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Finding a New Web Host

It may be time to find yourself a new web host. Here's how to tell.

Should you change your web-hosting company? Before rushing into anything, give your service a thorough assessment. "Ask yourself, quite simply, whether you've received the service you expected," says Sebastian Moser, U.S. director of technical development at 1&1 Internet Inc., a web-hosting provider in Chesterbrook, Pennsylvania. So what should you expect from a web host?

"First and foremost, it should provide speedy and reliable service, and give you all the tools you need to have a sophisticated and productive website at a reasonable price," says Moser. Before you switch, Moser suggests you ask yourself the following questions. If you answer yes to any of them, it might be time to change.

  • Am I experiencing regular outages? The most important question is whether your site's availability is satisfactory, says Moser. While you will seldom achieve 100 percent availability, he says, "if you have experienced regular outages lasting longer than a couple of hours, it is time to switch."
  • Does my hosting company meet my needs? "It's surprising how often we find people operating multimillion-dollar businesses on one dedicated server, with no backup or redundant hard drives," says Moser. "Talk to your hosting company to learn more about how to best match your needs with the right technology."
  • Am I getting the best value for the price? At least once a year, do some comparison shopping--new hosting companies may have emerged, or existing companies may be offering better deals.

According to Moser, "Some of the bigger and more reputable web hosts will provide you with very feature-rich packages, with all the tools and resources you need at prices that are lower than ever, so it pays to do a little homework."

Melissa Campanelli is a technology writer in Brooklyn, New York, who has covered technology for Mobile Computing & Communications and Sales & Marketing Management magazines. You can reach her at mcampanelli@earthlink.net.

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This article was originally published in the January 2006 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: A Host of Options.

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