Web Hosting FAQs
 Web Hosting FAQs

At LinkOnUs.com, we give you a place to set up your web site and offer you a full range of services that can grow with you and your business. To help you understand features that you should consider when selecting a hosting plan, we have provided the following descriptions.

  • Storage Space: Most plans limit the amount of disk storage space your web site can consume. To better understand your space requirements, a typical web page that would load in 8 seconds from a dial up account would be 30k in size. This equates to a 100mb account would allow for approximately 30 x 100 = 3000 average sized pages. Other providers impose limits such as only so many files of a certain type or services such as email or databases have individual limits. We provide a single limit that you can share for any of your needs.

  • Transfers: Every time someone visits your site, information is transferred back and forth between the server and that visitor's browser. If you have a busy site, the transfers can quickly add up. Because you are consuming precious connection bandwidth, and quality bandwidth cost money, hosts want you to pay extra if your site exceeds certain limitations. To understand bandwidth usage we can use a formula similar to the disk storage example above. Using our same 30k page size, and a 1gb (1000mb) transfer account, approximately 30 x 1000 = 30,000 page views would be possible. Some providers impose daily or hourly limits which you might exceed. At LinkOnUs.comwe calculated your usage on a monthly bases which allows for busier times of the day.

  • Web Statistics: Most hosts will make your log files available to you. You can then acquire and use one of the popular Web statistics programs to analyze the logs. We actually provide several different online graphical programs that will provide excellent reports. These reports are stored within your site allowing you to compare different time periods and truly refine your marketing efforts.

  • E-Mail Accounts: Most basic plans give you several accounts to start with, and more if you pay for them. The host should provide you with a way to use your browser to process your email, in addition to letting your e-mail program access it. Other things you may be interested in are aliases, which let you create multiple names for a single account, and auto-responders, which automatically reply to received messages with a predefined response.

  • E-Mail Lists: If you plan to create an E-Zine, discussion list, or e-mail newsletter, you will need an e-mail list service. The best solution is one you can manage yourself over the Internet. Under some plans e-mail lists are part of your e-mail service, while others require you to pay separately for it.

  • Domain Registration and Hosting: Some hosts will register your domain name for free, others will charge a fee, typically $10 to $50 per year on top of the registration price. Just make sure that the domain name is registered to your company and that you are the contact for it. We will gladly register your domain name for you with you as the contact giving you the control.

  • Chat Room: Most businesses don't have much use for a chat room because the telephone is a much more efficient way to provide customer service. However, you may want to provide your visitors with a chat room so they can chat amongst themselves. This service may be valuable for businesses that cater to hobbyists and collectors. Chat is only one of the many services that can be installed for free from the control panel.

  • Database Support: If your Web site will use a database, you will need to know whether or not the host supports your database of choice. On Windows servers, support for Access is frequently provided at no extra charge, but support for SQL Server will almost certainly cost extra. Additionally, your host may charge extra for larger SQL Server databases.

  • Shopping Cart: Some hosts make shopping cart software available to you. The features of that software can be critical if your site will involve a large Web storefront. Make sure the shopping cart software includes the features you need and supports the payment processor you choose.

  • Bulletin Board: Many hosts offer access to bulletin board software, so you can offer on-line support and special interest forums to your customers. A bulletin board is like a combination between a chat room and e-mail. Related messages are "threaded" into discussions so you can follow an entire conversation between two participants. A Bulletin Board is only one of the many services that can be installed for free from the control panel.

  • Mail Automation: If you plan to create on-line forms that collect information and send it to your e-mail account, you will need some kind of e-mail utility. Hosts often provide a script that does this, or they give you access to a software program for which you can write custom scripts yourself. The Control Panel has many features to manage your email accounts, including spam and virus protection, mailing lists, auto responders and aliases.

  • Backup: What happens if the host's power goes out? What happens if the server's drive crashes? Is your Web site backed up so it can be restored? Your host should back your site up on a regular basis, but you or your developer should also have a copy of all the files that make up your site. This issue is critical if you have a database or use a shopping cart. You don't want to lose orders. We have probably one of the most advanced backup solutions in use today. Each day modified files from our servers are backed up to large raid systems and automatic tape drives. The backup software then tracks changes to the files and allows us to quickly restore a single file or a complete hard drive at any time in the past.

  • Contract Term: When possible, avoid signing a long-term contract. The hosting market changes rapidly, and you don't want to be locked-in to a service that you could quickly grow out of. Also, you don't want to pay in advance for service you may never get, should the host go out of business. If you ever want to change plans any monies paid can be rolled over to a different plan.

  • Operating System: Your host may offer a choice of server operating systems, like Windows, or Linux. For most people, the operating system won't matter, but if you want to run specific software or scripts on your site, you'll need to make sure the software works on the host operating system.

  • Cost: Considering what you get, hosting is inexpensive. Particularly when you compare it to the cost of setting up and maintaining a Web server and high-speed Internet connection yourself. For small and medium-sized businesses, the decision to outsource Web services to a hosting company is a no-brainer.

  • Support: Companies support plans vary from self help, email or telephone. When choosing a provider this area is worth some investigation. We provide all three - vast online knowledge base and documentation's, email trouble ticket system that logs your requests and answers and telephone support from trained personnel.

    Free hosting services are rarely truly free, and they rarely offer the services a business Web site requires. Providing hosting services costs money, so if it isn't obvious how they make that money back, you should be suspicious. Also, most of these so-called free sites severely limit your disk space utilization, bandwidth (which affects the performance of your site), transfers (which affects how many visitors you can have), or they require you to display their advertisements on your Web pages.

    You may have seen articles on how to select a hosting service based on their statistics, but realistically, the best statistics possible won't make it any easier to deal with them when you need support. Ultimately, the way you are treated when you call to ask about their service will be a good indicator of how they will respond to you once you hand over your money.