By: Richard Clement
When looking for a host, it will be useful to obtain as much information as possible about the web hosting company itself and the services they offer. These pre-sales questions are a way to check several things about the web hosting company. You can obtain detailed information about the services they offer – the web hosting plans they have, the features included there, etc.
These days hosting plans on the web are getting very competitive and features of each plan are comparatively the same among web hosting providers. Whether novice or expert, you can find some useful information in this article to learn about some of the considerations to look at when you choose a web hosting service.
In this article I will not talk about things like space ,traffic and prices since there are plenty of related articles nowadays rolling around the net. My goal will be to clarify some of the most important features you have to look for when choosing your web hosting provider.
The following are 10 basic features that can be found in a Unix/Linux hosting plans that every serious hosting provider should offer you.
- Control Panel – This is where you manage your hosting account. In the context of web hosting it is an on-line application that give us the user ability to control many aspects of his web hosting account including, but not limited to: creating mailboxes, setup email forwarding, uploading and editing files, creating sub domains, park additional domains, automated installing of ready to use scripts and programs, managing databases, setup shopping carts. You need to check what exactly is included in a given control panel with the web hosting company you have chosen to go with.Some hosts use a third party control panel like cPanel or Plesk. Others use an inhouse developed control panel.The moment you signup for a hosting package, you must be provided with a CP to manage your webspace.
- POP3 email accounts & aliases – firstname.lastname@example.org is an example POP3 email. POP3 is an electronic mail protocol used to retrieve messages stored on an Internet/intranet e-mail server. Whenever a client wants to check for messages it connects to its Internet Service Provider's e-mail server and uses POP3 to login to its mailbox and download its messages.
- FTP Accounts & Virtual FTP – This is where you upload your files, delete them, update them. This again comes along with the CP. Make sure you have handful of FTP sub-accounts also to provide your clients/users password protected directories. This is very much useful wherein your clients / users can use the FTP to upload /download files from particular password protected folder of your website.
- Backup – Most of the Hosts take Automated Backups. But users do not take much care on this while choosing the hosting plan. This feature is as essential as any other in this list.
- Web Statistics – Analysis is of your website visitors plays a important role in the success of your website. Say, your website has been launched and you get 50 unique visitors or more than 500 visitors per day. Whatever the case may be, you can view the report using Statistics Application that run in the server backend. A popular web statistic software is Webalizer.
- PHP & Mysql Support – PHP is a scripting language that is especially suited for Web development and can be embedded into HTML. PHP is mainly focused on server-side scripting, so you can do anything any other CGI program can do, such as collect form data, generate dynamic page content, or send and receive cookies. MySQL is a true multi-user, multi-threaded SQL database server. MySQL is fast and flexible enough to allow you to store logs and pictures in it. Its main goals are speed, robustness, and ease of use.All the Linux Plans support PHP & Mysql. Make sure you get this free of charge when you buy the hosting plan. Few hosting providers offer good of MySQL Database Support & PhpMyAdmin.
- Webmail & SMTP – A web based email program. Most web hosting companies do provide webmail access to their customers. Often it comes with addressbook, rich text editor, spelling checker, and all the features of any other email program offers. Email becomes key part in your life once you launch the website. Check if the hosts provide with Webmail to check your mails thru a web based interface such as Squirrelmail or Horde. Checking email will be faster if you download the mails thru email clients such as Eudora or Outlook Express. Only if SMTP or IMAP support is enabled you can use this option. All our recommended hosts has this feature.
- SPAM Filter – No email user is free from a spam attack. It is the Email equivalent of junk mail. It is becoming one of the biggest problems in the Internet today.Hence you need to have spam filters installed on the server where your website resides.
- HTTPS (SSL) access to your hosting account. SSL is used for secure communication between the user browser and the server. The information is encrypted and secure. SSL is usually used for eCommerce sites and sites that require submission of other sensible information like usernames and passwords. To have an SSL on your site you can use the shared SSL certificate provided by your hosting company or you can purchase an SSL certificate for your site and ask the host to install it.
- Shell (telnet or SSH) access to your account. SSH is used for secure access to your account. SSH is usually offered on Unix hosting plans. You can zip, unzip files, change permissions of files, run certain programs on the server.
- Sub-domains for creating sub-sections to your site without having to use directories in URLs
- Shopping Cart – A shopping cart is a piece of software that acts as an online store's catalog and ordering process.
These are the most common features of a good web hosting plan. A reputable web hosting provider should offer you at least these ones in his hosting plans. There are some more additions you can get from a good provider. For more info on that topic you can visit my site www.itstandard.net and get what you need.
Richard Clement is an online publisher dedicated in helping online users in various categories. He is an online marketing specialist and owner of ItStandard.Net hosting company.For more info visit his site http://www.itstandard.net
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