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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    36

    Question So many web hosting alternatives - I am dizzy!

    I am in the process of trying to find a reliable but inexpensive web hosting for my fledgling small business. At the moment I am incomeless, but I hope that in the next year something will start flowing in. Thus my first requirement is that my web hosting provider will be inexpnsive, but not so cheap that it will not allow the featuers that I need.

    My plan is to use osCommerce to build a completely automated web site for purchasing, downloading and registering software that I write.

    Which means that the web hosting will have to support at least MySQL and PHP and be flexible regarding installing and running my customized solutions for web transactions. I don't need to run chat rooms or IRC, but I will need to install forum software as part of customer support (something like phpBB).

    Ideally, I would like it to also support custom CGI written in C/C++ and not only Perl.

    Does this narrow down my options?

    If so, which web hosting provider would you recommend?

    If my question is too general or written inappropriately in some way, I appologize in advance and ask that you please guide me regarding what's needed to correct my posting/question. I am totally new to this area.

    Many thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    Well, how much disk space and bandwidth are you expecting to use? Other than that, any host will fit you -- many hosts will even get those scripts (osCommerce and phpBB) installed for you!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Italy
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    As MrRadic said, most of the hosts support those features you require for your site, what you might do for helping us is to give a short description of what your budged is diskspace requirements and bandwidth/monthly needs.

    Or you can simply search through the forum, narrow some of the hosts which you think would suit your needs better, write an e-mail to their sales department with the list of your requirements.

    Good luck

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
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    Canada
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    Many hosts include Fantastico with their packages so using that to install scripts such as phpbb and oscommerce will save you a lot of time.

    What are your needs in terms of storage and transfer?
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    San Diego, California
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    For ease of use, and that script, I would recommend hosting with Linux using cPanel for the control panel and fantastico, fantastico is great script package that you can install os commerce for free and really super quick and easy. Hope this helps, there are some good cPanel hosts out there...let me know if I can answer anymore questions, have a good one.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
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    The OP is writing software. I doubt he's so technically challenged to recourse to using Fantastico instead of doing the proper thing and install and update it "manually".

    So many web hosting alternatives
    You don't have to consider them all. If you try to find the elusive best host out there, you'll never end your search. Start from a manageable list of say 20 possible hosts, and narrow down your search from there, based on customer feedback (http://www.webhostingtalk.com/search.php) and presales communications with each provider.
    Last edited by ldcdc; 11-28-2006 at 10:19 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    CT, USA
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    607
    I agree with Dan, its good to have a nice short list of the best hosts you found with the most positive reviews and with plans that best respresent your needs. Go through the list and talk to the hosts with various presales questions, check response times and chat with them on their live chat. Good signs to look out for are Live Chat offerings (and how long they are online). Watch out for unlimited diskspace and bandwidth hosts as most are just out for the quick buck and not to support their customers.

    There are many ways to windle down your hosting research to a top 5 list and from there, really drill the hosts.

    Also Dan,
    How is using Fantastico to install scripts an "improper" way of doing it? Just curious .
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Wow! Thank you so much, guys for your quick replies.

    I will try to answer your questions so that you may be able to help me even more.

    How much disk space and bandwidth are you expecting to use?
    I wish I could predict those, but I will try to come out with information that can help derive those numbers (which will surely grow if the business succeeds):

    1. Disk space (the easiset to estimate). I will need space for the downloadable software (say, initially 10MB x 10 = 100MB) plus space for the osCommerce package, the web pages themselves (10MB) and ... ? It seems that to "feel comfortable", I will need at least 500MB - 1GB.

    2. Bandwidth. I have no clue how many hits this web site will receive and how many downloads it will actually carry. Is there a way to get sample bandwidths of similar web sites? say sharewareconnection.com ?

    I would recommend hosting with Linux
    I feel very comfortable with Linux - especially if I could telnet/ssh to the web site to configure my account.

    Research to a top 5 list and from there, really drill the hosts.
    The problem is that there are so many "objective" web hosting rating sites - each one of them sponsored by a different web hosting company (whether openly or in disguise). It is mind boggling to sift the real from the fake ones.

    A friend of mine told me that he uses icdsoft.com and is happy with them. But you know, "happy" is a subjective term and he uses his web site for completely different purposes than mine. However, I trust his judgement and at least in regard to integrity and dealing in good faith I believe this is a good company.

    From browsing through this forum I understand that I should stay away from one company that advertises web hosting for $3.95/mo ... Is this warning still valid?

    Is the above information enough to provide me with a particular list of 5?

    Oh - I forgot to ask whether it is acceptable at all to mention here names of particular web hosting companies. If so, then I guess I should only ask for criteria for selecting a company, rather for names of candidates.

    Thanks!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    East Coast // NYC
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    Well, look for whats important to you.

    Uptime?
    Cost?
    Disk & Bandwidth Offered?
    Support Reponse Time?
    Quality of Support?
    Quality of Hosting?

    For each host, do a search on here for reviews -- WHT has pretty honest reviews (for the most part).

    Good luck with your hunt!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    EU - east side
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    Also Dan,
    How is using Fantastico to install scripts an "improper" way of doing it? Just curious
    Heh, maybe that's not the right word. I'm not a native English speaker.

    Fantastico and other such tools, especially considering the way they're marketed, are doing a service and a disservice to both the hosts and their customers.

    Once you install an application, someone has to take care of it, which includes keeping up to date with new releases and doing upgrades. That's the customer's job, but not all customers are programmers, server admins and webmasters.

    You then end up with hacked websites/servers, people not doing and not knowing how to do their own backups, negative reviews that end up affecting the reputation of hosts, forums/blogs that have to start from scratch, people calling the various software "insecure"/"full of bugs" etc.

    People employ the "install and forget" approach when they use "one click install" tools, and that's just asking for trouble.

    WHT has pretty honest reviews (for the most part).
    Agreed. There's a lot of effort from the part of the community that goes into removing false reviews, and in casting a shadow of doubt when necessary, so that the less experienced can associate the right weight to each review.
    Last edited by ldcdc; 11-29-2006 at 01:20 AM.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    36
    Quote Originally Posted by MrRadic
    Well, look for whats important to you.
    The most important thing to me is that customer data (especially credit card number, but other private data as well) will not be compromised.

    (does that rule out shared hosting?)

    Then (in the ascending order):
    1. Uptime
    2. Speed/responsiveness
    3. Scalability
    4. Cost
    5. Quality of support


    Did you mention reviews here, in WHT? If so, where do I find them?


    Thanks!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
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    EU - east side
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    If so, where do I find them?
    Just look for the company name using the forum's search feature. Choose the "Search titles only" option for a bit more focus if you find the initial search results overwhelming.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by sweng
    From browsing through this forum I understand that I should stay away from one company that advertises web hosting for $3.95/mo ... Is this warning still valid?

    Is the above information enough to provide me with a particular list of 5?


    Thanks!

    $3.95 a month is quite cheap. It depends on if they offer monsterous amounts of features, disk space, bandwidth for that price. If so, in some cases they are cramming a lot of clients on to one server which could lead to huge lag time, poor support, and so on. I can't speak for every host that offers at that price for some are responsible and do offer great support. i just never understood how they can turn a profit though. All in all, you must look for what they offer and how much they do offer for that price. If it seems to good to be true, in most cases it is. In those case, do some research on that particular company. Hope this helps!
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  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Nova Scotia, Canada
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    Your list should be drammatically reduced in size due to your requirements: a customized environment that allows you to have certain things running to allow you to run your web transactions (I assume these are custom or third party modules for various languages).

    Most budget hosts won't do that for you . You'd be best searching for application hosting. That will narrow your list down considerably and also allow you to select from those ASP's which one's operate under an environment that fits your needs.


    A cookie cutter provider just won't satisfy the needs you outlined in your post.


    Simon

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