A Local Web Host That Offers No Phone Support
When considering to get a web hosting, most of the people I talk to start with setting a budget. The next thing they look at is whether they should get a foreign or a local web hosting provider. In most instances, foreign web hosting companies offer similar services at lower prices. At first glance, it does seem that it doesn't make any sense to buy from a local web hosting provider. At this point, customers should be aware of the following checks. One, test the speed of the servers by doing a ping test.
"Ping what?" When you perform a ping test, you are using a utility to forward data packets to test the quality of a connection to a machine from where you reside. You can run a ping test from the DOS command using Windows. Click Start > Run and type in "cmd" (without the quotation marks). A Dos window should be launched. In the Dos prompt, enter "ping www.
your-test-host.com". When you do that, your machine will send 4 data packets and you should see the response time of the reply from the web server. Pay attention to the Approximate Round Trip in milli-seconds. Our local servers average 34ms. A ping test on a server residing in the United States average 289ms. Sometimes, packets are dropped due to a poor quality connection. In such cases, you should see a "Request Timed Out" in one or more of the replies. Note that there are exceptions. Some servers run protection software that prevents outsiders from pinging their servers.
Most customers can live with the difference in milli-seconds. However, if the servers are unstable or unreliable, it becomes a big turn off. The second check on your checklist is to double check the reliability of the servers. Most reputable web hosting companies come with a 99.9% server uptime guarantee. They claim to have backup hardware for almost everything and if something goes wrong, the standby kicks in immediately. I'm sure you would immediately recognize the challenge of verifying such claims. One way to do this is to sign up for the cheapest package from the company and upload a website. Use a monitoring tool to monitor the downtime of their web servers. Some of them come free and some come with a small monthly fee.
I get an alert from http://www.internetseer.com if my website goes down and another alert when it goes back up. It's free to signup and you only pay if you want their advance reports. However, this takes time and if you are in a hurry, a convenient way of assessing a provider's reliability is to depend of reviews. You can get pretty good feedback from online forums. http://www.sgwebhostingtalk.com and http://www.sgwebmasterforum.
com are a couple of active local forums for web hosting reviews. For foreign host reviews, I would personally recommend http://www.webhostingtalk.com or http://www.webhostingforum.com. If you come across any deals over the Internet and would like to check up on these companies, be sure to make a search on these forums. You should also make it a point to check how long the web hosting company has been in business. Some big companies may setup smaller companies to offer lower prices to acquire customers.
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