|created: 12.29.2007||updated: 04.26.2009||
You have a most uniquely designed website about the most wonderful product you have innovated! But a product is a product when people are willing to pay for it – otherwise it's a museum piece. You can't blame the people; they must know that you have this ‘magic lamp of Aladdin’ up your sleeve. The only way to increase sales is to reach as many people as you can with your message. And what best medium is there to reach the audience than internet.
This is the relevance of web hosting, rather, its more refined sibling, multimedia hosting. You need to upload your website on the internet, but there must somebody to provide the space where your file will reside. Multimedia hosting companies provide you the much required space and of course connectivity so that netizens may visit your site and can get in touch with you. For that you need your website to be always available, don’t you? I mean, you don’t want your visitors to be greeted with that icy cold message ‘Internet Explorer cannot display the webpage.’
So you must choose a host who guarantees 99.9% uptime. But be careful before you sign on the dotted line. There will always be server restarts and emergency maintenance in hosting environment. And another catch in their claim is they may refer only to server being powered on and not factor in the network downtime. Real downtime may be substantially more than the percentage claimed by the hosting company. So, don’t forget to include a downtime indemnity clause in the contract.
You must bargain for maximum web space. Search for the best alternative but don’t plonk for the cheapest, you might end up with acres of space but an agonizingly high downtime.
The other issue to be tackled is bandwidth. It signifies how fast your visitors can access your files. In web hosting; bandwidth is consumed every time contact is made to your website. Find out whether the hosting company is still relying on T1 or T3 connections or has updated to OC1. It would be fantastic if they have OC3 or OC12 lines. Some hosting companies also have OC48 connections to the internet backbone.
You want your website to represent you and do your job while maybe you’re enjoying a round of golf. So, it must interactive and must be able to receive and send emails and be empowered for a live chat or, in the least, be capable of providing an instant feedback to any query by a prospective customer. This interactivity with visitors increases the potential of your website.
For this you need to make use of all the latest features of multimedia hosting. The different attractive formats will allow you to approach prospective clients on their phones and pocket PCs also. Your visitors can even take advantage of streaming your audio and video files in their computers instead of having to download them. A very interesting benefit of streaming facility is copyright is never infringed since the files are played on the server and are not transferred on the users’ computers.
So those who want to promote their latest music albums or movies can put in as much content as they like and need not worry about the visitor retaining a copy. But remember, true streaming is possible only through Windows Media Services or Real Networks’ Helix server. You may try to camouflage your files in an .asx .wmx or .ram metafile, but unless it’s being delivered by a streaming media server, the site visitor is downloading the media and can retain a copy. So, be doubly sure before you upload your full contents.
Data streaming works by creating a small buffer space in the user’s computer. Data is continuously downloaded into that buffer. As soon as the buffer is full (it takes 15 – 30 seconds) the file starts to play and as the data gets used up more data is downloaded in the buffer. The file will play smoothly only if data consumption and inflow match each other. It is obvious that a user with a faster connection will enjoy the contents better than a user with a dial-up connection. Streaming files must be created in such a way that they play within a bandwidth that matches the viewer's connection speed. Otherwise the advantage will be lost.
You must also confirm whether your host allows unlimited traffic else your site may not be viewable by those who come late. Some multimedia hosting companies also provide very useful PHP modules free of charge. These will be very handy if you want to add a blog, MYSQL database, or other PHP feature to your site.
Make an informed decision before you choose the multimedia hosting company to reap handsome profits.