Blog Post by Murat Yaşar


Posted on Sunday, April 04, 2010 8:47:04 AM and it has been read 625 times since then.


Questions To Ask a Hosting Company Before You Buy An Account

I wrote these lines down for buying shared hosting account for my own needs. Later, I thought that would be beneficial if I share them and let others see. This is the reason I write the following lines. My need was hosting my Asp.Net web site with an MS SQL database on IIS server.

Some considerations :

Pay attention how long does it take to get a reply from the company when you ask a question via e-mail? The sooner, the better. It should not take much in my opinion. At least you should be able to get an e-mail explains that they received your e-mail and reviewing your question.

If possible, try to communicate with their customers. Ask them what their opinions are about the company. What is the pros and cons?

Make a search on the internet, read forum posts not from only a one web site but try to read about the hosting company from different web sites.

Take a look at their web site and see if they have a forum, faq, and other helpful resources. Be curious about if they use social media for instance facebook, twitter and etc..

Look for a Privacy Statement or Terms of Service. Lack of these statements are usually a bad sign for you since it is very important for all web sites to establish this information to their visitors. You do not want to pay some extra money later on, do you?

If something is given to you for unlimited usage (disk size, bandwith, and etc..), think about once again. Unlimited but not a good performance or just enough and good performance. Being greedy might create unwanted consequences.


Possible questions to ask:

1-) Where will you host my web site? Which country? Where is your server?

2-) Will I be able to control/change my application pool settings?

3-) Will I be able to change permission settings for a folder inside my website?

4-) Will you give me MS SQL Server database? How many databases can I use?

5-) Does the MS SQL database I will use, support Full Text Search feature?

6-) How many e-mail accounts will I have ?

7-) After buying a shared hosting account from you, will I be able to cancel it without paying any cancellation fee if I want to?

8-) How many ftp accounts will I have? Will I be able to access my ftp account 24/7? Is there any restriction?

9-) What is the size of the database that I am going to use?

10-) What will be the disk size limit?

11-) What is the bandwith limit?

12-) What is the half yearly everything included total price?

13-) What is the yearly everything included total price?

14-) My web site is simple and it is written by using ASP.NET. Framework 3.5 SP1. Do you support?

15-) Will my website have its own application pool?

16-) Do you provide any instant messaging system or live chat support in case any question I want to ask? Are your support team reachable via telephone in case there is an emergency in my account?

17-) Will I be able to connect MS SQL database from my computer by using MS SQL Management Studio?

18-) Do you provide Scheduled Task / Cron Job feature? If so how many?

19-) What is the response I am going to get if the bandwith limit exceeds? Do you charge me without notification? Do you send me any notification e-mail?

20-) What is going to happen if the disk size limit exceeds? Do you charge me without notification? Do you send me any notification e-mail?

21-) What is going to happen if MS SQL database size limit exceeds? Do you charge me without notification? Do you send me any notification e-mail? Will I be able to insert data or since limit exceeds will I get an error when I try to insert any data into database?

22-) Will I be able to use my IIS Manager in my own computer to connect your IIS server where my site is being hosted? I saw that it is possible for IIS 7 version and above by installing a plugin from Microsoft.

23-) If I order a plan, how long will it take for me to start using and putting my files onto your server? How long will it take the ordered SQL Server database goes alive?

24-) Choosing Window 2008 and IIS 7 looks like better decision. But if I get any problem with this platform, will I be able to change my account to use Windows 2003 and IIS6 combination and vice versa? Will I be able to change by myself from control panel or I should wait for your technical department to do this job? If they do will I have to pay any extra money?

25-) Is scheduled task manager included in total price?

26-) Do you keep SQL Server and IIS on the same server or seperately?

27-) Does tech support cost extra?

28-) Do you provide a security against any type of attack? Should I develop my own protection for my web site?

29-) Are there any initial setup fees?

30-) Is there any hidden costs?

31-) How many customers do you serve per server?

32-) Do you backup my website and database or I should do this by myself?

33-) Where is tech support located? Will they always talk with the same sentences which has nothing to do with my problem?

34-) Do you provide any kind of website statistics such as page views by URL, hits, visitors on a daily, weekly, monthly basis, and etc..

35-) How quickly your support team respond when I have questions?

36-) Is there any limitation for sending an e-mail from my web site by using sendingmail@mydomain.com?

37-) Are you able to provide me a demo of your control panel? I would like to see what options are available to me beforehand.


Conclusion:

These are just some questions I asked when I choose a shared hosting company. But before I send an e-mail, I looked at hosting companies' current plan options on their website. I narrowed down my hosting company list first examining their plans.

There are definetely many other questions to ask for. You can add them into this list as a comment if you want.

Additionally, you can have your own specific scenario and related questions for it. Needs can varries as you all can guess. Therefore, there is no ultimate question list to ask, well at least it is my humble opinion anyway.

I wanted to give some idea who reads these lines. This is not a ultimate list or a list which has to be applied before buying a shared hosting account from any company. Just a couple of hints that might help someone else.

To me the most important thing besides above lines is that whether or not my site will be up %99.99 time and if there is a problem will I be able to get quick and accurate response about the problem. I should not be a professional about technical details and they should be able to explain things the way I understand.

The last word from me is that I think you will never be able to find a hosting company which will meet all your requirements %100.

Have a great day.


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