What Features Do You Need in Your Hosting Package?

Since web hosting is a very competitive market, it is very easy to find a hosting package that includes a number of features, for a very low price. There are some basic features that you will need to make sure are included with your hosting package to make sure that you are getting the best deal for your money.

First, you will need to make sure that your database is compatible with your server. If your data is stored in an Access database, you’ll need to make sure that you select a Windows platform server. If you have your data in an SQL database, you will need to select a Windows based server that supports SQL or a Unix based server that will.

Most companies are now allowing PHP, which is a very popular scripting language. If you intend to run PHP applications on your site, you will need to make sure that the ability to do so is included. Conversely, if you plan to use .ASP or Active Server Pages, you will need to make sure that this is supported. Unix based hosting does not support .ASP or the .NET framework, so you’ll need to keep this in mind.

CGI access is also very important, as there are many useful applications that are run under CGI. It is important to make sure that this is included in your hosting package so that you can take full advantage of CGI on your site.

Now that we’ve covered scripting and database compatibility, it’s time to move to the more general features. Log file analysis tools are very important and will help you gauge your site’s popularity. Make sure that you select a host that offer either Analog or Webalizer, two popular log file analysis tools, that will allow you to view your log files in a format that will make sense.

If you plan to use Microsoft Front Page to develop your site, you will need to make sure that Front Page Extensions are supported so that you can utilize Front Page to its complete abilities.

If you plan to run an ecommerce site, most sites offer a free shopping cart and a SSL certificate with their hosting packages. Make sure that you find a host that does offer this or you may end up spending more money to add these on later.

Other tools, such as search engine submitting programs, site promotion tools, and browser based control panels are also very popular and useful for your site. Try to find hosting company that includes these options free, if they are something that you absolutely need for your site.

Each site is different and will need different features. A good guideline to follow while selecting the most features from a hosting company is that if you plan on using something within the next six months, such as Front Page, or PHP, try to find a host that supports what you plan to do now, so you won’t have to upgrade in the future.

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Posted on 12/14/05 10:03 PM

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