Affordable Web Hosting

Professional and Affordable Website Hosting

Your business demands the creation of a website that will be your online “face” to the world, a place to present your goods and services to potential clients and customers in an engaging, professional manner.  The modern consumer looks to the web when shopping or performing research, therefore the web is where you need to be!   But what do you need to know before you begin to put together your company’s web presence.  Before you can even think about building your website, hiring someone to build your website, or even buying a website template you must explore all of the possibilities of website hosting companies.

Finding the Right Website Hosting Service

Whether you are a web developer, have a web development background, or just happen to be in the market for a new website hosting company you should understand that affordability, service, and reliability are all “key” components in the search for your webpage hosting.  As you begin to research the various website hosting packages, website hosting rates, and website hosting costs you will see a wide range in prices and services.  On the surface it may appear that the cheapest provider is the best route to take.  Unfortunately, all too often people look first to cheap website hosting without fully realizing what they are getting for such low cost website hosting.  As with all things, you absolutely must do some serious comparison shopping and have a list of requirements a website hosting provider should be able to offer for the price.

Ask of each webpage hosting or website hosting provider the following:

  • What type of support can I expect for this rate?
  • What databases are supported?
  • What operating system is utilized?
  • Is there a phone number for technical support?
  • Monthly or yearly billing?
  • How many email accounts come with this package?
  • Does it come with dedicated servers?

Finding affordable web hosting is easy.  Finding affordable website hosting with phone support is not so easy.  Finding affordable web site hosting with a dedicated server or even virtual dedicated servers is also less easy.  You may very well be uniquely qualified to design, build, and maintain a website, but there are always going to be problems with the server, with software, with the virtual dedicated server etc.  Having a reliable, dependable web hosting company with adequate technical support is worth its weight in gold.

All too often consumers are tricked into purchasing lengthy contracts on website hosting packages and find out later that there is no phone support and that helpdesk hours don’t meet their needs or requirements.  Don’t be a victim of buyer’s remorse.  Ask these questions upfront and you will find that your purchase of a website hosting package or choice of web page hosting provider more than satisfactory for your business or personal needs.

What are You Trying to Build?

Finding the right website hosting service provider also requires that you are clear in both budget and what type of website you require for your business or personal use. There are so many different programming languages and blog types in use today.  Each language, template, platform, and package has its own list of pros and cons.  Therefore it is vitally important to ask yourself what exactly are you trying to build and how will you be building it?  Is your preference to use open source tools like Drupal, Joomla, or even the old standby WordPress?  Or are you going to bring in a fancy Java or .Net guru to create the perfect E-Commerce website?

Whether you are looking for Joomla web hosting, Drupal web hosting, WordPress web hosting, or even dotnetnuke hosting the right website hosting service will be able to accommodate your needs and speak to their benefits and flaws with some eloquence.

Joomla, Drupal, and much of the WordPress community is “open source”.  For those not aware fully of what the term “open source” means, let’s explore what it can mean to you.

Open Source Products and Platforms

Open source code and open source software is software that is being developed by a community of developers and then published and given away freely to any and all.  The benefits of open source, naturally is that it is free.  Most open source programs are also fairly easy to use with a litany of templates that can usually get you were you need to be going with relatively little development experience.  The downside to free software is that if you do run into a technical issue there is no helpdesk available to assist you.  You must take your issue to the open source forums and hope that others have experienced the same problem and can offer advice.

WordPress is one of the widest used blog packages in the world today.  The open source community for WordPress is vast.  There are thousands of free templates, active forums, and the administration of a WordPress site has an industry standard web content management system that makes it simple and easy to use.  Additionally, most web hosting providers now provide WordPress web hosting and support to their customers.

Drupal and Joomla are also open source tools that many website hosting providers offer.  While both applications are hailed as being easy to install and “put up”, they do not have the depth or history of WordPress.  The template repository is not quite as vat and the editorial capacity is limited for individuals unfamiliar with CSS code.  For a developer these technologies may be the more preferred platform, but if you are a novice WordPress offers more of a standard and user-friendly method of website creation.

When looking at website hosting service providers the more versatile the web hosting provider, the better.  Web hosting providers that can provide you with WordPress website hosting and Joomla website hosting are providers that are multi-faceted and tech savvy.  These service providers understand the future of the web.  Being able to provide standard and open-source technology platforms shows “tech empathy” and an ability to provide support for businesses both big and small.  Some website hosting companies even offer some measure of technical support for open source issues, especially when customers are using templates downloaded from their site.

Decide which route you are taking (open source or commercial), what avenue you want to use to get there, and what your future maintenance will look like prior to choosing a website hosting service or specific coding path.  Many web hosting services work in conjunction with those development communities to provide access to templates and resources, but don’t always provide adequate support for the novice website creator.  How much access, how much support, and how much effort you want to put into the project must be taken into consideration.

If you aren’t a “hands on” individual, if you don’t like the challenges of playing with software until you get it right, or if you have more money than time you may wish to look at finding a website hosting provider that specializes in commercial technologies like .Net, SQL, etc and a web designer that can assist you in your website creation efforts.

E-commerce and Online Shopping

If you want to do more with your website than simply provide the consumer with an information experience; if you want to provide the customer with the tools necessary to purchase your product or service real-time then you most certainly look to a business web hosting company that can provide shopping cart technologies.  Eighty percent of all websites have some form of E-Commerce transactions moving through their pages, be it a Paypal button or a true shopping cart.  When searching for a web hosting package provider you will want to consult with those companies who can also provide shopping cart website hosting technologies.

The Shopping Cart Experience

Everyone is familiar with shopping cart technologies whether they would call it such or not.  Essentially, shopping cart software is an E-Commerce software that allows a user to select one or multiple products, save them to a “cart”, calculate the order total, and associate shipping and tax.  Every major web store from Wal-Mart to uses this technology to support their business.

The Open Source Shopping Cart

If you want to increase business and keep your customers happy then you will need to provide them with a shopping cart experience that they are accustomed to.  As this technology proliferated, more and more products have evolved to supply this type of E-Commerce software.  Even the open source versions are able to provide a similar look, feel, and functionality to the commercial products.  There are many economically efficient shopping cart technologies available, as well as, free ones.  Your web hosting company ought to provide multiple avenues for shopping cart hosting.

You can expect a good web hosting provider to have both Opencart web hosting and Zencart web hosting—two powerful open source products.  Every free option you have available to you must be considered when on a budget, and these two products have risen to the top of the open source community due to their functionality and reliability.

Zen Cart web hosting is an affordable means to provide shopping cart experience to your customers, and something a small-to-mid-sized business should look into.  It is highly affordable to the small business owner and has that look and feel of the typical online store.  Zen Cart is another open source product, utilizing PHP and MySQL technologies.  Due to the large development community that developed this tool, you will find that Zen Cart has the look and feel of commercial products.  In its administration area you can create products, pricing, newsletters, coupons, etc. as easily as you could using a commercial product.

Open Cart is yet another open source option for the consumer looking to save money.  It has been praised as “easy to use” for both visitor and administrator and is oftentimes hailed as being the better product (between Zen Cart and Open Cart).  Taking a quick virtual tour of their website shows a product that is reliable, stable, and easy to use, we even work to help you with your ongoing website management and fixes If you have issues with your website performance and security you will want to know why website maintenace is important? for your small business.  In fact, it looks as professional as what you would find on a major corporate site.  Best, of all it is free.

Finding a website hosting provider that supports Zen Cart or Open Cart could mean the difference of hundreds or even thousands of dollars for your web project.  The ability to provide this experience to your customer is absolutely vital.  Therefore, in your search for a website hosting provider look for a web hosting service that is willing to host and provide support for E-Commerce software technology, whether it be open source or commercial.

Small Business Web Hosting

Many times small business owners don’t know where to look for affordable web hosting.  They are inundated with ads for business website hosting or small business website hosting, but are without the necessary background information to make an informed purchase.  What we might think is a bargain could end up costing thousands months down the road.

Just like when purchasing a vehicle, it helps to do your homework before speaking with a sales representative.  It is the job of a salesperson to talk you into making a large purchase—or any purchase, even if it won’t suit your needs.  Without a clear understanding of your actual requirements you could be talked into a dedicated server before you even require one, or you could end up with a multi-year package for a product that is unreliable.

One approach is to check reviews on web hosting.  Generally you can find a good supply of information on the companies you are considering, both positive and negative, with a little bit of research.

Luckily for the modern consumer, the proliferation of website hosting providers and resellers has increased the reliability of these services in general.  Most website hosting providers offer the small business owner a plethora of services at affordable prices.  Just remember to use these questions when shopping around:

  • What type of support can I expect for this rate?
  • What databases are supported?
  • What server system is utilized?
  • What open source platforms and software are supported?
  • Is there a phone number for technical support?
  • Monthly or yearly billing?
  • How many email accounts come with this package?
  • Does it come with dedicated servers?

Other questions to ask include:

  • How can I cancel my contract?
  • Are there penalties for cancelling my contract?
  • Will I be credited for server down time?
  • Will my dedicated server be actual or virtual?
  • If I don’t have phone support, what are my support options?
  • Does it support open source software and products, if so how?
  • How easy is it to migrate an existing website?
  • Can I upgrade my packages at any time?
  • Are their loyalty discounts?

Any legitimate, reliable web hosting company ought to be able to answer these questions satisfactorily and if they cannot, then you would do best to move on.

Points of Consideration

The word “frugal” actually means to make the most of what you have.  If you have a budget, then quite naturally you want to stay within that budget when operating a website.  If you have a small-to-mid-sized budget for your website then you may have to prioritize your wants and find frugality in a website hosting package.  Find out where you can “make do” until you can recuperate some of the initial expense of your website. Perhaps, you start with a free WordPress template or site and then move to a custom web design?  Maybe you share a server until your needs grow to a size where you can fully utilize (and afford) a dedicated server?

A reliable web hosting company that you want to do business with will have competent sales personnel that can walk you through your options, explaining the pros and cons, and truly assisting you in deciding upon the product you truly need.  Does a fledgling organic cooperative need a .Net shopping cart with a Flash front end to attract customers?  Could a Best Buy make do with Zen Cart?  An honest salesperson won’t allow you to purchase “too much” or “too big” a package for your needs.

If you are a small business looking for small business website hosting then you require a service provider that understands the needs of a small business and cater to them.

A Word of Warning

Watch for companies who don’t have a “1-800” number on their website.  All too often web hosting service providers are able to offer low rates because they don’t hire enough technical support staff to service their customer base.  Many a business owner has found himself or herself floundering through database and server errors with no one to turn to real-time for help.  You can lose current and potential customers that way.  After all, the whole point of Internet shopping is its promise of “ease of use”.

A good web hosting company should also be able to provide a level of support that will meet the needs of the modern consumer.  That means be able to respond to trouble tickets and requests during “Banker’s Hours”, not 2 hours between Midnight and 5:00 am three days a week.  Even with today’s modern technology there are still going to be problems that require attention.  You don’t want to have your E-Commerce website crash at 12:00 pm on December 23rd and have zero phone support, do you?

Another “issue” to watch out for is a web host’s cancellation policies.  How do you cancel service?  Is there a place to cancel online?  Can you call them to cancel?  Are there early termination fees?  On what grounds can you cancel early?  The last thing you want is to be in a situation where you are paying over $200 a month with no tech support or feasible way to cancel your contract.

Deciding on a Website Hosting Company

There are so many factors that ought to be taken into consideration when choosing a website or web page hosting provider, such as:

  • Reliability
  • Support
  • Cost
  • Termination procedures
  • Discounts
  • Contract upgrades
  • Migration assistance

When choosing your website hosting company you absolutely want to look at any and all options in front of you.  Just a few short years ago it was difficult to find web hosting services that would offer open source templates and support, but with the rise in quality and reliability (as well as web proliferation) it is now easy to find companies that will not only support a product like WordPress or Open Cart, but also provide installation, templates, and technical advice, as well.  Whether you have a large budget or a small budget there are website hosting providers for your needs.  Always take into consideration:

Your Budget

Set your budget for the entire project before you begin your search.  You will quickly find out which companies can service your needs at a price you can afford, and from there you can begin to weigh options like commercial versus open source.

Your Customers

Customers want what they want and they want it now.  Reliability and lack of down-time is critical to retaining customers and customer loyalty.  Don’t scrimp on reliability.

Your Alternatives

Lastly, understand that many web hosting services are resellers for larger web host providers.  This is pertinent to the reliability and cost factors.  If you have heard good things about a particular company’s server reliability then it is a safe bet that the reseller offers the same reliability at a cheaper price, and that any issues will be taken care of quickly and at no additional cost to you.

Hopefully, you now have enough information to make an informed decision on your selection of a website hosting provider.

Affordable Web Hosting, Website Hosting Rates, WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla web hosting. Dedicated servers, virtual dedicated servers, all at very affordable rates! They are affordable in price, but not cheap in quality!

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