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And Now, Your Host.

Tips for finding a reliable Web hosting company

This story appears in the June 2000 issue of Business Start-Ups magazine.

Louis Silberman started off paying $35 a month for a service to host the site for Health4her.com, the women's health, wellness and beauty site he opened in November 1998. A year later, the 35-year-old Scottsdale, Arizona, entrepreneur had fired four Web-hosting services, finally buying three $6,000 servers-and paying a fifth service, Virtual Scape, $400 a month to house and maintain the computer and provide the Internet connection. Silberman's former hosts, he says, promised reliability and performance they couldn't deliver. As a result, he estimates Health4her.com lost more than $25,000 in sales due to downtime and overloaded host systems that slowed performance to a crawl.

Web-hosting computers store the files that contain the information on an e-business site and keeps it all connected to the Internet. Due to hosting's technical complexity, staffing requirements and the cost of high-speed Internet lines, most small e-businesses farm the job out. Third-party hosts provide space on a server, usually shared with other companies, as well as a speedy Internet connection and technical support.

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