Small Business Websites – Don’t Risk Your Future On Inadequate Hosting

Posted: Monday May 9th

No small business start-up can afford to under-estimate the vital importance of a website. The effectiveness of an internet presence can make or break a new venture. Yet hosting, which helps guarantee the smooth running of the site, is frequently chosen simply on price. That could be a catastrophic mistake.

At its most basic, hosting might be described as just a bit of space on a big hard drive in a remote location. So if that’s the case, why don’t businesses save the money and host their website themselves?

Well first, there’s the maintenance issue. A website should be available 365 days of the year, 24 hours a day. If something goes wrong with the hard drive that holds the website data, or the main computer, the connection to the internet, or even the electricity supply, that site will disappear until the breakdown is resolved.

Next there is security. We are all aware of hackers. If a company hosts its own site it has to be prepared for attacks at any time, and skilled enough to defeat them. Finally there are software issues. Your computer may run fine on it’s own, but what happens when you connect it to the rest of the world wide web?

Most companies can’t afford to have a hardware expert, a software engineer and an internet guru available all day and night, so for a few dollars a month you pay a hosting company – and leave those problems to someone else!

In reality, of course, your hosting company provides much more than just hard disk space. At the very least they should provide some kind of double redundancy system and file back-up. In other words, your website won’t be on one hard drive but two (or more), so that if one should fail the other takes over in a fraction of a second. Nobody would ever know there was a problem.

A good hosting provider doesn’t stop at just maintaining the availability of your website. They will also provide you with email services and more besides. You may not initially need all that is offered, but you need to look to the future. While it is not prohibitively difficult to change hosting, it is obviously better if you don’t need to.

So as your company expands it might well want to take advantage of mysql databases (which are used by things like shopping carts), extra ftp accounts, multiple domain names, sub domains, blog software, cron jobs or any number of options which good hosts include with your monthly rental. You may not know what half those things mean right now, but you will be surprised how soon one or more of them will become important to your web development!

As you may now realize, hosting is quite a complex subject, and it is perhaps unfair to expect most small business owners to know all the ins and outs. However, if that’s the case, how can you make an informed decision about which company to choose?

The key is flexibility. It’s easy for a company to say they give you 50 gigabytes of server space, which is almost certainly adequate to start with, but what about bandwidth? Server space is the actual amount of hard drive your site uses but bandwidth is at least as important, if not more so. Bandwidth can be viewed as your site’s capacity to handle visitors. As more people access it, more bandwidth is consumed. Ten times your actual server space allowance is common.

An important issue here is what happens if you exceed those allowances. It’s surprisingly easy to do, particularly if your marketing efforts create a sudden traffic spike. Some budget hosts will simply cut you off until you pay for an upgrade. A good host will absorb any short-term excess and contact you to discuss the best way forward.

You should also be able to rely on your host for a degree of technical support. Even quite experienced web users run into situations from time to time where they lack knowledge. At times like these it’s good to have a well-staffed ticket system, or interactive online support, to help you resolve any issues as quickly as possible.

As a new business start-up you probably won’t need things like virtual or dedicated servers for a while, but it’s worth finding out if your potential host provides an easy upgrade path.

There are hundreds of different hosting companies online with a mind-boggling number of options. The easy choice for small business owners is to pick the cheapest. However, when you consider the importance of the decision it is worth taking a bit more time and finding the correct solution at the start. If you aren’t sure about anything, try asking the hosting company you are considering selecting. If they are capable, and want your business, they will find you the answers!

Choosing an Email Hosting Service – What to Consider

Posted: Monday May 9th

Everyone needs email, as a means of communication it is a modern day necessity. And while it is tempting to look only at free options for mail email hosting, there are other things to be taken into account before choosing between paid email hosting services and free webmail options.
Before deciding to go with a free or webmail hosting service, users should be aware of possible pitfalls of these systems. For example, most free email hosting services are funded through other means such as advertising revenue which means providers need to bombard users with promotional messages during the time that they spend accessing their email accounts. For users this can be distracting and frustrating as popups and other advertising formats interfere with their own interaction with their email account. With a paid for email hosting service, the subscriptions paid by users will fund their accounts meaning that screen clutter is kept to a minimum, allowing users to access their email with ease.

Another issue with free webmail email hosting is storage. While a small inbox facility may be fine for those who simply wish to exchange a few words with friends or acquaintance, or use an email account simply as a repository for spam resulting from supplying contact details online for surveys, offer or competitions, for anyone who needs to receive documents, pictures and more free email accounts can soon become clogged meaning that messages sent to them bounce back to the sender, risking the possibility of webmail users missing out on important communications.

The final issue associated with the use of a free webmail service is privacy. Recently controversy arose over the revelation that some webmail providers were effectively scanning the contents of their users’ communications. Many subscription email hosting services will provide a privacy guarantee to their customers.

Is Linux Hosting Superior to Windows Hosting?

Posted: Monday May 9th

The answer as to whether Linux hosting is superior to Windows hosting varies depending on who you ask. Both options offer certain advantages, some of which are minor while others are major ones. What are some of the advantages/disadvantages of these two operating systems?

The Cost Factor

Since Linux is an open source application, the initial price is perfect for those individuals looking to save money or cut down on business expenses. After all, Linux is free. All of the programmers are volunteers who provide quality work due to their commitment to the project. Is Linux actually free to use though? Not really. If a company is using Linux hosting, then they must also make arrangements for annual operating system (OS) support, which does have a hefty annual cost attached to it.

The initial cost of Windows, on the other hand, is not free despite the fact that it also has numerous programmers who provide quality work. In fact, Microsoft continually tweaks and changes the operating system, which leads to computer users constantly needing to spend more money in their quest to purchase the newest version of the Windows OS. Plus, annual system support is also a necessity that is going to add to business costs. Even so, some cost studies have indicated that the price to cover the management and maintenance of a Windows-based operating system is less than that of a Linux-based OS. The initial cost of the product itself is negligible when taking all of this into consideration.

The Performance/Stability Factor

While Windows-based operating systems have been designed to handle numerous applications and running processes at the same time, its stability appears to decrease as it does so. Early versions of Windows (95 and 98) have had serious issues with errors such as the infamous “Blue Screen” error. Later versions of Windows have had their own performance issues as well, offering the impression that the Windows-based operating system does not always offer the most stable or reliable performance for those who use it.

Linux, on the other hand, has been touted as being extremely reliable and stable when multiple processes are running at the same time. While this suggests that the Linux operating system might perform at a higher level than Windows, the truth of the matter is that the performance of an operating system is often directly linked to the knowledge of the individual who is using it. In the case of a small or large business, this responsibility falls on the system administrator.

Incorporating System Changes

Windows has been designed to accept changes readily via the technology and tools that have already been built into the OS. This makes for a streamlined effort on the part of the system administrator and a lower overall cost factor. With Linux, a variety of different processes and tools are often required in order to implement certain necessary changes. Of course, the overall cost of implementing such changes might be higher.

When Windows Hosting Is Superior to Linux Hosting

If a website and its applications are going to be based in .NET and ASP, then Windows hosting is the way to go. Linux simply cannot accommodate either of these.

Since the Windows OS is more popular than Linux, hosting services are often more readily available to choose.

When Linux Hosting Is Superior to Windows Hosting

Linux hosting can easily accommodate software that operates in the Linux environment such as phpBB boards or WordPress blogs.

Linux hosting is ideal for moderate level complexities including those that incorporate Shell scripts or necessitate root level access to the server.

Linux Web servers are thought to provide greater stability, robustness, and security than Windows Web servers.

Intro: When it comes to Web hosting, most computer users have an opinion as to which is better- Linux hosting or Windows hosting. Is one better than the other?

Putting Your Small Business Online: Finding the Best Web Host

Posted: Monday May 9th

These days, in order to achieve success as a small business owner, it is necessary to create a website and to establish a stable online presence for your business. This is not so hard to accomplish even for non-technical individuals since hundreds of website templates are available to help small business owners create professional looking business sites. Business owners have another option: hire a professional web designer to create a customized website for them. But small business owners can’t have an online presence unless they find a good web host company for their business website.

As a small business owner, you need to consider several things when choosing a web hosting company. Three important things you need to consider are the fees involved, reliability of the company, and the quality of customer support provided.


Cost is the number one consideration for most small business owners because most of them don’t really have a huge financial capital to work with. Fortunately, small business hosting services are not too expensive. You can find a few free hosting services, although it is not a good idea to use these for business purposes. Free web hosts tend to have poor customer support and frequent downtimes, which will make you look very unprofessional in the eyes of your customers. Many paid web hosting services are inexpensive. You shouldn’t have to pay more than $100 a year for an excellent web hosting service, and many decent web hosting companies charge as low as $5 a month for hosting.


Another important element that you should consider is the web host’s reliability. Frequent downtimes are unacceptable, and this is particularly crucial if you are expecting a heavy flow of traffic to your website. No matter how many people visit your site, they should be able to navigate through your pages with ease and speed.

Customer Support

A good web hosting company must have a reliable customer support system. Before you sign up for a web hosting service, make sure the company offers 24-hour customer support service and that the company’s representatives are fully competent to address customer inquiries. Also ask how long it usually takes customer support to respond to technical issues. Ideally, a good web hosting company should have a customer support team that is able to respond within 24 hours. Anything longer than that is a sign of poor service, and you should seriously consider looking elsewhere. The better web hosting companies have people who are able to respond in an hour or less.