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Is it necessary to choose a web developer that also provides hosting services?
by: Stacia Siegrist
No. If you happen to find a web developer that fits all of the criteria for your web page and they provide excellent hosting options at a reasonable price, GREAT!

For the majority of the people, however, this is not the case. Actually, quite often people sign up for hosting through their Internet Service Provider (depending on your web sites needs, it may not cost any extra per month above the dial-up fee). If your ISP or web developer doesn’t offer hosting or if it doesn’t meet your criteria, don’t’ fret, there are more hosting companies to choose from than you would care to know about! A little research will go a long way in finding companies that will best service each of your needs. In this article we will take a look at several issues to keep in mind when choosing a hosting company: Cost, Support, and Service.

Cost. For a company that doesn’t require their own server and has a static web page, you should expect to pay between $20 and $50 a month for web site hosting and possibly another $20 a month for your dial-up number. If you are paying more than $50 a month you should question the hosting company. As a general rule of thumb, you should expect to receive more services as the fee increases.

Support could be especially critical for the novice web user! Has your blood pressure ever increased just thinking about contacting a particular company? Companies that continually offer bad services should be avoided! There are plenty of solid hosting companies that offer good support. Call up the company and test them out. Are they friendly? Do they sound knowledgeable? Did you get the run around? In the following paragraph we’ll touch on several services you should ask about when contacting potential hosting companies. Better yet, have your web developer help you on this one – they’ve probably been around the block and may have some good recommendations. You might also want to ask the people around you who they use and if they are happy with the services they have received.

What Services do they provide? For the $20 - $50 range many hosting companies will provide the following services (sufficient for most web sites): a connection at 28.8K and/or higher (a connection speed any lower than 28.8K will be slow no matter how fast your modem is), at least a T3/T1 connection combination, at least 5 MB of web space, general web statistics, support via email and telephone, the ability for CGI scripts to be placed on their servers, and often times they even have a script library for a person with basic programming knowledge to access. Don’t be afraid to call up potential hosting companies and ask them to explain their services. This is a great way to rate their customer service!

If you find several companies that receive top marks in all of the above, go with the company that you feel most comfortable with. A good relationship with open communication makes working through any task more productive and fun. Building and maintaining a web site is generally a large investment of time and money – working with a company that you don’t feel comfortable with can turn into a hair raising, blood pressure increasing nightmare!

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Last updated: November 6, 1998