Secrets of Web Hosting Providers - How to choose the RIGHT one!

- By the team

A lot of people complain that though they own a web site, there are a lot of problems they face with their web hosting providers.

Most complain of the speed with which their sites download, a few complain of the servers being down many a times, email servers not responding, bandwidth problem (total number of data transfer in and out of your site) ... the list goes on and on.

Due to current advancement in science and technology, and the prices of electronic/computer equipment falling drastically, it's now-a-days very inexpensive to run a mid-range server. A midrange server is the one that most of the hosting providers use to host your site. It is for this reason that you can host your website for as low as 40 dollars per year. (There are a few who take even less.)

It must be running in your mind, how on Earth can they do this? Consider a hosting provider with a server space of 100 GB. (They actually have much more, I have taken this figure only to simplify calculations.) Suppose the minimum they sell is a space of 10 GB. Lets assume 10 people buy the minimum specified space - that is 10 * 10 GB = 100 GB. The server is full. Right? WRONG!

You never occupy the full space provided to you. Most of the site owners only occupy 50% of the space they buy. This means the hosting company can still sell the space to approximately 10 more customers. This makes things very clear - when you buy server space, you are not given a separate place in their servers, you are only "allowed" to take the maximum amount of space bought by you. If you take less, they are more than happy.

Now lets come back to the basic question - What should you look at while choosing a web hosting provider vis-à-vis your search engine placement campaign!

It depends on a lot of things. But what is primarily important is what you want to do with your Website. That is, you want your site to be all .html pages, or .shtml pages, or .asp or .php or a combination of all these.

If its all html, don't bother - most of the web site hosting providers do support .html files. The problem is only when you need other specifications.

Most of the web site hosting providers offer two platforms (operating system) - Windows and Linux. Windows support certain back-end software and Linux supports some other. But actually there isn’t much that can be achieved in one platform that can’t be on the other. The main difference is how the end is achieved. For example, if you need a database driven website, you can choose either PHP/MySQL/Python combination under Linux or ASP/MSSQL/MSAccess combination under Windows®2000.

Your webmaster is in a better position to tell you which platform will suit your website requirements, since he knows the technicalities involved. The bottom line is - you can achieve whatever you want by using any of the platforms.

Now let's discuss speed. The operating system of the server has nothing to do with the speed of downloading of your website, it is the server's specification itself.

Every data transfer mechanism has a speed limit. The bandwidth of the modem has a big role to play here. Most dial up modems are limited to 56 Kbits per second. Even large, ISP and Web Host size connections have speed limits. Here are the maximum speeds for most of the common types of dedicated Internet connections:

Connection Type:
Maximum Line Speed (Kbits/second)
Maximum Line Speed (Mbits/second)
















Fast Ethernet









Gigabit Ethernet






The "slowest" ISP class connection to the Internet is called the T1. The T1 is a 1.544 Mbit/second connection. Typically a T1 is too slow for all but the smallest web hosts. The next fastest ISP class connection to the Internet is called the T3. The T3 is a 45 Mbit/second connection. Most middle to large sized ISPs and Web Hosts use T3 lines since they are fast and relatively cost effective.

A knowledge of the ISP connection your web site hosting company has will help you to take a better decision. A better connection means your Website will download faster. If you don't find it in their Website (most of them do keep it), ask them for it!

Other server specifications which are responsible for downtime are - RAM, Hard Drive's RPM and virtual memory, CPU capacity, and of course the overall network connectivity.

All these information are a little difficult to get, but if you feel they are important - do not hesitate to get them from your hosting provider.

One of the biggest misconceptions is that you have to run Linux on your own computer in order for you to host your site on Linux platform. That is not true. Which operating system you run on your computer is irrelevant in making your decision. This means that if you are running Windows98 or Windows®2000 on your computer, you can still choose Linux.

Over the years, many resources have been poured into both Linux and Windows®2000 platforms to make hosting as easy as possible. Today, there are no differences in terms of ease of use between these platforms. If you are an advanced user who prefers to work in shell environment, then Linux is your choice. However, if you are a beginner, you will find both platforms user friendly, especially with a help of our user-friendly control panel interface.

What is the difference between Virtual or Shared Web Hosting and Dedicated Web Hosting?

A lot of people have asked me this question. Dedicated web hosting is, as the name suggests, a dedicated server for a particular Website. Since this server is dedicated, it is very costly to establish and maintain. Obviously, small businesses and webmasters cannot afford a dedicated server. Virtual or Shared Web hosting provides these consumers with the option to outsource their Internet requirements inexpensively.

Dedicated web hosting is costly because you are the sole owner of the all the materials involved to host your website. Since nobody shares your resources, its only you who has to pay for the maintenance and everything else involved to host your site. Hence its quite reasonable that you end up paying more for dedicated web hosting. You guessed it right, shared or virtual web hosting is cheap because there are many like you who are sharing the resources and hence the load is distributed. So if you are looking for small business on the Internet, virtual web hosting should be your obvious choice.

The job of the virtual web hosting company is to provide your Website some space to host, FTP facility, emails, security and whatever is required to run a site. A decent virtual web hosting company should give you this:

  • Free 24x7 technical support
  • Unlimited File Transfer Protocol (FTP)
  • Access to Web statistics, so that you can know how many Internet clients are visiting your site
  • Backup of your Website everyday/week
  • Full CGI-BIN access so that as you upload scripts that will add functionality to your Website
  • Web based email access to let you access/reply your mails from any Internet connection anywhere in the world.

Most of the virtual web hosting companies provide the users a control panel that allows a consumer to control most aspects of their hosting service through an online graphical interface.

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