4 Tips for a Better Hosting Experience: Web Hosting Fine Print Exposed: Part 2

Welcome back to Part 2 of Web Hosting Fine Print Exposed.

This series of articles reveals 14 points about web hosting fine print–things you should know and be aware of when looking for a web host.

We continue with another 4 points:

Web Host Who?

What’s the registered business name, address, phone number of the webhost?

Why do you want these? Obviously, you want to know who you’re going to do business with. If the info is available–good; if not–not good.

If the info is available you may want to check that’s it’s accurate. It never hurts to be cautious. You may want to get a credit report even though that depends on how critical your web site is.

The Web Host Support System

There are 3 points to discuss here:

1. How many ways are there to access the support department? Instant Messaging, email, phone? The more the better, though you probably only need one or two.

Phone support is great–you can actually talk to someone. It’s best if you’re new or have a complex site. Of course, phone support comes with its own price tag.

Make sure you know whether there are any extra fees for phone support, or limited amount of support calls per month.

2. Do they have an on-site forum? Most good web hosts maintain a forum where anyone can post a question. Take a careful look at the forums. How many posts are there? If you find just a few posts you know that the web host is probably new (though it can also mean that the forum is new — check the dates of the posts).

3. Service speed. None of the above matters if it takes two days to answer your emails or return your phone calls.

Most web hosts offer 24/7 customer care. Better than this is if the web host guarantees a response within a specific time frame.

Find out this crucial information and write the answers down on your evaluation sheet.

Your Neighbors: Adult Sites and Proxies?

Find out if your web host allows adult sites & proxies.

Adult sites. These sites create a particular environment that may not suitable for other sites. So, unless you want to run an adult site, you better find one that does not offer adult hosting.

Proxies. These are little scripts run on the server that allow other computers connect to the server and through it to the Internet. From the Internet’s side it appears as if though the server is accessing it and not the computer behind the proxy.

These scripts are of a security risk to the server and, therefore, most web hosts have banned them. Again, unless you want to offer a proxy service, you better find one that does not allow proxies.

Is your Web Host Used for Spam?

Check if the webhost’s servers are black listed in the spam directory.

You need to find out about all the IP addresses that the web host uses and check each one individually against the spam directory [http://www.ordb.org/lookup].

By the way, one reason why web hosts have banned proxies is for the fear of being used for spam. The proxy is used for sending spam e-mail, the server gets blacklisted in the spam IP directories.

This creates a lot of headaches for the host and you. Imagine that you’re emails are not delivered anymore because the recipients computers think you’re sending spam. Not good.

Web Host Uptime Explained

What is Uptime?

Uptime refers to how long the server (and you’re website) keeps running before it needs to restart for whatever reason.

So, what should you look for? Anything over 99.5% is good.

Servers do need to restart now and then: this could be part of regular maintenance or in some other unexpected cases.

The bottom line is: Downtime happens, the question is how it’s handled. And by that we mean: are you notified of scheduled downtimes and alerted in other cases?

How does the standard 99.5% uptime guarantee translate into hours?

First multiply the percentage of uptime promised by the number of hours in a day to find out the amount of uptime per day.

For example if a provider is promising 99.5% uptime

then 99.5 per cent = 0.995
0.995 * 24 hours = 23.88 hours

There are 23.88 hours of uptime guaranteed in a 24 hours day or 0.12 hrs not guaranteed.

0.12 hrs = 7.2 min.
0.12 * 60min = 7.2min

This means that the host approximately guarantees 23 hours and 52 minutes and 48 seconds of service per day.

That means that the maximum downtime tolerable in a week is approximately 50 minutes and 24 seconds.

This means 1.6 days in a year are not guaranteed, and your website is offline.

I hope these points will be useful!

In the Parts 3 & 4, we will cover these topics:

  • Refund Guarantee
  • Set-up Fee Scam
  • Help Moving Your Site
  • Resource Allocation
  • Shared vs. Reseller
  • Crowded Servers

Thanks for reading and stay tuned!

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