Affordable Website Hosting - What This Means in 2007
Author: Robert Darrell

Is your web host giving you a raw deal?

I remember the first web hosting package I signed up for must have been the worst deal on the planet. 25 MB disk space, 300 MB bandwidth, no CGI-BIN, no Perl scripting, no PHP, no MySQL and, of course, only one domain was permitted to be hosted on my account. If I wanted to host more domains, I had to pay another $20 a month (yeah that's right I was paying 20 bucks a month for that mess).

Pitiful eh?

Fortunately, a high traffic website linked to mine which sent my bandwidth bumping into the ceiling and started to wise me up as to exactly what a competitive web hosting package should consist of. The clincher was when I attempted to run some server side includes files on a few of my web pages and, when that failed (of course), I called up my web host's technical support and asked if SSI was enabled on my account. When my web host replied, "What's SSI?" I finally clued in that I was set up in the wrong digs and ran like the wind to find another web host.

At this point I decided to do my homework and nose out exactly what was the reference standard in a good web hosting package in those days (several years back). I figured webmaster forums would be the ideal place to start. So I logged in, made a few posts and --after getting laughed off the page over what a steaming pile of crap my current web host was offering me-- I was advised as to how much bang I should really be getting for my buck.

That was then and this is now and actually web hosting deals have changed a lot over the past few years. Nowadays in 2007, affordable website hosting means that you can veritably run a small empire online for less than $10 a month.

If you're looking for web hosting, this is how much bang you should get for your buck:

Hundreds of gigabytes (not megabytes) of disk space

Bandwidth allotment in the terabytes (1 terabyte = 1000 gigabytes)

Unlimited subdomains

Unlimited email accounts

Scripting support up the wazoo including Perl, PHP, SSI, Python and Ruby on Rails

Installable shopping cart solutions

Auto script installers (allowing easy setup for blogs, forums, etc)

A variety of web stats programs

Multiple domain hosting on the same account (at the very least you should be able to host half a dozen domains on the same account and you should not be charged extra for this)

Competent, courteous and highly accessible technical support including free phone support, an email support ticket system and a user forum

This is the new reference standard in web hosting these days. If the deal you're currently considering is not offering you all that (and more) then you're getting burned. Find another web host. Period.

Robert Darrell is the webmaster of Iron Spider Web Design where he provides tutorials on HTML, CSS and web development related topics including What is Web Hosting? and Best Free Web Hosting.