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How to Choose a Website Hosting Company

Unlimited bandwidth and web space In web hosting industry, the adage "you get what you pay for" is almost universally applicable. Do not fall for hosts offering unlimited allowances, as there is no unlimited bandwidth, nor unlimited web space. Host's pay for each GB of bandwidth themselves. Hard drives also aren't free, so how can they say it's unlimited? They simply are performing false advertising in order to attract customers.

The average website doesn't use more than 1GB of bandwidth per month; the customer is happy as he bought something "unlimited" and the host gets a new customer, which won't cost them any more than $1-2 USD per month. But imagine what would happen if I had a website, burning much more bandwidth than an average site does, and I signed up with a hosting company offering unlimited traffic? The host would simply suspend my account and tell me, that it was using too much bandwidth. There even are companies which offer unlimited bandwidth and have a statement on their terms of service, explaining that unlimited bandwidth means 40GB, for example.

Will you really own your domain name?
- When you buy a domain name together with a website hosting package, make sure the host will register the domain name under your name. It usually should be written in their FAQ, but, if there is no such information, simply contact them. This will also give you an opportunity to check how fast their customer support team replies to inquiries. If the hosting company registers domains under someone else's name, you may have problems switching hosting providers later. If you were in such situation, you would have to file for a Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP), which costs much more than both domain name and web hosting service together.

Control Panel
- For ease of maintenance, a feature called a Control Panel is a necessity; this tool will normally allow for regular maintenance, be it email mailbox additions/deletions, password resets, web additions, web count reports, statistics and so on. If the site is for any sort of business, this is an absolute must. The most popular web hosting management software currently available is cPanel. It's a next-generation web hosting control panel system that allows you to manage your domain through a web interface. The idea is to transfer as much of the control of managing your web site to you; you have the ability to manage all aspects of e-mail, files, backup, FTP, CGI scripts, and web site statistics.

Value-added services
- Hosting companies offer different value-added services in order to set themselves apart from the competition. Of course, these are an advantage, but a common mistake customers make is choosing a host just because it offers many value-added services which won't be used anyway. Some of the really useful features are:

1. Auto-installer script – Auto-installers will save you time if you are going to install a forum, image gallery, content management system, etc. Installation procedures on an auto-installer script take seconds and can be performed by novices without the need of doing difficult tasks usually associated with installations.

2
. Online website builder - It lets you design a website in a few minutes without having any creation software and knowledge. One very powerful website builder on the market is Site Studio; this editor allows for ease of use, full control of color schemes and themes, one-click publishing, and an array of templates to use.

The last tip
- In this article, I've mentioned only a few warning signs which are worth considering. You should know yourself that price and allocations aren't as important as the quality of service; if the budget is absolutely limited, then the price can be a valid criterion, but otherwise it shouldn’t receive much credence. By going through this article and asking questions, you can narrow down the list of web hosts to the point where a good, sound decision can be easily made.

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