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Choosing the right Hosting Company

Advice for choosing your websiteWhy Host

Choosing a hosting company is a very personal decision based on your own unique needs. Switching web hosting companies is time consuming and although not costly, can be very painful, websites go down and emails get lost.

Are all hosting companies the same?

Most hosting companies say the same thing and claim 99.9% up time as if it is an achievement to be able to keep 2 servers (all hosting is based on giving a client an additional server as backup should the other fail) going 24/7.

They will bamboozle you with stats packages, php, MYSQl, a mountain of technology which the average website will never use or need.

1. Check the costs When comparing different companies, a key question must be how much the hosting will cost. It may seem an obvious question, but the different fees and costs may not be that obvious. For example, check whether there is a set up fee. Are there extra fees for secure transactions? What does it cost to host multiple URLs and email addresses? In other words it is important to establish what is included in the cost and what is extra.

2. Check the contract It's also a good idea to read the contract and terms and conditions carefully before you sign up. Some companies charge an additional fee for terminating your agreement if you wish to change to another provider. It's worth finding out how much this is and if there are any specific restrictions on moving your account.

3. Choose the level of service to suit your needs Different companies offer different levels of service. Take the time to decide what are your minimum requirements particularly in respect of technical support. Check whether the hosting company can guarantee service levels that meet your requirements. For instance, is their phone number on their web site? What kind of out of hours support do they offer? Are their support telephone numbers free or do you have to call a premium rate number?

4. Check what else they can offer Although you are keen to get things up and running it's important to think about your long term needs as well as your immediate requirements. Does the hosting company have the flexibility and capacity you will need as your business expands? In addition, most web hosting companies provide monthly/daily usage reports. It's worth asking to see these to assess how useful they are as the layout and what is included can vary considerably from one company to another.

5. Check the registration of your domain name When you have picked your hosting company and signed the contract it is important to check the registration of your domain name if this was part of the set up process. Sometimes hosting companies register the domain name in their own name rather than in the name of the customer. It is advisable to ensure that the domain name is registered in your name so that the registration is protected if your hosting company should subsequently go out of business for instance. You can check the availability of any domain names ending in .uk using the WHOIS search facility on this website.