Archive for January, 2009

iWeb Tech News Highlights, Jan 30th

Published on January 30, 2009 at 8:00 am by heri in: iWeb Tech News Highlights

iweb tech news highlights The iWeb Tech News Highlights covers web hosting, web development, web design and general technology news and is published daily at 8.00am EST. For Jan 30th, here are the highlights:

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iWeb Tech News Highlights, Jan 29th

Published on January 29, 2009 at 8:00 am by heri in: iWeb Tech News Highlights

iweb tech news highlights The iWeb Tech News Highlights covers web hosting, web development, web design and general technology news and is published daily at 8.00am EST. For Jan 29th, here are the highlights:

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Only 3 days left for the bandwidth promotion

Published on January 28, 2009 at 7:58 am by heri in: iWeb Articles

I am doing a last heads-up for those who have missed the current promotion on bandwidth, for iWeb’s 50Gbps network. At the time I’m writing this post, there is only 3 days and 16 hours left before the end of the event:

To celebrate the event and invite you to the “party”, iWeb is launching exceptional promotions, available for a short time only:

bandwidth

Click on the image or here to view deals.

For information, you can get for instance:

  • a free Unmetered 10Mbps port, which usually costs $100 per month at iWeb or other web hosting providers, 
  • or a 50Mbps Unmetered 10Mbps port at $50 per month, instead of the normal price of $850 per month
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iWeb Tech News Highlights, Jan 27th

Published on January 27, 2009 at 8:00 am by heri in: iWeb Tech News Highlights

iweb tech news highlights The iWeb Tech News Highlights covers web hosting, web development, web design and general technology news and is published daily at 8.00am EST. For Jan 27th, here are the highlights:

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Guide: How to choose a Web Hosting Provider

Published on January 26, 2009 at 10:31 pm by heri in: Web Hosting Articles, iWeb Articles

As you might have seen from quick Google searches, the number of web hosting companies and web hosting products is staggering. A quick search for “web hosting” gives for instance 12+ text advertisements, links to various hosting reviews websites, references, wikipedia entries, a couple of “genuine” web hosting companies, all of which seems to be there thanks to an intense use of SEO technics.

A web developer looking to publish a website will most likely be even more confused when doing a search, instead of finding a good web hosting provider highlighted by the search engine.

The reason is very simple: as stated in this article, many individuals and companies, small and big, have seen the opportunities in web hosting; with the result of seeing new web hosting providers created overnight, and with this an ecosystem of forums, “reviews” websites, publications and middle parties, mixed with an entire array of web hosting products, from free hosting to powerful dedicated servers meant for HPC.

Now the point of this article is not to give you the name of the best web hosting company (maybe because you probably know the answer :), or maybe because it’s the iWeb blog and you wouldn’t necessarily take our word for granted), but to give you clues and list of criterias that would allow you to find and choose the best web hosting provider for your needs. Hopefully, at the end of this article, you will have more tools next time to appreciate a web hosting provider’s products.

Free Web Hosting

First, let’s make one thing clear: you should never look for free web hosting, unless it’s a personal website, you’re just experimenting, and you’re comfortable with the fact that your data might be lost at any time, any day, without any guarantees from the provider.

A few companies offer free web hosting for the following reasons:

  • They will recoup their costs back by inserting ads on your website, possibly a big graphic on top of the page, popups, pop-unders,
  • OR, they are providing Internet for you, and offer you a “free web space” and free email, as part of their Internet package

As written above, irrelevant and obtrusive advertisements on your website won’t make your website appear credible. Those webpages are as credible a myspace page, and are just useful to host a couple of images and html pages. 

As for Internet Hosting Providers, their free web hosting service is often tied to your subscription. This means that as soon as you stop doing business with them, the free web space is most likely to be erased. 

If you are aware of the shortcomings of free web hosting offers, and still want to get one for a weekend project for instace, have a look at the 4 reviews published here recently. 

Shared Web Hosting or “Cheap” Web Hosting

 In the web hosting industry, cheap web hosting equals shared hosting, where you get a “share” of a powerful servers, along with other users. Shared hosting is the most common web hosting model; pricing goes from $1.67 to well over $30 per month, with a wide array of options (php, wordpress, drupal, forums, .NET or not, mysql, etc.)

Here are the criterias you should look for when searching for a shared web hosting provider:

  1. Number of users hosted on a single machine. The total number of users directly affects the speed of your website, and there are lots of providers who overload their servers. To gauge this number, ask for a list of active and fairly big websites under their shared web hosting plan, and see if the websites are running well. 
  2. Web Technologies supported. If you are looking to open up a wordpress blog, you need obviously to make sure that the shared plan has php. Same for Ruby On Rails applications, or .NET shared hosting. This second criteria is primordial since there’s no use finding a very cheap web hosting provider if it won’t run your website. Here’s a possible list: programming languages, database, web servers installed, cron jobs, domain name tools, etc. 
  3. Price and possible discounts. Many companies offer deals and discounts that might change radically their offerings, so have a look around
  4. Support and Guarantees. Lastly, doing business with a web hosting company is mostly a long-term relationship. You might find a great deal, from a new unknown provider, but what you need to make sure is that this company is reliable, that they will still be there one year from now; and there will be someone listening to you if you are having a technical problem with your website. 

To find a shortlist of web hosting providers, ask your friends and colleagues for cues, or use a website like whoishostingthis to see where one of your favourite website is hosted. Personally, I would avoid Web Hosting reviews websites, since most of them are in fact paid listings, with companies paying to be in various “TOP 10″ lists or various “Best Providers” categories listings.

Dedicated Servers or Virtual Private Servers

dedicated linux servers, databases, web, and file servers You can look for a VPS (virtual server) or a dedicated server if you are a small or large company serious about your web presence, if you are a web developer who need performance and greater control of your web server, or if you plan to host an entire array of websites, either your own, or your clients’.

Here are the advantages for virtual private servers offerings:

  • it’s often cheaper (but not always) than dedicated servers
  • provisioning is automated, on-demand and quick, which is good for web developers looking for a hassle-free experience or quick deployment of their server infrastructure.
  • billing can be done hourly, which can be a key business argument for startups and companies alike,
  • you get SSH access and a control panel (plesk or cpanel), which is often enough for your needs.

Here are the advantages for dedicated servers offers:

  • you can get customized servers, fine-tuned to your needs, such as the exact quantity of RAM, the right CPU, required bandwidth etc.. You can order a RAID hardware setup for instance, which is impossible for a VPS. Need more RAM than processing power? it’s possible. Do you prefer AMD chips instead of Intels? Just order it in the form. 
  • you can setup advanced configurations for your technology infrastructure, by setting up firewalls, web clusters, load-balancers, anti-DDOS solutions, etc., which is again, impossible for a VPS
  • you don’t have to design advanced backup solutions, since your dedicated server is “physical” and your data won’t “evaporate” one day, which is the case for VPSs. 
  • a dedicated server can be cheaper than many purchased virtual servers, if you use virtualization software such as Virtuozzo or VMWare. For example, by virtualizing your dedicated server, you can have one instance as the web server, another instance as the database server, another instance for cache. 
  • You have 100% control of your server. The web hosting provider cannot for instance offer CPU or RAM bursts to other users, so performance will be equal and guaranteed any time of the year. 

Of course, the biggest advantage of a dedicated server compared to VPSs is that there are known ways to secure your data, whereas data tampering is a real issue in “cloud computing”. 

Here are the main criterias you should look for when choosing the best web hosting providers for your dedicated or virtual server:

  1. Assess if the company owns their data center, or if they are a reseller who are in fact hosting their server in another company. Look for a physical address, phone lines, network details. Of course, it’s better to do business with a company which runs its own data center. It’s not only about the price, but the guarantee that there will be personel who will physically fix servers when the need arises, with a quick turnaround
  2. Price of your desired configuration, and price of hardware parts and software, both the setup and monthly costs
  3. Path to scalability, such as availability of more powerful configurations
  4. Quality of network, which can be done with traceroutes, pings or by testing various websites hosted there
  5. Reliability and trustworthiness. See for instance how many years the company has been in business. For instance, a company which has been operating for more than 10 years means it won’t “disappear” overnight. Also, a company which has a open blogs and forums is more trustworthy than another web hosting company which doesn’t offer a “place” for its users to collaborate and exchange.
  6. Support. Assess if the company’s support is responsive, if there are customer complaints on the company’s forum. 

To get a list of dedicated servers or VPS providers, again, look at your network, or use the whoishostingthis tool. For each possible provider, rate them according to the criteria listed above.

Lastly, as stated in the shared hosting section, don’t forget that doing business with a web hosting company is above all a long-term relationship. Don’t judge only on price, choose most of all a company you can trust. 

Of course, if you want to avoid the hassle, you know where to look at

I hope you liked this article. If you did, you might also be interested in:

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