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webFraught with crucial decisions about the future success of your website, choosing a reliable web host can be a learning experience for any new webmaster.

Your web hosting service is responsible for keeping your website up and running 24/7, as well as granting you access to the back end of your server for customizing passwords, changing file permissions, and dozens of other functions.

Perhaps most importantly, your web host are filled with the 'go-to' people you rely on to provide quick and reliable customer service, especially when things go wrong. So how do you know which web hosting service to choose? As ever, it pays to shop around ...

How to find and choose the best web hosting service

  • If you want your site to be taken seriously by visitors and the search engines, avoid free hosting sites. Period.

  • Shop for price, then check forums for comments from existing or past users for insider tips about customer service and uptime. You want a host who can guarantee maximum uptime and will respond quickly when servers go down. If your domain only offers spotty service it can permanently drive traffic away from your website. Therefore, the bare minimum you want to look for in guaranteed uptime is 99.9%.

  • Watch out for review sites that "recommend" affiliates only. Obviously, someone who is getting paid for a recommendation may not have your best interests in mind.

  • Average sites will do fine sharing a server. If you intend to launch a commercial mega site, however, paying up-front for a 'dedicated' server - that is, dedicated exclusively to your web site - may in the long run be worth the extra cost.

More about web hosting around the Web:

Around the web, learn more about how to choose a web host with expert guides offering information and how to's along with helpful pointers on where to find host server directories, related discussion boards, and trusted review sites ...


Web Host Magazine and Buying Guide - Online since 1997 and providing the latest news and reviews of the best hosting plans, featuring editor's choice awards, story articles, guides and how-to's, links to recommended hosting services and their own host-advertiser guarantee.

The Whir - Web Host Industry Review - In-depth hosting guides plus links to Web hosting services worldwide searchable by price, platform or disk space, or by categories including shared and dedicated hosting, e-commerce and more.

Top 10 Independent Web Site Hosting Reviews - The real deal on what you're likely to experience in terms of speed, reliability and service from, with independent reviews supplemented by user comments, plus in-depth feature articles, info on Web hosting essentials and a directory of rated / reviewed companies.

100 Best Web Hosting - Editor's picks and reviews / comparisons of their choice of top hosting companies, plus web hosting tutorials and must-know terms, plus an extensive database of hosts searchable by disk space, price and platform. - News, top 25 monthly picks, newbie guide, Webmaster resources, plus browseable categories to extensive feature articles on reseller, Windows/NT, managed, ecommerce hosting and more, with a searchable database of hosting services.

Ozzu Webmaster Forum - Website Hosting - Discussions on shared, dedicated, and managed hosting.

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