When choosing a web hosting provider, you need to make sure you get the right email options, as well as support for existing domain names.
Whether you want to promote a local Karate Club, flaunt your photography skills or raise the profile of your business, you’ll need a place to store your website online so visitors can access it.

A web hosting provider gives you this, plus email facilities and a unique domain name. It doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult to set up an account either.

web hostingBuying a unique domain name means that you can get your own personalised email address, such as jim@jimsplumbing.com.au . This is preferable for businesses as it means that if you change your internet service provider your email address will not change.
One option for email is to buy a domain name without web hosting. You should  get email forwarding where, for example, you could have all emails that are sent to jim@jimsplumbing.com.au forwarded to say jim3576@bigpond.com. Should you change ISP’s, you can simply just change the email address where the emails are being forwarded to. This way, all of your contacts email the same email address every time they contact you regardless of who your ISP is.
However it may look as though the emails you send are coming from your ISP’s email address. You can change this by altering the settings in your email program, but this doesn’t always work as some ISPs block emails sent through them that isn’t from one of their email addresses.

Another option is to upgrade your domain name to a web hosting package that provides email but no web hosting. For around $15-20 per year you will get enough email addresses for your business or family, your own email server and storage space for emails. They can be accessed through web mail (similar to gmail or Hotmail), and if you change your ISP you wont have to make any changes to your emails.
The best package is a full hosting package which will include emails and total control over your website.

Hosting Packages offer a set amount of storage and bandwidth limit – the amount of data that can be downloaded from your site – for a monthly fee as low as $4.95.
The more features you require the more expensive the hosting can become, however there should not be any need to pay over $20-$35 per month. Even if you need a secure site for an e-commerce online store.

One important decision you will need to make is whether to opt for Linux or Windows based servers. This will be influenced by your choice of web design application or scripting language, and the advanced features you want. If you want a dynamic site that creates web pages on demand, you need a combination of a scripting language and a database. The most popular combination is MySQL for the database, which holds the content, and the PHP scripting language, which extracts content from the database. You can use a database for many things, such as a chat forum, or a content management system. Each function usually needs its own database, so plan your needs from the outset and choose a package with sufficient databases.

Reliability is also important, as you don’t want your site to disappear for days on end. Look for a providers guaranteed uptime which tells you a percentage of time the server remains accessible online. Even an uptime of 99.9% could mean your site is inaccessible for 40 minutes every month. It may be worth paying for this level of uptime if you earn money from your website.

For more information on web hosting, contact the experts at Redback Web Solutions. Ph: 1300 768 100

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