gives Apollo Hosting Four Stars.

If you want cheaper hosting, but with lots of bang-per-buck consider either PowWeb or iPowerWeb. The entry-level plans for both companies are similar, but PowWeb has the edge on price, value for money and user confidence. In any case, both hosts get Four Stars from Dynamoo.


Recommended titles from Amazon.com:
Strategies for Web Hosting and Managed Services
Web Hosting: a Beginner's Guide
Web Redesign: Workflow That Works





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