Thursday, April 10, 2008

Web Host Reliability

Low prices mean nothing if they don't come with reliable web hosting.

There is a clear correlation between the reliability and the longevity of most web hosting companies. And while it is intuitively obvious that these traits go hand in hand, there is quite a bit more to it than just a simple correlation.

The fact is that it takes both money and talent to provide low cost, reliable web hosting services. And as a web hosting company’s business volumes grow, the complexities of maintaining reliability grow exponentially.

Great Hosts
The most reliable web hosting providers are the ones who are adept at using state of the art system management tools to ensure optimum performance and minimal service disruption. The very best of them employ redundant servers and mirror sites that instantly take over when one or more servers experience the inevitable glitches that create service interruptions.

How they do this is not really the concern of most webmasters who host their sites with them. What matters is that they can count on their websites being available all the time and accessible with great speed.

Two ways to find reliable low cost yet reliable web hosting services

One way is to examine the web host’s service guarantee. This will always be expressed as an availability percentage, always greater than 99%. But 99% is not very good at all if you are going to operate a serious business online.

The fact is that 99% availability calculates out to a web site that is down the equivalent of 22 four hour periods per year, hardly acceptable in an age of 24/7 customer expectations. And this doesn’t even count availability impacted by network problems outside the web host's control.

So what should you be looking for? All truly reliable web hosting companies offer uptime guarantees in the 99.8 – 99.9 range without a lot of fine print.

A second way is to verify access speeds. You can easily do this yourself by trying to access the web sites of the hosting company’s other clients at various times of the day, week, month, or quarter. If it’s always speedy then that’s a pretty good indicator of what you can expect for your web site.

If playing “mystery shopper” at all hours of the day and night is a bit too tedious for you, there are a number of services such as Alexa.Com who publish speed ratings. For example, you can see that this site, Web-Host-Watch, ranks in the top 4 percent of all web sites in terms of access speed.

No matter whose web hosting services you choose, there is no reason to accept anything less than speedy access and 24/7 reliable web hosting.

Another important trait of all great web hosting providers is: flexibility.

About The Author
Anthony Hamill is the founder of http://Web-Host-Watch.Com which helps online business owners master the basics of web hosting. Get all the facts you need to find affordable web hosting plans including tutorials, tips on avoiding common mistakes, a glossary of web hosting terms, and a web hosting review that profiles the web hosts who provide the best overall value in each hosting category.