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Eight Tips For Choosing Your Business Web Host
by Jo Ann Joy

It takes good research to find a good business web host that is reputable and reliable. You should ask your business associates for their recommendations. There are internet sites that provide reviews of web hosting companies such as www.hosting-review.com. Take the time to find the most relevant and accurate information about web hosting before you choose a web host. Your web site must offer useful information and invite visitors to return to the site. You may use your web site for selling, marketing, or promotions that are important to the success of your business.

  1. Basic Requirements for a Web Host
    First, decide what services you need. If necessary, consult with a computer expert about disk space how much disk space your web site will require. If you plan to sell online, you will need a shopping cart, and you may need a merchant account so that you can accept credit card payments. Most web hosts charge to reserve your domain name, and there will be an initial set up fee and monthly fees, usually for less than $100 a month. They charge for updating the site, and they will charge to maintain your site.

  2. Mailing List Program
    You want a web host that provides a mailing list program that creates and maintains a database. You can use the database to create a mailing list that allows you to easily distribute newsletters, survey customers, make company announcements, or deliver training materials. This program is a valuable marketing and income-producing part of your online activity. This program must include the federally required “opt out” or “unsubscribe” feature.

  3. Statistical Visitor Data
    Be sure to choose a web host that provides you with feedback on the visitors to your site. You need a count of the visitors and the dates and times of their visits. You also want the web host to give you reports such as charts, graphs, or other formats that explain the activity on your web site. Research each potential web host and compare their services and costs.

  4. Autoresponders
    Your web host should offer you an email program that automatically replies to vistors’ email messages you receive. This program automatically sends form letters in response to any messages. This program also automatically enters the visitors’ information into your database and makes it part of the mailing list program.

  5. E-Commerce
    If you are selling online, you do not want mistakes or problems that will upset your customers and limit your sales. E-commerce web hosts must provide high level security and encrypt credit card numbers and other personal information. Your web host may be able to provide you with e-commerce software at a reduced price. Some web hosts will give you a regular report of how many visitors come to your site.

  6. Security
    If you make sales online, you want your web host to provides security measures so that you can safely accept payment online. A protocol is required to encrypts data transfers, account numbers, etc. Ask potential web hosts if they provide SSL (Secure Socket Layer) Security to protect data transfers and confirm identities so that your customers’ personal information will be protected.

  7. Anonymous FTP
    Most business web hosting plans offer File Transfer Protocol (FTP), and that gives visitors the ability to download files from your site. If you want your visitors to have access to free downloads without a password or other identification, you want Anonymous FTP. This makes your site and its features easier to use your visitors, maximizing the "user friendly" capabilities of your site.

  8. Hosting Your Own Web Site
    There are many requirements if you plan to host your own web site, and you must be sure that it is cost effective. Hosting your own site can cost thousands of dollars that you could use to build a bigger, better web site, because it is expensive to host your own site. In order to host your site, your internet service provider has to set up your hosting, and you need the right hardware and software.

    You must pay someone to serve as your webmaster and maintain your site, and that person must have the technical skill run your site efficiently your hardware. They also need some programming skills, and they will be expensive. You must have a dedicated high-speed internet connection which will cost a minimum of $200 a month. If you require a high-speed T1 line, the cost is thousands of dollars a month.

    You must have authorized IP (Internet Protocol) addresses issued by your internet service provider to give your web site specific internet addresses, and you must purchase a domain name and reserve it for approximately $15 per year. The required web server software can be purchased from several vendors including Microsoft and Netscape, and it costs between $500 and $2,000. You must also have a good computer that can run your server with high memory, a good processor, large memory capacity, and large hard disk. The computer will cost at least $2,000, and you will need additional hardware and software.

Your business web hosting plan is one of the major ingredients of your business plan. Make a list of your business needs. Don't take for granted that your hosting company can offer the features you need to conduct your planned activities. Your web hosting plan must offer the specific features you need to help your business grow.

About This Learning Center Article
Jo Ann Joy, Esq., MBA, is the CEO of Indigo Business Solutions. We give you the secrets to success. For information about other important legal, tax, and business topics, copies of articles, or EBooks, please visit our website at www.IndigoBusinessSolutions.net

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