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  1. #1
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    Cool Tutorial: Finding and Using a Shared Host: Part One

    You're reading this and you think, "How'd you know I needed to find a new Web host, mind?" You may have had problems with a host in the past or you need space for a new project. During my stay at WHT I've noticed some things that people always make mistakes with when finding a host. I'm starting a series of posts that'll address this issue.

    Now, with those formalities complete, class, let's begin!

    On the home page of WHT, there's a forum near the bottom of the page called "Shared Webhosting Special Offers". I recommend everyone goes there first. (you can click on this link to get there: http://www.webhostingtalk.com/forumd...p?s=&forumid=4) There's probably some kind of hosting that fits what you want. If for some reason the prices are too high or you don't see anything that fits your requirements, you can go to the Web Hosting Requests forum (http://www.webhostingtalk.com/forumd...?s=&forumid=32). Over there you can create a new thread talking about your specific requirements by clicking on "New Thread". Within a day or two you should get at least several replies if what you propose isn't too off the wall.

    Once you see a good offer from any of those two forums it's a good idea to get it before it's gone, but no one should blindly step into such a venture. First off, you should use the Search button (http://www.webhostingtalk.com/search.php?s=) to search for any further information on your chosen host. Type the name of the host into the Keyword field and if it's not too new there should be some reviews on it from other users. I can't stress enough the importance of this research.

    That reminds me: there are some very obvious things that you should consider warning signs when choosing a host. If they advertise large amounts of bandwidth (or even unlimited or unmetered), be very weary. These hosts also usually come with very low prices for what they're offering. There's no gurantee that they'll last for very long. There's a wonderful site that goes into this further (http://www.unlimband.com/).

    Visit the host's Web site as well. Does it come up within a reasonable amount of time? Notice that with some hosts, the main Web site is not on the same server as you'll eventually be placed on, so if possible, visit some sites that are on their network. There should be several on WHT that will be willing to give you their URLs if they're on that network. Even better: if the host has their own forums, ask some people on there for their Web addresses.

    Is the data center that they're in up to par? Do they have the proper fire protection and backup facilities (both power and data)? This information may be slightly more difficult to absertain, but a quick email to the host should produce some answers.

    How quickly does the host respond to your emails? If they have telephone support, do they seem friendly and courteous on the phone? (the same goes for email; if the guy at the other end cusses you out, then maybe they're not the host to go with) If possible, try putting in a helpdesk ticket and see how their technical support acts. If none of this seems up to your standards, then it's probably best to go back to WHT and find more hosts.

    Once you're absolutely certain this is the host you want to stick with, it's time to register. I'll talk about this in Part Two.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Now that you've read Part One, please tell me how you liked it. Is there enough interest in this for a Part Two? Did this help in the search for a better host? I'm interested in your comments. Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by mind21_98; 09-29-2002 at 07:25 PM.
    -Mooneer
    Thoughtbug Software: Hosting shouldn't require any thought.
    Legitimate host? Support the Code of Ethical Conduct

  2. #2
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    Great general advice IMHO. Should be made into a website listed in your signature if you ask me so it's not lost among dead-threadville.
    HostHideout.com - Where professionals discuss web hosting.

    Chicken

  3. #3
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    Or I could mention Iraq and it'll turn into a 19 page thread. Just kidding.

    Hopefully I'll come out with more parts, and maybe I'll diversify and create a tutorial for dedicated and colocation too. Who knows?
    -Mooneer
    Thoughtbug Software: Hosting shouldn't require any thought.
    Legitimate host? Support the Code of Ethical Conduct

  4. #4
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    Yeah I already had to go in and edit out some comments in your Iraq thread. I've learned that politics, religion, abortion, (and SSL certs apparently) should only be discussed if there is a referee at hand.
    HostHideout.com - Where professionals discuss web hosting.

    Chicken

  5. #5
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    Originally posted by mind21_98
    Once you see a good offer from any of those two forums it's best to hurry up and accept.
    It's best to hurry up, or did you mean to type "best not to..."?
    Is the NOC (Network Operations Center) that they're in up to par?
    network operations center (NOC): A location from which the operation of a network or the Internet is monitored.

    So, you mean they should have nice chairs, or really good monitors in their NOC, or both? Would a rec room and big windows be good enough?

    (Sorry, that commonplace misdefinition of "NOC" is one of my pet peeves, right along with the commonplace incorrect definition of "bandwidth.")
    Specializing in SEO and PPC management.

  6. #6
    Very nice overview, well done !

    Most important you encourage people to proactively test their candidate hosts, specially their service, response time, or website loading speed. Feature loaded plans aren't everything.

    I only want to add, that an apparently so easy comparison of features can be misleading as well. Plans of different hosts are normaly not presented side by side and each host lists and (more important) omits other details. So beside bad service or uptime the most likely cause for customers to become unhappy are missing or misunderstood features.

    I recommend to search for a new webhost like easy homework. Make a table and keep track of all those various hosts have to offer in the plans that look interesting and add a line with what you really need. This helps tremendously in keeping the overview, not missing an important point and not being swept away by a lot of fancy items you don't need.
    Stephen's Independent Hosting Provider Review
    http://hostingreview.rahn.net

  7. #7
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    Awesome article:-D I love it when people put actual content, time, and effort into something here!
    Jordan Bouvier

  8. #8
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    Originally posted by JayC
    It's best to hurry up, or did you mean to type "best not to..."?
    That wasn't a mistake. The next sentence: First off, you should use the Search button... (I'll edit it though because it does sound confusing.)


    network operations center (NOC): A location from which the operation of a network or the Internet is monitored.

    So, you mean they should have nice chairs, or really good monitors in their NOC, or both? Would a rec room and big windows be good enough?
    Heh! Replaced NOC with "data center".

    Thanks!
    -Mooneer
    Thoughtbug Software: Hosting shouldn't require any thought.
    Legitimate host? Support the Code of Ethical Conduct

  9. #9
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    Originally posted by mind21_98
    Heh! Replaced NOC with "data center".
    Yeah, see... now you're educating newbies!

    On the other change, I see now how you meant it. But the rewrite makes the point better: act while the offer is still available, but still take time to check out the company.
    Specializing in SEO and PPC management.

  10. #10
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    I assume no one objects to a Part 2?
    -Mooneer
    Thoughtbug Software: Hosting shouldn't require any thought.
    Legitimate host? Support the Code of Ethical Conduct

  11. #11
    Just go ahead!

    You announced that part 2 would be about signing up with a host. I don't know why one could do anything wrong with that or why someone would need general help with it. But perhaps I am just ignorant, so I am curious to see.

    Still I repeat my statement from above: Should you make this tutorial a permanent thing (on a website etc) I would really deepen it on the field of host comparison and how to identify weak points hidden in hosting plan descriptions. Of course it's just my opinion.

    Stephen
    Stephen's Independent Hosting Provider Review
    http://hostingreview.rahn.net

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