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Choosing Web Hosting Provider - Space, Backup, Email Accounts

Choosing Web Hosting Provider - Technical Support
Choosing Web Hosting Provider - Space, Backup, Email Accounts
Choosing Web Hosting Provider - Database Services
Choosing Web Hosting Provider - Misc

Continuing our discussion from our previous article, lets discuss more features that play important part in deciding web hosting provider.

Space

In my previous article I gave example of my client who got warning email from their provider that they are over the quota allocated to them for storage or space for their site. The next question that comes up is how much space is enough for my web site or web application. And there is no concrete answer to this question. I always tell my clients, it depends. And immediate question is depends on what? The simple answer to question is space requirement depends on the type of web application are you building. Every line of bussiness (LOB) has different set of data and content to show on the web site. If your LOB requires site with lot of high quality graphics (clothing, beauty products, fashion consumer goods, movies, hair products, real estate etc.) then you need to have plenty of space to accomodate all that you offer. For these LOB it is very important that sign up with a service provider who providers lot of space at a reasonable price. And most important is that the web hosting provider should have capacity to provide you more in future if your web site grows and current space can not accomodate more contect.

You will see lot of ads of web hosting providers offering plenty of space. If your LOB does not require that much space then it is imperative if you are given 200MB or 2 BG of space. You are never going to use it. If thats the case then you should try to trade the space for other important features that are important for you application.

Email Accounts

You will see different plans offered by all hosting providers. And one of the bullet items most of them have is the number of email accounts they offer. And lot of them offer unlimited email accounts. If you ask your self the question "How many email accounts do I really need for my application?". Most of us will come up with an answer between 5-20. I don't think you are signing up with an outside web hosting provider to run a web site like Hotmail or Yahoo or GMail. So the bullet point that mentions unlimited email account does not weight too much into decision processor.

Backup

We are human and we make mistakes. Same applies to software development or web application development. We all make mistakes and some time we end up making serious mistake which can be devastating to the application. And some time we run into situations that are beyond our control. I will give you an example. Recently I got a call from my service provider that their hard drive failed during the night and they have no way of recovering the information from the disk. They asked me to upload the site and database to get the site up and running. Unfortunately I was not in office at that time and had no access to the source. Now what? This is where backup came to rescue. My provider has a nightly backup for the site and database. I just asked them to put the last night's conent back the way it was. Now you see how it saved the day.

So it is very important that you ask the question to web hosting provider about their backup policy etc. If they do not do any backups then I would suggest not to even think about this provider even if they provide the service at throw away prices. Or the other option you have is to set up a process where you do back up yourselves on your local machine or something.

In next article Choosing Web Hosting Provider - Database Services I will discuss how choice of database can affect the choice of web hosting provider.

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