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Things to consider before selecting a Hosting Partner

Choose the right solution:

It is imperative to understand the difference between the types of hosting offered in the marketplace to ensure you choose the right solution for your business. As the hosting industry has matured, hosting service options have been divided into 5 distinct categories. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses and of course associated costs to consider!

Shared or Virtual Hosting

You are sharing the server you are located on with an unknown number of other customers, sometimes hundreds or even thousands. Because the resources of that server are being used by companies other than your own any heavy traffic to one, or more of other sites or any site that requires high CPU usage to deliver its content will significantly impact the performance of your website. Also, to ensure a stable environment for all the clients on the server, the host provider will usually not allow you to install any special software programs. The hosting company manages the server, and you maintain your site and account. Obviously the key reason for this type of arrangement is to lower the cost and price of service – note, the hosting provider will generally throttle your bandwidth to size the plan that you subscribed too (this can significantly reduce your income!). Please note, Altwood never throttles or restricts ANY client’s bandwidth and we ensure every virtual server is not “over-sold” and we monitor every clients CPU needs and bandwidth to ensure no 1 client dominates any machine.

Virtual Private Servers

Are “virtually” dedicated in that the user experiences a similar service to that of a dedicated server due to the internal server partitioning software. A virtual private server thus runs entirely independently of all other accounts sharing space and resources on the server. However (in reality) you are actually sharing server space with a small number of other customers. Each client is given complete control over their part of the server, acting as though it is the only account on the server and all users are totally secure and independent from each other. VPS is ideal for clients that need dedicated server functionality but only require a virtual sized solution rather than the cost of a full independent server.

Co-location Hosting

The host provides the rackspace into which your server is located and you connect to the internet using the hosts own network. The hosting provider maintains the network and you are responsible for nearly all the maintenance of your server.

Un-managed Dedicated Hosting

Very similar to co-location, except that you lease a server from the hosting company rather than supplying your own. Support is limited and provided (generally) via a Web-based control panel. The level of support you receive will vary greatly and can be costly if charged on a per incident basis. Ask the host to provide details on what support they will and will not provide before you sign up.

Managed Dedicated Hosting

As per un-managed however instead of providing your own server you effectively lease or rent a machine from your hosting provider who will also provide support and maintenance backed by performance guarantees, e.g. 24/7/365 support availability, exceptional MTTR, server performance monitoring and reporting, security patch updates etc. The level of support can vary dramatically among hosting companies and always ask the host to provide details on exactly what managed services they will and will not provide, and at what cost before signing up.

Altwood provides a FREE consultation to every client to ensure that you are taking the right solution at the right price, given your success will (ultimately) also be ours.

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Some Tips for Choosing the right hosting partner:

1. Don't Make Price Your Only Priority

The old saying "you get what you pay for" does apply to most things in life, and hosting is certainly one of these. When you over-prioritize price, you run the risk of ending up with a host that will provide you with an overly throttled and oversold connection to the Internet and little, if any support. Restricting your bandwidth via a “bucket” hosting provider may give you a cheap solution but ultimately this will only throttle and limit your income as your clients leave your site and buy elsewhere due to the slowness of download from your site.

Please note: Altwood provides Gig-E connections to all clients from Tier1 providers – 100x the speed of a 10Mbit leased line.

2. What Do Their Customers Say About Them?

Can your prospective host provide you with success stories for clients with similar configurations to yours? Are they able to provide references from clients who can tell you about their experience using that company?

3. How Far Will Their Support Go Without Extra Charges?

Ensure any host you consider provides you with a comprehensive list of what is supported at no charge, what is supported at an additional fee, and what is not supported at all. Many hosts will try to hide a sub-standard level of free support behind non-specific statements of high quality support.


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