Choosing a Web host for your vBulletin Forum
Choosing a host for your vBulletin forum can be a daunting task. Most hosts seem reliable, honest and high quality. But often, this isnt the case. Many hosts that started out to be great hosts, oversell their shared servers, and service quality diminishes, leaving you stuck with unreliable service and most likely searching for a new host.
A little about Web Hosting in General
In today’s Internet enriched business world, the choice of a Web Hosting Provider can make or break a company. Whether you are choosing a Web Host for an e-commerce site, for sharing corporate data with your investors, or are just making a personal web page, the decision is critical. Although the price and value of your web hosting package are high considerations, never overlook the intangibles like good service or quality web connections. Use the following strategies to help guide you in your decision.
Below we have put together a list of hosting companies which have recent favorable reviews from other forum owners to help you with your vBulletin hosting choices.
Recommended Web Hosting Companies
All hosting companies are not the same. Some hosting companies are unable or unwilling to run vBulletin forums on their servers efficiently.
Below are hosts that we have found to be able to run vBulletin efficiently and economically.
To the new forum owner, many questions arise. How much bandwidth do I need? How much storage space?
A few quick numbers. Usually 10-15 Gigabytes of storage and 50 gigabytes of bandwidth per month is plenty for most small to medium sized forums. This varies from forum to forum. For example, a forum where alot of images are posted by users, such as an automobile forum, will use more storage and bandwidth then a forum that doesnt have so many images posted, such as a poetry forum. As you see by the chart above, all of the hosting plans listed have more then enough storage and bandwith for most small – medium sized vBulletin forums.
A Question of Stability There is nothing worse than moving your Web sites from one host to another. A Web Hosting Provider’s stability is a very important factor. Try choosing a well-established Web Hosting Provider. Logistically, switching from one Web Hosting Provider to the next is not only a hassle (lost data and clients must tolerate downtime), but can also have a serious effect on your checkbook.
When looking for a stable provider check their background and make sure they don’t change company policies to meet the marketing whims. Also ask their clients and get their opinion on how stable the provider is. If you have any doubts about a provider’s stability, you should strongly consider choosing a different one. One good thing to do is read through the vBulletin Hosting Options Forum to see what other experiences vBulletin owners have had.
Pricing Web hosting is generally sold based on 2 factors. Bandwidth and Storage space. Various packages and combinations of these are available. For example:
Shared, Virtual or Dedicated
Hosting is generally sold as one of these three options. Which one you choose depends on the size of your forum and the size of your hosting budget.
Shared Hosting: Shared hosting is where a web host ownes the entire server, and then rents out many small pieces to different people. This is the most affordable way to go. However, this is generally the lowest performance option as well and many web hosts will not accept a large or busy vBulletin forum on a shared server. The reason being is that all the web sites on the server are competing for the server’s resources. Check to see how many sites the hosts places on a shared. Some put as many as 500 sites on a server, which can really cause your site to run slow and leave you susceptible to outages.
Virtual Private Server (VPS): This is basically a shared split into much fewer pieces, with one more difference. The software that hosts use literally divides the server resources up so that you are guaranteed your piece of those resources. Other sites on the server will affect you to a much lesser extent.
Dedicated Server: This is the highest performance, but also the most expensive. The server is yours and only your web site(s) are on the server so your not competing for server resources. However, you either have to know how to manage the server yourself or pay a company to manage it for you. Dedicated servers generally work one of 2 ways. Either you buy the server and pay for it being hosted, (This is called Co-Location) or you rent the server as well as paying for it being hosted. The main difference is if you buy it, you dont need to worry about the extra monthly rent. But, if something goes wrong then its your server to repair. If you rent, the company you are renting from repairs the server.
The Double-Edge Sword of Popularity
A Web Host’s popularity is often a double-edged sword. On the one hand, knowing who uses the Web Host for their own needs is a good indicator of the quality of service they provide. High profile clients are an indicator of the stability and quality of features the Web Host provides. However, the problem with this is, if the Web Host has too many clients it may provide slower service in the form of waiting on the phone for customer service or slower loading pages due to traffic constraints.
When it comes to technical support, there is no such thing, as enough. Look for at least 24-hour seven-day support. If available, make sure a knowledgeable technician is on call that understands your specific platform’s ins and outs. In the case of technical support, time is money. Therefore it cannot be emphasized enough how important a knowledgeable technical staff is. If you have a question, or your clientele has a question, you must have technical support that can answer it thoroughly and efficiently. When testing technical support the following questions you should be asking yourself are:
- How long does it take for them to answer your questions?
- Are the answers accurate?
- Do they answer their phone after hours?
- Do they answer their phone during work hours?
- How long does it take to answer email?
- Are they quick to give you excuses or real answers?
Look around. Before you pick a provider check with their clients and ask them if the provider’s technical staff is up to snuff.
Conclusion When searching for a good Web Hosting Provider there are many factors to consider. The main thing to remember is prioritize and make a personal needs list. Find those things you need the most and focus on them. Use Web Host Finder sites and search engines to sort out the types of web host plans you need. Examine the details of the plans and look for the features you would like, as well as those that you may need in the future. Choosing a Web Hosting Provider for a business page is often a ‘death do us part decision’ that is one of the most pivotal strategic selections a company wishing to establish and develop a Web presence can make. In other words, look around and learn as much about your Web Hosting Provider as possible before making a decision.
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