Hosting Guide Lines:

In order to provide a solid foundation for the understanding of hosting services. CottonTail Hosting has provided the following information. Information we feel is necessary to make an informed hosting decision.......... Let's shelve the sales pitch for a minute.

In this first section, we discuss the state of hosting services in the marketplace. It's a bit crazy and a little out of control, making hosting decisions a challenge at best and difficult at worst.

The starting point for making an informed hosting decision is the T.O.S (terms of service). A great rule of thumb here is if it runs to 90 pages and you can't read it, don't buy it!

Just look at your credit card terms of agreement; they never seem to end, are always changing and the terms rarely benefit you, they benefit the banks. The same thing goes for the host that has an on-going, seemingly never-ending Terms Of Service agreement.

Next, please remember, you get what you pay for. I have to say that I have never seen a free hosting service make a go of it, or were even worth the trouble.

Hosting resources have fixed costs that must be paid for; if you are truly committed to your online endeavor, pay your share, this is not a place where you can or should cut corners or economize.

Most of the cost of your hosting package is now dedicated to tech support, the technicians that keep the servers going and those who are there to answer your technical questions, not in bandwidth or storage. It only stands to reason that the less you spend on your hosting services, the less money the hosting company will have to support these services, and are a factor in slowing support response times.

If you are hosted at a free hosting services site and they go down, you are going to get caught in the gears of that machine. How are you going to get your files to your website back ? How are you going to get your databases back? Who is going to move it to a new host? And what will happen to your domain name? No Name; No Site !!!

Trust us on this, we believe it will be well worth it to you, to pay $10.00 or so a month to avoid this mess! At CottonTail Hosting we are focused on providing a professional level of service. We could compete to the last dollar, however I would prefer to avoid the “your site will be down for a day or two while we wait on a new hard drive” conversation with one of my customers, and I do not want to ask one of my staff to do this either. We are not interested in overselling our products by offering more than we can provide.

Hosting services come down to six major areas:

  • Domain Names
  • Bandwidth
  • Disk Storage
  • Software Packages
  • E-Mail Services
  • Technical Support

Bandwidth:

Bandwidth refers to the amount of network usage you are allowed per month. If you have a 10 MB file, then each person who views or downloads that file consumes 10 MB of bandwidth. If the file is viewed 100 times, that's 1,000 MB of bandwidth or right at 1GB. Some hosting sites are offering TB's (Terrabytes, or 1,000 GB). It is our opinion that it is physically impossible to achieve anywhere near that amount of traffic on a shared hosting package.

Sites getting a few hundred visitors per month will never use even 1 GB of bandwidth in a month. If your site is popular and media-rich you may need 10-20 GB or more. Sites using more than 100 GB of bandwidth will almost certainly require a VPS (Virtual Private Server) solution, if not a dedicated server, even if the hosting package offers 500 GB or more.

Bandwidth has two limiting factors - network speed, and CPU usage. A server has physical limitations to how fast it can "talk" to the network, and how fast it can access or generate the web pages. It is literally impossible to use the bandwidth that some hosts offer to their clients.

Disk Storage:

Disk Space refers to the amount of storage space you are allowed to use on the web server. Your website, email storage, backup files and sometimes databases all consume a portion of your allocated space. Previously advertised in MB (Megabytes or million bytes) it is now often offered in GB (Gigabytes, equal to 1,000 megabytes). So 1 GB is equal to 1,000 MB.

The average website uses far less than what many hosts are offering right now - even 100 MB is enough for most large websites that don't have a lot of music and video content. Even with broadband, that allows for enough content for a typical visitor to spend hours or even days on your site without repeating content. A hosting package with 5 GB of space, means that less than 5% of people will use even 1/10th of it. Take your time and figure out how much you need, double it and choose accordingly. 300 MB will be plenty for 95% of new websites for a long time, and you can always upgrade later.

A Word About Unlimited Web Hosting: When is Unlimited not really Unlimited ?

The best line I've ever heard in this business concerns unlimited services. “If unlimited web hosting really means unlimited, why doesn't Google, Yahoo, or Microsoft sign up for a $3.96 “unlimited hosting plan” ?

All hosts have “ Hard Limits”. Network equipment, servers, hard drives, cpu's, data lines, and fiber optic cables are expensive and all have a limited capacity.

Unlimited or unmetered bandwidth and disk space is a myth. Most hosts will shut down sites for excessive CPU usage before they use their available bandwidth. As soon as the host is losing money on your site, they will have no reason to keep you, and as an end result you will be offline in minutes, guaranteed.

So be judicious in the allocation of your online resources. Pay attention to what is going on with your sites. If you watch your music and video content and you keep your file system clear of compressed software packages and back-ups, you should be OK with your bandwidth and disk storage.

So why purchase hosting packages with larger allocation of resources? Simple, it gives you the flexibility of knowing that if you do approach reasonable limits, that your host will not bounce you to the curb without warning and should buy you enough time to organize your move to "VPS" or “dedicated”. That is definitely worth the extra dollars and will be one of the best investments you will ever make in your online efforts.

Domain Names:

As stated before, no name; no site ! Your hosting service should provide an economical means to register and renew your domain names. You need to lose the host that charges $35.00 a year for a .com domain name. No one should mind paying their way. However being exploited is another thing.

Your host should also provide you the means to manage your names in an easy and concise way; all on one page if possible, and should not hinder your efforts to move your names either to another account, or to another host.

E-Mail Services:

You have to have solid e-mail services if you are going to make a go of it on the web, and next to domain name management, e-mail accounts must have a clear management system. If possible all on one page. I really like the idea of seeing 20 or 30 e-mail accounts on one page with clear and easy access to mx record management.

Technical Support:

When you speak of hosting services you are really talking who offers the best technical support. Most all hosts can provide you a server, however it is the technical support that makes a difference in your hosting experience. I remember that when I first started out, I had a database break in one of my websites that I spent an hour an a half working on. I just could not break through to the other side on this issue ....... finally I had to approach tech support to see if they could possibly help with this issue, after three minutes of looking at the site, up she went. Man what wizards ......... "what happened I asked"? "You had the database name misspelled", came the replay ! Oh man ...........One too many hours behind the keyboard ! However, just having access to solid tech support provided me the edge that I needed that day.

I hope that by providing these guidelines that you have gained an insight into what you should be looking for in a hosting service, especially if you are new to hosting services.

Now here comes the sales pitch! Select one of hosting packages below that best supports your needs and register with CottonTail Hosting today. We will make sure that we do all that is possible to insure you of a positive hosting experience and may all your websites prove profitable.

Basic

For The Beginner
$4.95 /Per month

Our Basic Package Give's The Beginner A Great Start!

  • 100 MB Storage
  • 10 GB Bandwidth
  • cPanel Admin Panel
  • 24/7 On-Line Support
  • Unlimited E-Mail
  • 99.95% Uptime

Personal

For Several Sites
$8.95 /Per month

For Those That Want To Try Their Hand At Several Sites!

  • 300 MB Storage
  • 30 GB Bandwidth
  • cPanel Admin Panel
  • 24/7 On-Line Support
  • Unlimited E-Mail
  • 99.95% Uptime

Business

For Many Sites
$10.95 /Per month

For Those That Wish To Host A Large Collection Of Sites!

  • 500 MB Storage
  • 50 GB Bandwidth
  • cPanel Admin Panel
  • 24/7 On-Line Support
  • Unlimited E-Mail
  • 99.95% Uptime

Advanced

For Small Business
$12.95 /Per month

For Small Business Needing Solid Resources To Grow!

  • 1000 MB Storage
  • 100 GB Bandwidth
  • cPanel Admin Panel
  • 24/7 On-Line Support
  • Unlimited E-Mail
  • 99.95% Uptime