Share The Love: 5 Tips on Website Hosting

19 October 2008, by A. Cedilla

Part 2 of 2

If you want to put up a website on the Internet, you need to choose a web host. But, before everything else, you have to clearly state the purpose of the site you plan to put up.

 

For example, if you want to put up a few personal web pages meant to keep in touch and updated with friends and family, you can take advantage of the free service offered by your ISP, or even use one of the many free, very basic hosting services. Bear in mind that while many of these services come free or very cheaply, typically they are also sponsored by advertising, meaning there will be lots of ads and pop-ups.

On the other hand, a website that would include forums, polls, and things like Top 10 lists (as voted by your readers) would by necessity require a much more secure hosting service, as well as business-oriented websites.

The requirements for running such a site would call for database management and support, as will as more personalization in terms of scripts to allow forums and CMS. If you want to sell merchandise on-line, SSL is a must to assure your potential buyers that their credit card and payment details would be safe with you. You’d be better off with a professional web-hosting company that specializes in fulfilling the needs of your proposed site.

When looking to host your website, there are several key issues you must take into consideration. For more background information, you can read Disaster Recovery and Your Business.

Uptime
In simplest terms, uptime is the time that your site is available:, where Internet users can access your website, browse through it, and place orders. For you, uptime means time that you can get your customer”s orders and make money.

Uptime is generally measured as a percentage– the percentage of time a website is up and available to Internet visitors. In industry terms, the more ‘9s’ a hosting provider achieves in uptime performance, the better.

 

If you want it broken down, in a 24 hour period: 99.9% uptime would mean a possible 1 min. 26 sec. of downtime , 99.99% is .08 sec., and 99.999% would be .04 sec. This percentage, however, usually refers to the time the server is powered up, and doesn’t always include network downtime.

Security
For a website that collects credit card payments and personal identification, security is of utmost importance. Your customers must be confident that your site is secure, or you will not get their business. Security is also linked directly to uptime.

Redundancy
In addition to security and standards compliance, a good hosting provider will have the redundancy incorporated throughout its entire hosting infrastructure. In simplest terms, redundancy means having more than one of something – multiple servers, multiple firewalls, multiple databases and storage units, etc. For more on this, you can also read Data Storage Solutions.

A hosting provider with redundant servers, for example, can ensure more uptime because if one server goes down, another can takes over and do the work of the first without losing website performance.

Facility Maintenance and 24/7 Monitoring
To protect against disaster and other threats, a good hosting provider will maintain a locked, temperature-controlled data center equipped with fire protection and an alternate power source. The facility should be monitored on a 24/7 basis, as should performance details such as server uptime, load, traffic, etc. Monitoring should include an established intrusion detection system to guard against security breach.

Technical Support
The amount of technical support you receive from your hosting provider is often contingent on the amount you are willing to pay in monthly hosting rates. Some low-cost providers offer no technical support at all, while others in the low-to-mid-cost range offer email or online chat support. Some of the best hosting providers offer phone support (sometimes toll-free, but not always) in addition to online support methods.

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