Category Archives: Web Hosting

Web Hosting in China

If your website visitors are not mainly from the United States but from the other side of the world, it is beneficial to get hosting that is closer to your visitor’s home location. The reason is because then the bandwidth does not have to go over that many hops and is arguably faster for your visitors. While this may not be a concern for some sites, if you are hosting something like multi-player gaming servers, this will have a large effect on ping times and lag during games.

One country with a rapidly growing number of online gamers and web surfers in general is China. If your site is Chinese or if most of your visitors come from China, it is sensible for you to buy Chinese hosting. Besides faster bandwidth, buying Chinese hosting has several advantages as well as disadvantages that stem from legalities and technical support issues. In this article, we will look at these issues and review a few Chinese hosts that might be right for you.

When we first consider Chinese hosting, we need to make sure of the type of Chinese hosting we are talking about. There are two types, one is where the company is based in China but the servers are based in the United States and the other is when the servers are based in China. The first type is not really any different from any US host. To check where the servers are located, you can ping their servers and check the IP against online country IP ranges located at http://www.proxyserverprivacy.com/ipaddress_range.php . Because the servers are in the states, you still need to abide by all American content and copyright laws. I would advise just going with a US host instead of choosing this option if you can’t speak Chinese as at least some of the technical support staff will not speak native English.

This article will focus on the second type of Chinese hosting, where the servers and the Company are actually in China. Obviously because the servers are physically closer to your visitors, page load times and game server connections speeds will be faster. However, unless you are hosting something where lag is important like a game server, the real difference between Chinese and US-based hosting is in the technical support and legal issues.

The first thing we are going to look at is technical support. If you do not speak Chinese, then the technical support will probably not be up to par with a US-based host. Chinese hosting companies generally hire Chinese staff who are trained in English but not native speakers. Many of them will have an accent which will hinder communication on technical support e-mails and calls. Support hotline calls are also international calls, which means they will be expensive. If technical support is a critical component for you and you cannot speak or understand Chinese, then going with a Chinese host is probably not all that great of an idea.

The other thing besides technical support is legal issues. One advantage of hosting on a Chinese server is that the Chinese Firewall is less likely to blockservers physically located in China than elsewhere. However, because your server is in China and therefore under Chinese jurisdiction, the government can come in at any time and confiscate your server if it finds some reason to do so(or if they just feel like doing it). U.S. Copyright and content laws also do not apply in China and the United States government really cannot pursue copyright infringement laws if the servers are in China. This means you can get away with things like having downloads of copyrighted music an videos on your site(the police,however, can still come after you if the RIAA or some other organization deems you significant enough to chase). The same applies for other types of content such as images, flash content, multimedia, or scripts. In fact, one of the main reasons people go for non-US based hosting and are instead with Chinese hosting is the fact that you can get away with copyrighted content. However, the legal system also has other flaws. If your Chinese hosting company with servers in China decides to vanish overnight(and some of them do) or does not give you adequate service, there is not much you can do about it. You will most likely not be able to get your money back or will you be able to sue the company or start any kind of class-action lawsuit. The Chinese government does not really chase issues like this and there are many known cases of small companies vanishing into thin air overnight. There also have been cases of hosts stealing client’s content and other unethical behavior that would be prosecuted in the United States but can’t really be prosecuted in China. All sites that are hosted on Chinese servers also require something called a ICP license or they get shut down. Try to find a Chinese host who will take care of this for you and be aware it could take a month to get. In short, there may be some legal advantages of hosting in China but the risks are also great and may leave you high and dry. Note that if you are looking for hosting in the China region, you can also look at Hong Kong hosting, which many people consider to be of better quality.

Now that we have looked the ins and outs of Chinese hosting, lets take a look at some Chinese hosts:

1. Sino hosting – Sino hosting is a Shanghai-based Chinesehosting company that have staff members active on many large hosting forums. They give you the choice of having your site hosted overseas in Europe and US or actually hosting in China in one of their many locations. Payment can be accepted through cash, Paypal, or Bank transfer and the company accepts a variety of different currencies although US dollar and RMB are preferred. They have an online support ticket system as well as a support hotline and even allow people to walk in and visit them at their office. Sino hosting is a legit Chinese hosting company worth considering if you are looking to host in China. Prices are expensive for what you get but you can be sure that they run a legit hosting business(which is hard to find sometimes in China).

2. – This is another large and established Chinese hosting company that takes care of domain registrations and hosts anything from small shared accounts to dedicated servers. They have a well-equipped datacenter with multiple 1GPS bandwidth lines and a high-security firewall to keep out intruders. They don’t list their shared hosting prices or specifications anywhere on their site but based on their dedicated offerings, bandwidth seems to be limited and the price is high compared to many American hosts. They do have a full client support system for technical supports. They are a large well-known Chinese company with a solid infrastructure and a presence in China that you can trust to be there for a long time.

3. Wild Web Widget– This company offers hosting plans that are out of a Beijing datacenter and offers both Linux and Windows plans. Like other Chinese hosting, the price for the space and bandwidth you get is very high but they do have both a support forum and a support ticket system. I cannot vouch for this service as their support forum is down at this time but they do offer payment via both credit card and Paypal. They have both an Asia and a US division so support staff should be able to speak fluently in both languages.

4. Xinnet – Another large Chinese hosting and domain registration company. Prices here are in the same range as other Chinese hosts. They also offer email and a variety of other services. I cannot find an English version of their site so its hard to tell about other features they have.

Now that we have looked at some key points in Chinese hosting as well as some hosting companies in China, I would like to end with the recommendation that you should consider US hosting before Chinese hosting as the quality of technical support is higher and the prices are much better for what your get. Unless you have a good reason to want to be within the Chinese firewall or are hosting a gaming server or something where ping times really matter, its better to stick with a US host

Web Hosting for Web Designers and Web Developers

Web Hosting for Web Designers and Web Developers In the world of web hosting, there are many types of customers. Many will be satisfied with any type of service they are given but there are some who only want the very best in quality. Many of the customers who demand the highest quality in service and features are web designers and web developers. These customers often want prompt and knowledgeable technical support, large amounts of webspace andbandwidth, the ability to resell their web hosting plans, lenient CPU and RAM usage quotas, and the most in terms of featured and platforms supported. If you are one of these customers, you may find that hosting to suit your needs is hard to get. In this article, we will look at many of the features you are looking for and suggest some hosts that might be fit for you.

Web designers and developers are one of the few types of web hosting clients who may need large amounts of space and bandwidth, especially if they design and develop with high-bandwidth programs such as Macromedia Flash. Designers and developers will often want to display their work for the public to see in order to show off their skills and attract more clients. More often than not this means large files for people to download and demo. This can potentially be a major bandwidth-eater in terms of the hosting plan. If the web designer or developer writes some truly popular templates of scripts for the public to use, then he or she can be looking at bandwidth usage in the range of several hundred gigabytes or even well into the tera-byte range. The space concern that many developers and designers have directly ties in with their ability to resell their hosting. Since these types of customers will most likely have many clients of their own, they will want to be able to sell separate smaller accounts off of their clients. Since many of their clients themselves may have large files that they host, this could quickly pile up in terms of disk space usage. Because of the disk space and bandwidth requirements and the need to be able to resell space, you as a developer or designer will probably want to opt for some kind of reseller plan from a host. Look for a reseller plan that has a decent amount of space(2-6GB) and bandwidth(100-300GB) to start off and upgrade your plan as the need arises. Do not buy huge plans at the beginning otherwise you will be wasting your money.

The next concern for developers and designers is CPU and RAM usage. This is especially true since web developers host many of their clients and any one of these clients could get suspended for excessive CPU/RAM usage. This is also the main reason you do not want to buy an overly cheap plan from a massive overselling host. Such hosts simply pile too many clients onto the same server and have frequent downtimes and network outages because of this. In general, the % of CPU and RAM that resellers are allowed to use are generally greater than the % that regular shared accounts are allowed to use but there are still limits. Before buying a reseller account, ask the hosting company what their limits are for reseller accounts and how they handle account suspensions. You’ll want a host that allows you to use 7% or more of the total server resources in peak hours. Hosts also handle account suspensions on sub-accounts of resellers differently. Some will suspend the account without your notice while others will work with you and your client to investigate and remove the content in question. You should always go with a host that follows the second route as I know many designers/developers who have lost a significant number of clients and gained a undeserved reputation because of their host suspending client accounts without notice. You should also look for a host that lets you keep track of overall resource usage on your account. This usually only comes with VPS accounts but there are a few reseller accounts that offer this feature. This way you can spot potentially troublesome accounts and deal with the issues before they reach the surface.

Another thing for designers/developers to look out for is technical support. This may actually be the most important of things to look for in a webhost. Because you will potentially have many clients that you are reselling your webspace to, the chances are pretty good that one of them will suffer some kind of database error or outage at some point along the line. Since you are on a regular reseller account and do not have root access into the server, you will many times not be able to fix this problem and will need good technical support in order to not lose your clients. Technical support staff for resellers need to have superior knowledge when compared to support staff for regular shared accounts because of the complexity of problems you will run into regarding your clients. They need to have knowledgeable about scripts, optimizations, and common server errors that scripts like WordPress will run into to be able to give adequate support. To get a good idea of the quality of a host’s technical support staff, go around to forums such as webhostingtalk.com and ask the staff some questions yourself before you sign up. A good technical support staff is priceless in times of crisis.

While technical support, CPU/RAM, and space/bandwidth issues are important, the first thing you need to decide as a web designer/developer is what kind of platform you want to be hosting on. This usually comes down to Linux or Windows. This mostly depends on what type of language you want to be developing in. If you are looking to primarily develop in PHP, a Linux platform is the way to go. If you are looking to develop in ASP or .NET, then you’ll want a windows platform. If you are looking for a budget option, you’ll probably want to go Linux as Linux plans are somewhat cheaper than Windows plans. When looking at the platform, also look to see if the host has optimizations in place such as Zend optimizer as this will help a lot with the CPU/RAM usage of your account.

Now that we have looked at what designers/developers need, let look at a few companies that might fit you in terms of hosting.

1. Hostgator– Normally I would advise against over-sellers but the general opinion of Hostgator has been pretty good. Most people report that they have adequate technical support and good uptime. Their reseller packages start at $24.95 and only offers 250GB bandwidth but considering the fact that you will be hosting many people, that is a very good deal for the price. This is probably one of the best bang for the buck plans in terms of resellers. You can also upgrade to their dedicated plans once you outgrow the reseller plan.

2. Mosso– An expensive option at $100/month but one that gives you 80GB of managed space and 2TB of bandwidth. The thing that makes Mosso so appealing is that you can run ASP and PHP, Linux or Windowsapplications on it at the same time. I would love to give my whole-hearted recommendation to these guys but they still have some trouble with their new setup which have impacted a decent number of clients. If they ever get these worked out, definitely give them a look

3. Downtownhost– Downtown host has reseller plans starting at $16.95 for 5GB space and 60GB bandwidth. While price per GB does not pan out in this host’s favor when compared to other hosts, the quality of technical support and customer service is unquestionable. This host is highly regarded in many web hosting circles and can be considered a premium(although more expensive) web hosting provider.

4. Gate2vn– This is the host I personally use both for my arcade sites and for my PHP development site. I have been with them for over 2 years with very few complaints. Network uptime is great and technical support is always there for me. Starting at $25/month for 3GB space and 120GB bandwidth for resellers, they are also on the expensive side but they are a good host to put your trust in.

5. Media Layer– The most expensive out of the group of hosts I recommend but probably the best for serious application hosting. Hosting prices here are about $.80 for every gigabyte of bandwidth used. However, this host’s service comes with all the optimizations and safety precautions for intense application hosting. CPU/RAM usage allowances are also higher here than most other places and they have great technical support. If you plan to run intense applications, this is the host I would suggest.

For web designers and developers looking for a new webhost, these are the five I would suggest. There are many other out there that are good but I cannot vouch for their service. Look around in web hosting forums for advice and talk in-depth with sales and support staff before you buy. Do not rush in and buy a hosting plan before doing the required homework or you may be sorry in the future.

Tutorials Sites Hosting

Information is the main reason why people surf the internet today. People are always searching the net for instructions or tutorials on how to do things that they do not know how to do. When they are looking for specific instructions and examples, they will often head to tutorial sites to find either text, visual, or audio instructions on how to program things, design things, cook food, or put stuff together. There are many tutorial sites for everything on the web today but one of the problems with many of these sites is that they are constantly down. The reason for this is because they did not find a web hosting company that fits all the site needs of a tutorials site. When buying hosting for a tutorial site you need to consider the technical support of the host, the amount of CPU/RAM you are allowed to use, he amount of Space and Bandwidth you have on the site, and the types of files you are allowed to upload on certain web hosts.

The technical support of the host is crucial for tutorial sites as these types of sites often run into problems with uploading files or user interaction. You will want technical support that can respond to you in at most a 6 hour time-frame and provide knowledgeable support to quickly solve the problem. Tutorial sites often have SQL database errors and if you are not very good at programming, you may need to ask your support staff to repair or re-align your database so it updates correctly for your site. Technical support staff should also know how to make emergency backups for all your tutorials and data in case the server needs a re-load and there is a chance that your data may be lost in the process. In addition to this, the support staff should have some basic programming knowledge to be able to help you with PHP server issues. It is quite common that after a server upgrade some of your scripts will not work right because the default settings for the newer OS version are different from that of the old one. If this happens, you’ll need support staff that is knowledgeable in this area to either re-configure the settings so that they match with the old settings or tell you what you need to change or enable in order to make your site function correctly again. Support staff is also important in case of network outages or server crashes to help you get your site back up and running as quickly as possible. To get an idea of the quality of technical support at a hosting company, it is best to check on a large web hosting forum such as webhostingtalk.com and ask questions about their customer service. Forum members will be able to honestly tell you their past experiences with the host you are thinking about. Hosting review sites such as hostjury.com are also a decent source of information regarding the webhost, but since many of these hosting review sites are owned by hosting companies or sponsored by hosting companies, the information presented on these sites can easily to biased.

Another important factor for tutorial site hosting is the amount of CPU/RAM usage that each account is allowed to use. Since uploading tutorials, having members submit tutorials, allowing ratings and comments and ratings on tutorials, an just browsing a tutorials site will take both PHP or ASP code executions and SQL database queries, tutorial sites can easily take up a lot of CPU and RAM power. The amount of CPU/RAM power that these sites take up depends on the number of visitors your site gets and what features you have enabled on your tutorials script. The allowance of CPU/RAM usage varies from host to host and can be as little as 1% of total server power to as much as 10% of total server power. When choosing a host, be sure to read the Terms of Service agreement and find out the exact amount you are allowed to use. If you cannot get an exact amount from their Terms of Service agreement, ask their support staff until you get a rough idea of how much you can use. The number of simultaneous MYSQL connections is another thing to look for when choosing a host as this will directly limit how many users can be on your site at once. For a tutorials site, you should be looking at a limit of more than 15 at once. When asking about resource usage, also ask if the host has optimizations such as Zend optimizer and server caching set up as these features will reduce the stress that a script such as a tutorials script puts on the server. In additional to the usage factors, ask the host about their account suspension policy and find a host that has a more lenient policy. This is very important because some hosts will suspend you without giving you a fair warning while others will warn you well ahead of time so you can fix the problem because the account suspension happens. Finding a host with a more lenient policy on account suspension may save you hours of downtime in the future.

Aside from CPU/RAM, the other resource you have to look at is the amount of space and bandwidth allowed. The amount you’ll need depends on what kind of tutorials you are doing a site for, the content of those tutorials, and whether you will be hosting the tutorials on your own server. If you are not planning to host the tutorial files on your server and are just linking or framing other people’s pages, then there is no need to worry about these things as you will probably never hit your space and bandwidth ceiling before you hit a ceiling for CPU and RAM usage.

However, if you are hosting all the content on your server, you will need to take space and bandwidth into consideration. Its hard to say how much you will need as the kind of tutorials you are hosting and their content will determine this completely. If the tutorials are just plan text with no audio, visual, flash, or movies then there is no need to worry about space and bandwidth as text tutorials take up almost no space and bandwidth at all.

If the tutorials do contain downloads, audio, flash, or visual content, you will need to carefully calculate an average file size for each tutorial and multiply this by the number of tutorials you plan to have and add 30% on to this figure to get a rough estimate of how much space you will need. Having this much space will ensure enough space for your content as well as a decent amount of expansion space. For calculating the bandwidth, take the average file size of a tutorial, multiply by the number of page views your site gets a day, and multiply this by 30 to get a rough estimate of the monthly bandwidth usage. In reality, it will probably be somewhat lesser than this number because of browser caching and other factors. While space and bandwidth are two things that you should look at, most of the times on shared hosting CPU/RAM is much more of a limiting factor and should be given more attention when choosing a host.

The other thing you should ask your host about(especially if you are on a free host) if the file types you are actually allowed to upload and whether or not you can CHMOD files to high enough permissions to allowed uploading by users via a web form. Some hosts have limitations on the types of files you can upload and many others do not let uses upload via web form. Be sure that are your file extensions are allowed before signing up with a web host.

Now that we have looked at the requirements, here are some companies that I personally recommend for hosting tutorials sites.

1. Zoomcities– If you are looking to start on a free host, Zoomcities should be your top choice. They are selective in who they host and you will have to post in their forums to get their hosting service. However, this is well worth it as Zoomcities is by far the best free hosting service out there. They give you enough space and bandwidth to grow your tutorial site up to a decent size and provide unheard of quality in technical support for a free host. There is also a community of IT professionals to help you build your site.

2. Steadfast Networks– One of the best paid hosting services on the web, steadfast offers shared hosting as well as dedicated servers. Their technical support is top-notch and are always there around the clock to help you. Nearly all customers who have used them are more than satisfied with their service and the price on their hosting plans is very reasonable for what they offers.

3. Medialayer– My choice for serious shared application hosting. Media layer has most all the server optimizations in place which means your site can handle more visitors before it hits the CPU/RAM ceiling. Their plans are a bit pricey but for the quality of hardware you are getting and the excellent technical support staff, it is well worth the price.

4. Liquidweb– Boasting heroic support and service, they have grown into one of the biggest and most trusted providers in web hosting. Offering anything from shared hosting to dedicated servers, Liquidweb staff are friendly and knowledgeable. The only few complaints I have heard from some non-US users is their billing systems but the vast majority of customers do not have this issue.

All of these providers above are excellent choices to start your tutorials site on and all provide great upgrade paths when you outgrow your plan. Ask around online for more information but starting with one of these four hosts will give on a good footing for success.

Hosting Services for Graphic Designers

Finding talent in artistic design online is hard. There are a lot of people that have some Photoshop, Flash, or Corel Suite skills but few that can truly draw and put together things from scratch. That is why if you are a true programmer looking to build a site or game and want a good visual touch, a good graphic designer is an invaluable asset to have.

One of the reasons why graphic designers are so hard to find online is the fact that many do not have online portfolios. A reason for this is because many graphic designers are not technical people and because of this, they are not familiar with web hosting. Many will choose a bad host and will drop out of the online business altogether once they have a bad experience. If you are a designer and are searching for hosting, things you should you look for are types of scripts you are able to run on the host, uptime, technical support, space/bandwidth, an on-site support system, e-commerce options, and perks for signing up.

The most important thing for any kind of business online that is looking for hosting is the uptime that the service can give you. For any paid service, this uptime should be 99.5% or above. Please understand this is not network uptime , but actual uptime of your site. The uptime that hosts usually advertise is total network uptime which is basically always up unless a major bandwidth carrier goes down or their fiber-optic cables break(not very likely). The actual uptime of your site may be far less than this as many things such as database errors, system overloads, and bad connections will prevent your site from staying up 24/7. To accurately get a feel for the uptime of a host, you can go to webhosting forumsand ask other users to get an average number, go to hosting review sites that track the uptime of various servers, or buy and run software yourself to monitor a hosts uptime. You should read historic trends from hosting review sites on how the uptime has been in the last month, half-year, and year to get a good idea of how the host is doing currently. Do not neglect to check uptime before you buy as every hour of downtime can cost you potential clients and hundreds of dollars worth of revenue.

Technical support is the second most important thing for graphical designers to consider when purchasing a host. The reason is two-fold. One is that when your site does experience problems and goes down, you will want prompt technical support to help you get it back up. You should be looking for a host with either an online chat support system, a support hotline you can call 24/7 or a priority ticketing system for emergencies. For emergencies such as this the host should be able to respond within the hour to get your site up and running again. The other reason is because many graphical designers run image scripts or other scripts that may cause trouble or not run right if certain server or PHP settings or changed. Sometimes these changes occur suddenly overnight and your script or service will no longer be working. In these cases, you will need technical support with above-average technical knowledge to get your script working again. This mainly applies to scripts that generate buttons or images on-the-fly for visitors. You may also need to request that certain PHP extensions be installed for your use and technical support staff is necessary for these operations. To find out just how good the support staff is at a particular host, you need to ask around in large web hosting communities and talk to past or current users of the service before making a decision. These people are the best source of information for how reliable technical support is.

Past users are often the ones who had problems that technical support could not resolve or would not respond to. If the host you are looking at has had a lot of customer turnover lately, you should not go with this host. You can also read technical support reviews at hosting review sites to get an idea of how the overall customer service is.

I,myself, would not trust these sites as many of these sites are either owned or sponsored by the large hosting companies and they use it as a self-promotion tool. Some will write positive fake reviews about themselves, some will delete negative reviews about themselves, and many will always put their own service in the top 2 or 3 rated hosts even though that rating is not a true rating. If you go to these sites, be aware of this fact and check to see which host owns the site before you use the information at these sites to make a decision about which hosting service you go for.

The availability of support ticket software that a host offers is also important to any business firm that plans to have a lot of clients. Support ticket software is often expensive to purchase and if a host has one ready for you to use, then it is definitely a factor you will want to consider. You will want one because it provides a way for customers to submit questions and get quotes from you. It also provides a good way for you to respond to customer requests in an orderly fashion based on the urgency of the requests. Being able to advertise that you have a ticketing system also scores points with many potential clients as they will think you are more professional and are dedicated to helping clients. Check the script library of a host before you sign up to see of there is any free help-desk script in the initial setup or ask if your host can set one up for you to use.

The next thing you’ll want to look at is the availability of e-commerce options on the hosting service. Since you are most likely going to be accepting orders from clients, you will need a payment processor. While Paypal will be okay with some clients, others will prefer credit-card transactions, especially on large orders. You must buy from a host that offers individual SSL certificates or shared SSL on their server. This feature provides a safe way to do financial transactions and many people will not buy from any site that does not have 128-bit encrypted SSL security. Check to make sure or ask if your host has scripts for e-commerce such as Oscommerce or Miva Merchat with the payment extensions out to Paypal or 2checkout. Having these features makes accepting client orders much easier and will make your business flow much smoother.

Another hosting spec you’ll want to pay attention to is if image manipulation libraries are installed for PHP. Usually this means the GD2 library or imagemagik for PHP(I don’t know what the ASP equivalent is). You also want to make sure PHP is not running in safe mode or many of the most used functions of GD will be largely disabled.

Space and Bandwidth are two other factors that should be in the back of your mind when you are looking for hosting for your graphic design company. These are not huge concerns for a graphic designer but they are things that you should check every so often. If your designs involve large flash files or other types of multimedia that are of significant file size, then you may want to purchase a plan that has 50GB of bandwidth or more if you want to display your portfolio for the world to see. Since most hosting plans have at least 2 GB space and 50 or more GB’s of bandwidth, this is not a high concern. Space and bandwidth can also be purchased on the cheap for pennies per gigabyte so you can always purchase extra or upgrade if you need to. Generally if you have that many clients calling on you , you should not have a problem spending a few bucks per month purchasing extra space and bandwidth for your business.

The last thing you will want to look for are promotion perks such as search engine credit. While not necessary to have, they are nice to get. Look for credit for Google Adwords, MSN Adcenter, and Yahoo credit with the hosting plan. Having this credit means instant exposure for your business and may jump-start your business by grabbing a few extra clients. Just remember that these Perks are not as important as the actual hosting features and should be considered a side benefit.

When purchasing hosting for a graphic design site, several factors come into play. In this article we have looked at several of the major needs and discussed how to find a host that has these things that are necessary for a graphic design business. Remember that uptime and technical support are the most important and everything else must come after that. If you follow these guidelines, you are sure to find a host that you will like.

Hosting Articles Site and Directories

Websites about the latest news happenings featuring in-depth articles on hot topics are one kind of site that gains popularity quickly and keeps people coming back to the same site over and over again. These sites can be made by someone writing their own articles or can be a compilation of articles from the internet’s largest article sites.

However, finding the correct hosting company to host these types of sites is not easy to do. When looking for article site hosting you must ask about CPU/RAM restrictions, technical support, space/bandwidth quantities, and the if certain programs are allowed to be installed on the server.

Most of these issues in this article are valid for shared hosting, reseller hosting, and semi-dedicated hosting accounts as much of the content has to do with resource usage. These restrictions generally do not apply for VPS(virtual private hosting) or Dedicated servers because you are not fighting with other customers for server resources. However, this does not mean that these are not issues on these platforms as you will still have resource limitations. It just means your account won’t get suspended for over-usage and you can always upgrade your hardware on VPS or dedicated accounts.

The first thing on a shared account you will want to look for is the amount or % of CPU/RAM you are allowed to use and what kind of servers your site is actually hosted on. Generally you’ll want to go for a host that is hosting their shared accounts on quad-core servers with at least 4GB DDR per server. This ensures that there is plenty of burst room for CPU/RAM usage and that the server can survive a sudden peak in traffic. You’ll also want to ask about client-to-server ratio and find a host that has a low ratio of clients per server so you are not stuffed on an overcrowded server with thousands of other clients. Hosts that have 200 accounts or less per server are generally better than the average host who packs 500 or more per server. However many clients per server a shared hosting company has, they will always have limitations on the maximum amount of CPU/RAM you can use as all the accounts are sharing the same pool of server resources. This maximum amount is usually stated in the fine print(that most people neglect to read). Look for a solid number if the Terms of Service agreement and if one cannot be found, directly ask the sales staff or the technical support yourself about this usage allowance to at least get a rough idea of how much CPU/RAM power you are allowed to use. Since the scripts that run tutorial sites always use an SQL database(usually mySQL), you also need to ask how many database connections can one account have open at once. This is a very important factor as it will limit how many visitors can be on your site at once. If you go over this limit, your account may be suspended or it may slow to a crawl for users over this limit who are trying to access your site. You also need to ask about how the host handles users who go over the resource limit.

Hosts have varying ways to deal with such users from suspending their account immediately without notice to notifying you several times and disabling parts of your site that are causing the problem instead of taking it down entirely. Finding a host on the more lenient side of these measures will save you a lot of downtime. You’ll also want to ask if the host you are interested in has optimizations such as Zend Optimizer and server caching in place as these will reduce the % of CPU/RAM power if takes to perform code executions and queries.

The second thing that you should look into when looking for a host is the quality of their technical support staff. Many article sites are running spiders to grab the latest articles and headlines from around the web and these programs often cause server issues that need technical support to resolve. When your account gets suspended or is slow because of such issues, you will need prompt technical support to tell you what is wrong and work with you to resolve the script that is causing the problem. You can also need technical support to set up cycle limits on certain code executions so that one part of your script does not go into an infinite loop and crash the entire server. With article sites, you may also need technical support staff to change certain folder permissions for uploading specific types of content. To get an idea of how good the technical support staff is at a hosting company, you need to go to large web hosting forums such as webhostingtalk.com and ask the thousands of members there about their experiences with the said host. Forum members are the best people to tell you what to expect from the technical support staff of a hosting company. You can also check web hosting review sites but be aware that much of the information on these sites is biased as many of these sites are owned by web hosting companies themselves.

Space and Bandwidth is another factor you will want to look at before buying into a host. For most article sites, this should not be a problem as most articles consist of just text files. However, if you are hosting the full content of all your articles and they include large pictures, audio clips, large flash files, or video clips, you may run into a bandwidth problem. If you are hosting a multi-media article site, you will need to calculate the average size of your multimedia per page, multiply that by the number of daily page-views you expect to get and then multiply by thirty to get the total monthly bandwidth usage. Your actual usage will probably be somewhat less than this due to things like server caching. You’ll want to buy a plan with at least 30% more bandwidth than your calculation to allow for expansion and so you don’t have to pay emergency overage fees.

One last thing you should check with your host before buying is what kind of scripts they actually allow. This mostly applies to article sites that run spiders to grab the latest articles from major online sites. Spiders take a lot of CPU/RAM power to use and many shared hosts simply do not allow such programs because it puts the entire server at risk. If you are not sure if this is allowed or not, do not attempt to use such a script as you risk a high chance of your account being suspended without refund.

Now that we’ve looked at the many factors of article site hosting, I would like to recommend a few hosting companies that you may be interested in for starting your article site.

1. Stonerocket– This is a free host that I can recommend because of their reputation for support and free hosting quality. They offer PHP/MYSQL and are subsidized by their paid hosting counterpart which means that they have the money to fund the operation and that you can easily upgrade into one of their paid plans. Their uptime promise on free accounts is not good compared to paid hosting but is far more reliable than most free hosts. This is not a bad starting point.

2. Medialayer– Media Layer is one I always recommend for people looking for serious PHP application hosting. Their hosting plans are expensive but well worth the price for the quality you get. They have great uptime and awesome technical support. If you are running script that takes a large amount of CPU/RAM power, you should look here for the answer as this host has many optimizations in place to resolve those issues.

3. Pair Networks– Pair networks is another one of the premium hosts that is often recommended by people because of their superior support and quality. They have many levels of shared hosting so you can start small and upgrade as you grow. They have a network with premium quality bandwidth and their hosting platforms are well suited for intensive application hosting. Their prices are also a bit cheaper than most other application hosts so if you are looking to save a few bucks, this might be the place for you.

These are three hosts that I can recommend for hosting article sites. All three are well-known for good technical support, time, and reliability. All three have upgrade paths that you can follow. Remember to start small and upgrade as you grow and track your resource usage carefully as these are the basic duties of the responsible webmaster.

Hostgator Knowledgebase

The Hostgator knowledgebase section is an extensive, comprehensive and an all-inclusive source of gathering all information and knowledge related to HostGatorand its services. Here users will find answers to all their queries and issues; be it pre-sales, billing or support needs.

The knowledgebase has a very clear syntax and all topics are well arranged in systematic categories, so users find it easy to navigate through the knowledgebase and resolve their issues or queries quickly. The navigation bar besides the text also allows the users to search on specific topics in case they need to refine their search or find something more topic specific. The main categories include:Windows hosting, Linux Hosting, Pre-Sales Hosting, Billing, DNS Questions, Domain Names, Site Studio and Abuse. Ranging from basic queries to more complex issues and questions, under the knowledgebase section, users will be able to find and resolve their queries instantly. Almost 99% of information and HostGator related knowledge is found under this section. Its knowledgebase is a highly valuable resource for both members and first time visitors.

Furthermore, it also features tutorials with step by step movies on how to do various tasks related to the HostGator account. The Windows hosting category comprises of control panel, FTP, SSL and E-mail related information. Many “How Do I” topics are also mentioned under this category making it highly comprehensive.

Similarly, the Linux hosting category constitutes control panel related information, FTP, SSL, E-mail, resellers, FrontPage and many more related subcategories. Most of the sections are formatted in an FAQ style and with clearly stated categories and sub categories; the user finds it easy to navigate through the knowledgebase.

Hostgator Control Panel

Hostgator offers one of the most advanced and latest control panels called the cPanel. The cPanel is offered with almost every plan and is extremely flexible, utilizable and feature rich. With this hosting control panel, it is possible for users to monitor the amount of bandwidth used, space used; create e-mail addresses, sub domains, MySql databases, and much more instantly.

Other control panel features include Fantastico Deluxe, Soholaunch, Hotlink Protection, IP Deny manager and much more. With the Fantastico Deluxe it is possible for the user and their customers to install over 50 scripts almost instantly. These include Blogs, Portals/CMS, and Customer Support, desks,forums, shopping carts, Image Galleries, Mailing Lists and more. The Soholaunch Pro Edition is a website creation software made for people of all experience levels. The Hotlink Protection feature protects the bandwidth from being stolen when hotlinking takes place. With the IP Deny Manager, it is possible for the user to block any IP or visitor from visiting your website. The “Custom Error Pages” feature allows the user to make a custom error page for anyone who visits a not existent page of your site.

With the cPanel it is also possible to create instant blogs, portals, PHPnnuke, Forums, Guestbook, counter and FormMail. The following blogs can be installed with just a few clicks: b2, b2evolution, Nucleus, pMachine Free and WordPress. Simmilarly, users may install forums with a few mouse clicks. Users will be able to install phpbb, Invision, and Yabbse almost instantly. With the instant guestbook feature, friends can ether sign or leave messages. With the instant counter icon, users can easily install a counter for their websites. A PHPnuke site can also be created with a just a few clicks. With the Formmail it is possible to get all the info by email. The URL direct feature is used if the user wants to redirect pages of their site to any URL they prefer. Users may also upload their files directly from the control panel via the File Manager. This feature can be accessed after having logged into the cPanel account and then clicking on File Manager icon. The directories are secure and protected with passwords. Passwords protect a directory and nobody can view its contents without a password. All HostGator accounts also come with phpMyAdmin preinstalled. PhpMyAdmin allows for easy management of the databases. The control panel is available for demo at the HostGator website and the login info for demo versions is also displayed. It is recommended to view the cPanel demo in its entirety in order get a better feel of the area. It also helps the user in familiarizing themselves with its features and sub features, so they know exactly how to go about controlling and managing their account. Consider this area as the cockpit of an aircraft where the user gets to monitor and view various vital aspects of their account like bandwidth, creation of email addresses, sub domains, MySQL databases, space used and much more.

Godaddy Super Reseller Plan

The super reseller plan is the most advanced plan offered under the GoDaddy reseller plan category. The Super Reseller plan is priced at $229 per year and just like all the other reseller plans, this too does not require any deposits, renewals or revenue sharing. The reseller can expect his/her storefront to be live and active within a matter of minutes. The super reseller plan has the best buy rates in the industry as well as enables the reseller to create multiple revenue streams. Further, as a super reseller, the user is entitled to sell the basic and pro reseller plan as well. 24/7 product support is offered to the website customers with automated billing and renewals for over 50 products.

A complete turnkey website is offered which includes shopping cart and credit card processing features. Resellers get to earn pay-per-click commission on the parked domains of customers. Besides this; email marketing and press release templates are also offered coupled with blogs, forums, podcasts and live chatfeatures. Godaddy offers an optional feature of email marketing wherein the mails are designed and mailed by GoDaddy. Resellers may even track their advertising campaigns with the built-in tracking feature. Furthermore, Google Ad Words credit worth $125 and Microsoft ad Center Credit worth $200 is offered to the Pro Resellers.

A highly lucrative $560 worth of software and extras are offered completely free of cost. These free tools comprise of the traffic blazer, express email marketing tool, website tonight, SSL certificate, online file folder, online profit and activity reporting, marketing promotions to increase website profits, Quick Start marketing guide and resellers handbook and much more. The plan comes with a 30 day money back guarantee in case the reseller decides to deactivate his/her reseller account within 30 days of subscribing to it. The Traffic Blazer enables the reseller to analyze, prepare and submit the web pages to popular search engineslike Google, Yahoo!, and MSN etc. With the Express email marketing tool; resellers can maintain contact with customers while adhering to spam free regulations. The SSL certificate is a proven way to reassure your customers that any transaction with the site is 256-bit encrypted and secure. The online file folder tool gives complete access to the reseller to all the essential files and even enables the synchronization of the files with the computer. Moreover, resellers can track their sales and earnings, domain names registrations, pending transfers and much more. This is achieved by the online profit and activity reporting tool.

The highly useful handbook and guide comes packed with practical tips and advice on promoting the reseller website. 24/7 support is offered by telephone and email and GoDaddy takes pride in its highly talented and dedicated trained staff who are prompt and efficient in resolving any queries and issues related to the GoDaddy accounts. It is however important to take note of the fact that the Microsoft Ad Center credit is only applicable to residents of the 50 United States and Washington D.C.

Godaddy Pro Reseller Plan

The Pro Reseller Plan is the second level reseller plan offered by Godaddy and is known to have the best buy rates in the industry. Like all other reseller plans; the pro reseller plan too does not require any deposits, revenues or advances and comes with 24/7 product support for the customers. The ProReseller plan is priced at $199 per year and the reseller gets to earn pay-per-click commission on customers parked domains. The reseller can have his/her storefront live in just a matter of minutes.

Furthermore, it features automatic billing and renewals for over 50 products.Resellers get a complete turnkey website which includes shopping carts and credit card processing features as well. Resellers additionally get access to email marketing and press release templates. An optional feature of marketing emails which are designed and mailed by GoDaddy are also offered under this plan category. This feature is optional and be accessed only if preferred by the reseller. Besides this, blogs, forums, podcast and live chat are also offered. The reseller is able to access and track the built-in advertising campaign. Moreover, a Google AdWords Credit worth $75 and Microsoft AdCenter Credit worth $100 is also provided to the Pro Resellers.

Bonus software and extras worth $360 is offered completely free of cost. This includes the free tools like the traffic blazer, free express email marketing, Website Tonight, SSL certificate, Online File Folder, online profit and activity reports, marketing promotions in order to enhance profitability, Quick Start marketing guide and reseller handbook. Moreover, the plan comes with a 30 day money back guarantee in case the reseller is not satisfied with the features and services offered or wants to close his/her account for other reasons. With GoDaddy’s exclusive design wizard the reseller is able to design and customize text, graphics and links and wield control over many other features. The Traffic Blazer tool enables the users to analyze, prepare and optimize their websites to key search engines. With the Express marketing tool, resellers can contact customers in a spam-free and legal mode. The SSL secure certificate assures that the customers get safe transactions with the site which is 256-bit encrypted and secure. The Online File Folder gives access to all the essential files and even lets the user synchronize files on the computer.

Resellers can even track their sales and earnings, domain names registrations, pending transfers and much more with the online profit and activity reporting tool. The handbook and guide is a valuable storehouse of informational tips and advice on promoting the reseller website. 24/7 support is also offered both by telephone and email.

Resellers can expect a response by email within one hour of submitting a query or resolve any issues. The Microsoft Ad Center credit is only good for residents in the 50 Unites States and Washington D.C. The reseller can be assured of quality services in terms of promptness, support and courtesy as well as a distinct price advantage and powerful features.

GoDaddy Hosting Premium Plan

The Premium plan offered by Godaddy is the third level and the most advanced plan package for website hosting. It comes packed with an all-inclusive feature list and highly utilizable powerful tools, and is ideal for users who are looking for a more comprehensive and powerful package.

For a one month period, the plan is priced at $14.99 per month. For 12, 24 and 36 month period, the plans are priced at $13.49, $11.99 and $10.49 per month respectively. The SSL certificate worth 19.99$ value is offered free of cost under this plan. 200 GB of disk space is offered to the premium customers and 2,000GB of monthly data transfer is allowed. Besides, up to 2000 email accounts and 50 MySQL databases are allowed to the premium clients. Furthermore, customers get the benefit of hosting multiple web sites within a single hosting account, sharing the same disk space and bandwidth quotas.

Besides, Premium plan offers unlimited email forwards, $25 Google AdWords credit and $50 Microsoft AdCenter credit. Forums, blogging and photos are other additional features that can be accessed with the premium account. 1 FTP user is allowed and the other essential email features include web mail, greeting cards, forwarding, auto responders, catch-all email address, spam and virus protection as well as email privacy and protection with 256 bit encryption.
The database features include MySQL database backup and restore, MS SQL database backup and restore and MS access. Besides this unlimited external domains, sub domains and multiple web sites are also offered. DNA management are also provided.

The general feature list comprises of site stats, firewall protection, 24×7 phone and email support and file manager tool. Language support I offered in terms of Frontpage server ext., ASP, ASP.NET, ASP.NET AJAX and ColdFusion. ColdFusion feature is priced at $1.99 per month. Few pre installed applications like MS IE Web Controls, WSE 2.0, ASPUpload 3.0, ASPJPEG 1.4, GUIDMaker and ASPCrypt are offered free of cost. Other free add-on applications include Community Server 2.0, DotNetNuke 4.0, YetAnotherForum, Mochila, Simply Hired, ASP.NET 2.0 Personal Web site Starter Kit, ASP.NET 2.0 Club Site Starter Kit and ASP.NET 2.0 Time Tracker starter kit.

Premium customers just like other the other two lower levels plans get access to GoDaddy’s exclusive hosting connection. Some of the most advanced hostingapplications and utilities are offered under their plans which helps the website make the right impact as well facilitates quick and easy installations. The hosting connection also enables GoDaddy customers to interact with their fellow hosting customers and share their views, opinions and ideas. They additionally get access to administration tools, advertising tools, blogs, E-Commerce solutions likeosCommerce and Zen Cart, content management tools, forums, image galleries, website add-ons, Wikis and much more. While certain applications are paid for, certain applications are operating system specific as well. The promotional advertising credit offered under all plans is good only to residents in the 50 United States and Washington D.C. The website also gives the users an overview of the comparison chart of all the plans for the customers to make a judicious decision.