Once you have your company's web site up and running, it is vital that you do everything possible to keep it that way. Nothing sets off alarms in a customer's head faster than a non accessible web site or one that has features which do not work. A web site is literally your company's window to the world and every aspect of the site; including the design, content, accessibility, ease of navigation, and uptime, says a lot about your company.
A fully functioning, attractively designed, feature-loaded web site spells professionalism and expertise, while a poorly designed and inaccessible site reflects very poorly on your business. Still, the best designed site on the web; one loaded with impressive features and clever design tricks means absolutely nothing if your customers can't get to it because it is down. Unfortunately, if your site is hosted by some other company and resides on their servers, downtime may be largely out of your control. When your host's servers go down, your site goes down and there's not a thing you can do about it. There are a few things you can do, however, to ensure that your site stays up as long as possible.
Choosing Your Web Host
There are thousands of low cost web hosting services out there and they are all offering a thousand different deals for web hosting. Choosing the right one can be a daunting task, especially if you don't know a lot about internet hosting and what you should be getting for your money. There are a few things you should look for in a web host ? some of which will help you get the best deal and others which will help you determine whether you should expect to have a problem with downtime.
To cover the business end of web hosting, find out how much bandwidth and storage space you get for your monthly fee. Bandwidth is especially important because the more popular your site becomes the more visitors it will have and the more bandwidth it will use. If you are using too much bandwidth, two things will happen. You'll be charged for anything over the amount you're contracted for and the site could easily experience downtime due to receiving more traffic than it can handle.
You will also want to look at the host's server information. Most web hosting services will post the specifications of their web servers on their own web sites. This allows customers to get a good idea of the host's stability. If you don't understand the technical jargon that these informational pages contain, get someone from your own IT department to look at with you. They'll be able to tell if it looks like the host has a stable server system.
Check Your Site
To help ensure stability, you should check the site yourself (or make sure someone in your company is checking it) several times per day. This is the best way to make sure that everything is in working order and to resolve problems that do occur as quickly as possible. If you find that the site is down, a quick call to the host can often resolve any issues or at least let you know if there's a problem with just your site or their entire server.
John Michaels is a freelance author for WebHostPacks.com where he regularly publishes articles on how to find a cheap web host and reviews of low cost web hosting services.