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From Silverton Standard, the place where you can write!
Posted on June 15 2009, 0:24am by MrBill in Business category

Small Business Web Site Hosting Review

Cheap Web Hosts don't necessarily save you money. Here's how to be sure to get the best no matter what your price range.
 

Web Hosting Selection

Choosing the right web hosting solution can be a daunting task. Most of the information on the web regarding web hosting solutions is sales oriented and often misleading. At E7systems we research our hosting solutions thoroughly and can offer the following unbiased advice. (Unbiased, because we don't host for profit, but only for the convenience of our web and software development customers.)

Web hosting solutions can be grouped into three broad categories:

  • Budget Provider
  • High-end Provider
  • In-House Server

The right web hosting solution depends on your business requirements. Before searching for a web hosting solution you should answer the following questions.

  • How complex is your web site and application?
  • How much Traffic do you expect?
  • How much will down time really cost?
  • Who will maintain the site and hosting issues?

Web Hosting Solutions Compared

Web hosting solutions are available by the thousands, and the best web hosting providers change day by day. What you seek is a solution that will provide you with the right web hosting features at a reasonable cost and a minimum of headaches. To target the right range of web hosting providers compare the pros and cons of each class to the web hosting requirements you outlined above.

Web Hosting Solution

Pros

Cons

Budget Web Hosting

Cheap
Fast Setup
Excellent Free Tools
User Friendly Stats Etc.

Frequent Downtimes
Performance inconsistencies.
Service inconsistencies

High-End Web Hosting

Rock solid performance Rock solid security
Excellent Tech-Support

Costs Minimum of $250/month

In House Web Hosting

Unlimited Flexibility

Costs are highest of all

General Web Hosting Suggestions

Budget Web Hosting

Budget web hosting solutions are a great place to start if your site is not too complex and you can stand a few hours of down-time per month. Budget web hosting solutions are fast to set up and usually come with a full array of user friendly tools for statistics, email setup and mailing list managers. Some even come with useful scripts for guest books and the like.

Be aware: Most budget or cheap web hosting solution providers can make a profit only by stuffing as many customers as possible onto a single box. Many of these services are only $10/month. Just ask yourself how much technical support and hardware they can throw your way for $10 / month. Even the smartest techies and the best intentions will feel the pressure to make a profit at these commodity prices. Many budget web host providers are very good at what they do, but the customer must be realistic in their expectations. More importantly, the budget web hosting customer must be prepared (really ready) to change providers should their hosting service melt-down under the pressure.

E7Hosting once had a dozen sites hosted at one of the top three budget web hosting providers. Their service was fast and efficient, the tools were great, and prices were low. About a year into the relationship, the provider started having "network outages". They lost data. They even had a FIRE in their data center. The lesson in this experience is that budget web hosts are a great tool for the start-up web project, but even the best can go bad, so be realistic and be ready to change. Another provider had 26 E7 sites on board when the head guy disappeared for a week. Basically, be ready to change once every 6 months, if you go the budget route and have more than the most rudimentary requirements.

High-End Web Hosting

High-end solutions are appropriate for the customer who needs rock solid reliability and service. While reliability and service come at a cost, you need to compare that to the cost of being down. If your site is an ecommerce site doing over $10,000 per month you probably want to spend the extra money and go with a high end provider. Other indications that you need to go high-end are

  • Any connection to financial or emergency services.
  • Heavy site traffic
  • Tight Security or Data backup requirements
  • Extra support needs

The other cost justifier for going high-end is the service factor. The best high-end web hosting providers will provide you with 7/24 telephone support by highly capable engineers. Using a consultant or in-house employee to provide the same level of expertise would cost much more than the $250/month starting price of high-end services.

Finally, high-end web hosting services are priced to realistically cover adequate hardware and excellent support while still allowing the provider to make a profit. This means your provider and their high quality service are more likely to be a long-term, high value partner in your web busyness.

In-house servers

In-house servers are for businesses that have the requirements for infinite control and flexibility. They should only be considered by organizations that have secure data centers with redundant connections and available staff to configure and maintain them. E7 hosting currently has an in-house server. However, we are phasing this out for the following reasons.

  • The server adds $100/month to our power and data costs.
  • The server is subject to an average of 7 attacks per day from worms and other Internet Nasties.
  • The server has fewer end-user tools and less sophisticated management software than is being provided by outsourced web hosting providers.

Finally, we cannot afford to know everything, and the easiest body of knowledge to outsource is UNIX system administration. Before you go the in-house route, carefully consider where you want to make investments in your company's infrastructure and core competency.

Our Web Hosting Solutions

We are happy to share our selections for web hosting. While we make them available to our customers to facilitate their web launch, we don't profit from the hosting business. So please contact them directly if you wish.

Web Hosting Solution

Who

Why

Budget Web Hosting

Personal phone support.
Great end-user and management tools.
 

High-End Web Hosting


 

Rock solid performance Rock solid security
Excellent Tech-Support

 

 

 

 

 

 

E7hosting.com is the web hosting arm of e7systems.com, a web application development firm in Durango, Colorado.

E7sytems.com specializes in Marketing Technologies, On-Line Community development, customer relationship management and related distributed information systems. E7hosting.com is a service offered exclusively to development clients of e7systems.com. Click for more information.

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