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Assume we know nothing about web hosting but need to get a site online. What questions do we need to ask potential web hosting companies? What are the pitfalls and places where things can go terribly wrong? Are there any general good or bad things to be on the lookout for? Site could be anything from basic HTML up to e-commerce. We're looking for general thoughts that could apply to any web hosting. Thanks!

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closed as not a real question by Sam, David Spillett, Zypher, John Gardeniers, womble Dec 22 '09 at 2:37

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Your going to have to be more detailed about what you are trying to achieve here. What is it you are looking to host, static html, an applicaiton etc. – Sam Dec 21 '09 at 13:57
He may be hosting a web application with a huge database, or an ecommerce based site, or a basic static website. What I would like to know is the general pre measures that any business owner should know before he approach a web hosting provider? – user27102 Dec 21 '09 at 14:03
do you mean a layman or a lame man? I'd say neither needs to know anything about hosting at all to be honest. – Chopper3 Dec 21 '09 at 14:21
What I actually meant was a man without technical knowledge(lame)??? – user27102 Dec 21 '09 at 15:04
'layman' was what you were searching for. – pk. Dec 21 '09 at 16:26
up vote 3 down vote accepted

When you are planning to host a web site, there are a number of things to consider:

  • Bandwidth - How much traffic is your site expecting? Can your provider handle it? How will they bill you? Most hosting companies give you either a set amount of bandwidth (i.e. 500kbps sustained, burstable to 1.5Mbps), or a set amount of "data transfer" (i.e. you can send up to 100GB per month). Either way is fine, but figure out how much bandwidth and transfer you will need based on your estimated traffic and choose a plan accordingly. How much will they bill you if you use more than your plan provides for? Will they shut your site off? Will they bill you up to the next plan level or just for the overage?

  • Storage - For most sites this is not an issue, but most plans provide for a set amount of storage space on the server. Make sure your hosting plan provides adequate storage. Like bandwidth, how much will they bill for overage?

  • Speed and Stability - How many other people are on the server your site will be hosted on? Hundreds? Thousands? Is it stable? Can another customer bring down the server and your site along with it? If uptime is important, you will want either a virtual dedicated server or a physical dedicated server instead of shared hosting. This may be required if you are doing e-commerce because of the PCI compliance rules.

  • Support - If you don't know a lot about hosting, this will be very important. Get referrals from people you know and look for a provider with 24/7/365 toll-free support with smart people answering the phone that can actually help you.

  • Price - You can find hosting dirt-cheap, but remember, you get what you pay for. For a basic site with decent support you can get away with $12/mo or so. For more advanced applications or dedicated servers, the price goes up pretty fast into the $100+/mo range.

  • Larger Applications - If you need to deploy a larger application, can the hosting provider help you with things like load balancing between servers? Some will, some will not. If you think this is something you will need in the future, ask now so you won't have to change providers later.

  • Facilities - Where is their data center? What certifications does it hold? Does the hosting company own the facility or do they just rent a cage in someone else's facility? Do they own the servers or are they just reselling someone else's service? The closer you can get to the owner of the actual facility, the better the service is likely to be.

  • Security - How do they verify support requests? How hard would it be for someone to call them and convince them to reset your password? Is their physical location secure? Are the servers patched and locked down? How do they provide remote access to your files?

The list goes on and on, but these are just a few things to help get you started.

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Thank you very much for your valuable points. I am really impressed!! And one more clarification, why have they closed my question? Anything wrong? – user27102 Dec 22 '09 at 5:03
Your original question was sort of vague and had a couple of close votes before I rewrote it to be more specific. I covered the basics in my response, and I'm hoping there will be enough votes to re-open so others can add to the discussion as well. – Justin Scott Dec 23 '09 at 2:13