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Guides for choosing a web host and directories of web hosting companies are the focus of this category.

Before deciding on a web hosting company, several things need to be taken into consideration, and some of these will be more important to one prospective client than to another. Comparing the features and technical aspects of hosting companies whose websites you visit can be complex and confusing. Complicating this even further is the fact that most web hosts offer a variety of plans and options, each with their own specifications, features, limitations, and prices.

Some of the aspects that should be considered are the reliability, speed, and uptime ratios of any web host you are thinking about engaging. Whatever the nature of your website, it is reasonable to assume that you want your site to be available to visitors and prospective customers and that it will operate at a speed that doesn't turn your site visitors away. Several web hosting companies advertise 100% uptime, which would seem to indicate that your site will never go down if it hosted with them. Unfortunately, this is an unrealistic promise. Whether you choose to interpret such a promise to be an indication that the company will do everything within their power to prevent your site from going down or whether you consider such a promise to be a sign of disenguity is up to you. On the other hand, a web host that promises a 99% uptime is telling you that your site will be down for nearly four days a year, and that is unacceptable. Keeping in mind that 100% uptime is unrealistic and that 99% is too low, it might make sense to look for a promise of 99.5% to 99.9% as a promise they might be able to deliver on.

Another consideration is data transfer or bandwidth. This is the amount of information transferred from your site to visitors. Some types of websites require more bandwidth than others, so if you plan to have a lot of high-end graphics on your site, you don't want to choose a host that doesn't offer a lot of bandwidth. Remember also that if your website is successful, your demands will increase.

Technical support is also important. It may be important for you to know that there is someone who you can call on the phone if you are having a problem with your hosting, but many hosting companies offer only email support, while others will simply refer you to a wiki page that you may or may not be able to understand. Tech support at some web hosting companies will provide some support for third-party applications, while others will not.

Depending on your needs and expertise, an intuitive control panel, such as cPanel, might be important. A good control panel will give you access to a wealth of facilities and features that will help you in maintaining your website.

Secure server layers, including SSL certificates, are increasingly important, particularly if you intend to do business through your website. Even purely informational websites receive a bump in their SEO through the inclusion of an SSL certificate. Most hosts now provide this, either as a part of the hosting fee or as an extra charge.

Does the hosting company you are considering provide email addresses and, if so, how many? Most web hosts do, but some don't and others limit the number of email addresses that can be configured.

Do you plan on hosting multiple domains on your hosting plan, or to include subdomains?

These, and many other considerations, will be important to you as you consider who to select as a host for your website. As this information can be difficult to find on many web hosting company websites, it can be helpful to reference a guide, a comparison site, or a directory of web hosting companies. These are the focus of topics in this category.



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