When I get the same questions from more than two people, I know it's time to write about it. A couple months back, somebody asked me a webhost to recommend. I said that I was looking for a new one myself. Even earlier, the Hungry Poet sent me a slew of e-mails advising me how to check for the reliability of good webhosts. I should have copoied and pasted the contents of those precious e-mails here.
So where do you get a webhost?
I'm assuming that you've already figured out how to register your unique domain name - also called Universal Resource Locator (URL). A computer somewhere on this earth will have to keep the HTML files that your web site is made of. A company somewhere on this earth will have to manage and maintain those files. This is called webhosting.
This is a loaded question.
Are you a beginner? Do you own and operate your website? Or does someone else build and operate (maintain) it for you?
How big is your site and how big do you expect it to grow? How much traffic do you expect to generate? The answers have to do with the amount of web space and bandwidth (traffic) you want to get. Have you checked if your Internet Service Provider (ISP) through which you get online provides a webhosting service?
What sort of functionality do you expect to have on your site? How do you plan to manage it? Are you a high maintenance person that requires free or low cost phone calls to the webhosting support staff? This determines where the webhosting provider is located.
When I first started analyticalQ.com I needed very little web space. 10MB was enough for the first year. Now I need 200 MB because of all the PDF, MP3, and JPG files I've loaded in the past few years.
Webhosting is sticky business. You won't want to change the webhost, especially after you've gotten accustomed to its site management facilities. But if your webhost consistently delivers disappointing service or lower reliability than stated in the Service Level Agreement (SLA), you may want to shop around.
11 February 2003 Tuesday