Tips Choosing a Commercial Web Host

There is another factor you should consider when choosing a “web hosting”: beside speed, bandwidth, disk space, and technical support. I listed 6 items here.

*FTP, PHP, Perl CGI-BIN access, SSI, .htaccess, telnet, SSH, crontabs*
If you are paying for a site, you really should make sure you have all of these. Note that some commercial hosts do not allow you to install PHP or CGI scripts without their approval. Check to see if these facilities are provided.

*SSL (secure server), MySQL, Shopping Cart*
If you are planning on doing any sort of business through your website, you might want to look out to see if the host provides these facilities. These facilities normally involve a higher priced package or additional charges. The main thing is to check to see if they are available at all before you commit to the host. You will definitely need SSL if you plan to collect credit card information on your site.

*Email, Autoresponders, POP3, Mail Forwarding*
Does the host allow you to have a catch-all email account that allows to wind up being routed to you? Can you set an email address to automatically reply to the sender with a preset message (called an autoresponder)? Can you retrieve your mail with your email software? Can it be automatically forwarded to your current email address?

*Control Panel*
Control Panel is called various names by different hosts, but essentially, they all allow you to manage different aspects of your web account yourself. Typically, and at the very minimum, it should allow you to do things like add, delete, and manage your email addresses, and change passwords for your account. I would not go for a host where I have to go through their technical support each time I want to make changes.

*Multiple Domain Hosting and Subdomains*
For those who are thinking of selling web space or having multiple domains or subdomains hosted in your account, you should look to see if they provide this, and the amount extra that they charge for this (whether it is a one-time or monthly charge, etc).

Price is always a factor, you should realise that you often get what you pay for, although it’s not necessarily true that the most expensive hosts are the best.

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