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Shopping for a Host?
Try These Tips...

Before signing up with any hosting company,
you should ask easy and hard questions BEFORE you sign up!

Why ask a web host questions?

We call it "kicking the tires" before you sign up for your web hosting service.

It's important as your web host can give you the tools to build your web site and
save you money at the same time.  However, clearly some hosts are better than others.

We found the following questions are important to the success of your website.
Make sure BEFORE you sign up with any hosting company
to ask the following questions if they are not clearly stated on their web site.

TIP:  It's also a good idea to ask a mixture of technical questions
along with easy questions to "spot check" their answers.
Believe it or not, you can learn a lot about a hosting company from a simple email.

  A Good Question A Good Answer Explanation
1 Do you allow SMTP POP3 email to be sent AND received from mydomain.com? Yes Some hosting companies force you to send SMTP POP3 email from isp.yourdomain.com rather than yourdomain.com.  They do this because they claim 1) it keeps the servers fast. However, a dedicated SMTP POP3 server won't have any problems 2) it minimizes spam (however, spammers can still use web mail from their account, and CGI scripts from their account - so it really doesn't minimize spam).

The biggest problem is that some Internet Service Providers (like AOL®) won't allow the use of isp.yourdomain.com.  It probably wouldn't make for a good day if you discover you had to change ISPs just to send email via your domain.

ActiveWebHost.com does allow you to send email from your domain.

2 If I go over the monthly allotted bandwidth, what are the charges for each gig? $1 to $4 a gig
(as of 2005)
Watch this one as we have seen hosts indicate "purchase additional bandwidth for $0.07 per MB."  That translates into $70 per gig!  Be careful to not fall into a trap like this!

As of 2005, we charge $1 for each extra gig purchased in 10 gig packs.

3 Are there any restrictions regarding the gigs of monthly transfer? For example, must it be a percentage of text versus binary? Or does it that not matter? No, there is no restriction on your site traffic distribution. Don't get caught in the trap of a hosting company that monitors your traffic and charges you for different types of traffic (text versus binary).

You may think hosting companies don't do this, but you'd be surprised.

ActiveWebHost.com does not restrict the type of bandwidth.

4 Must the files that someone wishes to access via httpS be sent to you (the hosting company)


Do I FTP the files to a "secure" folder on my account that is accessed via httpS


Can any file on the hosted account be accessed via httpS?

The second option or the third option.  The third option is best (and easiest).


You may laugh at having to ask this question, but take our word for it, many hosting companies still exist that are set up where you must manually send them the files you want to access via https.  

Don't get caught having to manually send your files that you wish to access securely, and then have to wait for "someone" at the hosting company to place them on the server.

This is a "red flag" question as it can cause you a lot of headaches.

ActiveWebHost.com provides the third option as any file on your site can be accessed by https.

  A Good Question A Good Answer Explanation
1 What if my website goes over the monthly transfer amount? Does my site shut down or are we automatically charged? When your site reaches 80% of your allowance, we will contact you for instructions on how to proceed. You will be given options such as...
  • buying more bandwidth,

  • upgrading to a larger hosting plan, or

  • letting the site run its course and use its allowance up at which point the server will stop taking requests for it.

It's not a 100% necessity to have all three options available to you, but it certainly does make life a lot easier.

Most hosting companies will send you an email and charge the extra bandwidth or allow you to upgrade.

Some hosting companies will charge you after the fact, without any prior notice that you were going over your bandwidth, and then they typically charge well above market rate for the extra transfer of data.  Watch out!

Any ActiveWebHost.com account that reaches 80% of the total monthly bandwidth automatically receives an email so that you can plan in advance if you need to temporarily add more bandwidth or upgrade to another account.

2 Do you have any upgrades for each account, and if so, what are the costs? Varies Most web hosts publish this information along with each hosting plan.  It's good to ask if you can't find this information.

We provide account add-ons that can be reviewed by clicking here.

3 Will my account have access to folders below the root folder (such as below the www or public-www) to store data files that can't be accessed via http? Yes This is good for those files you don't want others to be able to access via http.  

This is highly useful for an order log, mailing list data, web stat logs, even the Excel spreadsheet you want to download when you get home.

ActiveWebHost.com provides folders below the publicly accessed folder.

4 Regarding POP3s, can the username "webmaster" be available on each separate domain? Or does it have to be "webmaster_11" on one domain because "webmaster" has already been used by someone on another domain? Pop accounts are assigned in a manner that allows each site to use any name it needs, regardless if that name is already used on a server.  If you create an email for "webmaster" on one of your domains, "webmaster" will also be available on any other domain you have hosted with us. This lets all the hosted web sites on one server create their own "webmaster" user.  The "webmaster" is only an example

Some web hosts are setup where each email username must be unique on the server.  If someone else on the server uses "Jamie" you would be forced to use a different name.

It's easy to get around this with software like MS Outlook, but it is something to ask about.

ActiveWebHost.com servers are setup so that you can use any email address name you wish, even if webmaster@somesite.com is already used on another account on the server.

5 Does the account come with a control panel? Yes Most hosting companies seem to include a control panel.  The control panel makes your life easier.

Your account at ActiveWebHost.com includes a robust Control Panel that allows you point-and-click ease and convenience.  Click here for a demonstration.

6 Does the account include web based email that can be checked OUTSIDE the control panel? Yes Most hosting companies seem to be setup to allow this.

Make sure the web mail will support the same number of POP3s the account comes with as we discovered some hosts have a limit on the number of accounts that can use the webmail software even though you could have many POP3 accounts.

Your ActiveWebHost.com account includes multiple web mail software, some basic and easier to use, others with more advanced features that include online calendars, memos, and more.

7 Does the account come with a "Catch All" email account and does this count toward the total emails? Yes to the first part and No to the second part. Most hosting companies seem to include this feature.

If someone accidentally sends an email to billy@yourdomain.com, but they meant to send it to bill@yourdomain.com a "Catch All" account will receive all misdirected email to your domain.

Your ActiveWebHost.com account includes a catch all (system) account.  Another benefit is that your system email account does not count as one of your email accounts for your account total.

1 The " BAD" web host companies usually lack "professional polish" in their emails, some even taking days to respond.  Worse yet, you may find some that won't reply, forcing you to have to send another email.  It pays to find out any problems in advance BEFORE signing up. 
2 The GOOD web host companies reply to your email within 12 hours, if not by then, you should have at least received a courtesy email to let you know they are reviewing your questions.
3 Keep in mind that there's much more to hosting than gigabytes and HTML, as without the professional support you need, your online business will suffer the consequences.

-- Other Must Read Articles --

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If you wish to use this article on your website, newsletter, etc.
you MUST obtain permission first.
We will pursue any claims necessary to enforce this copyright.

None of this information is legal advice. Use this information at your own risk.

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