Web Hosts Go Head-to-Head
Dynamoo Diary - June 2002
Dynamoo covered the topic of registering Domain Names
Names and Party Games Part I and Part
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
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
- 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
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
If you want cheaper hosting, but with lots of bang-per-buck
consider either PowWeb
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.