1. Don’t go strictly on price. The top selling webhosting companies are the cheapest, and the are also the worst. Don’t touch Godaddy or 1&1 Internet with a 10 foot pole!
2. Don’t use “Web Hosting Review” sites. They make their money by signing you up with the companies they push. These companies are usually bad.
3. Don’t get caught up in the side by side feature comparison. Find out what you need, but don’t try to get the best bang for your buck. A bargain can turn into a nightmare if you hook up with the wrong company.
1. Ask your web developer or designer for recommendations, unless they are getting a cut. Do some research to find out if there is an affiliation between them and the company they are recommending, or just ask.
2. Search for problems or complaints connected with the web host, especially where customer service or technical issues are concerned.
3. Search Webmaster forums for recommendations, or post to a forum asking for a recommendation. You will usually get detailed responses based upon experience.
The vast majority of webhosting companies that are selling space on shared servers are HORRIBLE. You really need to do your homework, especially if your staking your business on your website.
I’m currently testing out some open source social networking web applications that compare to Myspace. The most promising at the moment seems to be Elgg (don’t ask me what it means). AroundMe looks good too, but I read a comment on their blog that it wasn’t quite ready yet.
Elgg is a little more difficult to install than other open source applications out there. That is, if you are installing it on a shared hosting account. There are two obstacles you will need to overcome. First of all .htaccess is probably not enabled for your account, and when the Elgg .htaccess starts trying to do things, your server will choke with a 500 Server Error. So you need to have your hosting support person enable .htaccess for the directories you will install Elgg in.
That’s not all though. My host (hostmysite.com) didn’t like the following in the Elgg .htaccess file:
These are mod_rewrite directives. They had me comment them out and added the statements to their own special configuration file. My current .htaccess just has the Rewrite rules listed.
I found a lot of posts from people looking for installation support for this issue, and what a lot of the well intentioned developers trying to help didn’t understand (or didn’t communicate) is that these seemingly simple settings can become complex on shared hosts. For security, processes can be disabled, or configuration can be more complex than if you own your own box.
Hopefully this helps anyone having 500 server errors when installing Elgg on a shared host.
Check out my Elgg installation at Fan Club Helper
The last couple of years has seen an explosion of the use of video on the Web. The catalyst for this has been Youtube. With a free Youtube account you can upload video from a wide variety of formats. Youtube converts the video to a flash file format for you, hosts your video, and promotes it. All for free.
I believe the key to the success of Youtube, and the key to the success of any implementation of video on the Web, is the Flash file format. Compared to the wide variety of media players, video file formats, and codecs you have to take into consideration when using any other implementation, Flash is as close to universally playable as you can get. No need to have different versions of each page for real player or quicktime or windows media player. No need to worry about the users patience in downloading a codec for your mp4 file format. Easy.
So if you are going to putting video on your Website, there’s no question in my mind, you have to go with Flash.