Is Your Web Hosting Service Holding You Back?

By Tom Mulkern
On August 15, 2004 At 4:59 pm

Category : Beginners
Tags : data center, design, domain, email, web hosting

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The massive amount of money being poured into Internet business has pushing development faster than anyone could ever have expected. Firms that can spend millions to develop their site and servers raise the bar for all of us.

The simple web sites that worked just fine 18 months ago seem like dinosaurs today. Now customers expect eye-catching design, targeted content, interactivity, multi-media presentations, even instant customization.

If your web hosting company doesn’t offer key features and reliability, your site will have “yesterday’s news” written all over it. Here are four developments you should look for when upgrading to a better host.

  1. Insist on first rate technical support. The days of making customers wait days or even weeks for their site to come back up are long gone. If your hosting company doesn’t answer your email or phone call within a few hours, it is time to look for a service that does. You should expect a guarantee: if you don’t get tech answers within a specified time, your service should be free.
  2. While you’re at it, make sure your new host has the technological upgrades that prevent down time. We’ve found servers have far better reliability and speed when in a climate-controlled environment with back-up power and fire-suppression systems, bandwidth-on-demand connections, and server drives with an excellent track record. In order to have the fastest site possible, find a Web Host with “OnNet” connections, which means their Data Center is directly on an Internet backbone instead of connecting to it from miles away.
  3. Make sure your host allows audio and video streaming along with popular Shockwave support. Now that AOL has embraced the Real Audio format, we can expect millions more to jump on the multimedia bandwagon. If your site only offers static text, visitors will see you as two steps behind the times. Plus, you will be missing out on the 50% increase in sales that audio and video immediately bring.
  4. our host should give you complete control in administering your website and make it easy for you to do that. Instead of requiring Telnet and programming knowledge, they should have a user friendly interface for things such as setting up mailboxes, adding automated newsletters, adding Front Page extensions, setting up shopping carts, using Web Forms, viewing your statistics, and other important functions. An easy web-based interface will save you time and frustration because you can do all these things yourself instead of relying on a programmer or waiting for your host’s support staff to get around to it.

Take a long look at not only what you need to have now, but what your Internet operation will need in the months to come as you succeed and expand. Plan for additional pop accounts, email aliases, domains, and more. Above all, make sure your hosting service is HELPING you get your site to the next level.