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Founded in 2002 and based in Austin, Texas, Hostgator has become a staple of the web hosting industry. They’ve become well known for affordable pricing along with great uptime and 24 x 7 support available by live chat, email and phone. For these reasons, many customers move to Hostgator and never leave. We like Hostgator for the same reasons. Although the company has recently changed hands, we aren’t aware of any adverse repercussions from this shift. They offer VPS along with shared, reseller and dedicated hosting. They even allow adult content.
The experienced webmaster should find working with Hostgator extremely straightforward. Novice ones will find a 24/7 support team ready to address their every concern. In our many years of doing business with them, we’ve experienced little to no downtime and nothing out of the ordinary. In our opinion, using HostGator is one less thing to worry about when running a business and for all of these reasons, we highly recommend them to you.
Even though you may have never heard of them, WestHost has been in business since 1998. Originally specializing in VPS hosting, they now offer a full range of hosting services to include shared, cloud and dedicated hosting. Their high tech datacenter and headquarters are located in Providence, Utah.
We used WestHost for several years back when they were young and fresh. For many years, they were both affordable and reliable. Then something changed, we experienced one uptime related issue after another until a week long hiatus finally prompted our decision to change webhosts. This happened about the same time they were bought by another larger company, UK2 hosting of the United Kingdom. We are aware of many other past and present customers with similar experiences. Since we personally have not used their services in a few years, it is possible they have sorted some or all of the issues by now. Unfortunately, the customer reviews say otherwise and for these reasons, we wouldn’t recommend WestHost even though their pricing structure and website are attractive.
DreamHost was started by a group of 4 entrepreneurs in 1997. Since, then it has grown to become one of the most well known and reputable hosting providers in existence. Based in San Diego, California, we found their support to be top notch on the rare occasion they needed to be contacted at all. Millions of happy customers past and present seem to agree.
Some shy away from DreamHost because it does have a bit of a steep price curve. Sometimes however, you get what you pay for and we believe this one of those cases. After all, piece of mind for a few extra dollars can be a very wise investment in the right circumstances.
MyHosting is a Canadian based company that has been in operation since 1997. They specialize in virtual private servers with their datacenter located in Toronto, Canada. Some of their perks include a 30-day money back guarantee and 24/7 expert support.
Some of the lesser known companies can be very “touch and go” and one must choose their webhost very carefully. We all start somewhere however, and we have always found our interactions with myHosting to be both pleasant and professional and they’ve grown to serve millions of websites with no end in sight because of it.
Well, the champagne corks have been popped, the parties attended and the food consumed to a massive degree. It’s 2014! In the ever-evolving web design industry, this means changes. That’s why we thought it would be interesting to take a look at some of the previously all-conquering web design features that we think might disappear during the upcoming year.
Though they’ve previously been almost ubiqiutous in the web design industry, it seems likely that the typically popular web design sliding banners (the ones that are especially common within WordPress) might well be downplayed in the upcoming year. Though they do have their benefits, many people still consider them to be a bit distracting, and they’re rapidly falling out of favour when compared to single-page scrolling and drop-down menus.
In-depth contact forms
The bid to discover more information about potential customer has meant that in the last few years, contact forms have become more and more detailed. However, it’s no surprise that many users dislike this, preferring instead to simply fill in their e-mail. The fact that this complication causes less people to fill it in simply means that website owners with real common sense are rapidly going back to the classic ‘name and e-mail address’ approach.
Circular script logos
At one point a few years ago, using a script font within a circle (whether outlined or filled in) was considered cooler than the Fonz. However, times change and it looks like this might be the year that this particular Fonzie finally jumps the shark. Though the approach still looks good, it’s become so over-used that it will likely disappear until everyone else has stopped using it. When it will probably come back! (Trends, eh?).
Fortunately, SEO more or less ended the idea of a website constructed in Flash. However, some pages still make use of the tactic in order to try and create that killer initial impression. Videos can look cool (there’s no point denying it). However, in 2014 a website that requires the user to wait whilst it shows off how cool the company in question is comes across are more annoying than anything else. Unless it’s used for games (and sometimes for online presentations), Flash has become a dead art that no self respecting business should go anywhere near. Users want to have total control over their browsing, and Flash simply hurts this.
These days, small businesses need to cut costs everywhere. Not paying too much for web hosting should be a no brainer. There is stiff competition in the web hosting marketplace and vendors will often try to outdo each other additional features and lower pricing of their hosting packages. Offers of unlimited bandwidth and disc space abound, but seldom manifest themselves as such in reality.
It is important for a small business to remember that there is much more to small business web hosting than cost and features alone. For instance, reliability is very important because if your website is not available, you aren’t making money to cover the cost of any web hosting subscription. If there is a data loss, a good host will have you back up and running within minutes. In contrast, one can easily locate and read many horror stories online regarding inferior web hosting with no disaster recovery plan, where years of the customers’ invaluable data has been permanently lost. With these facts in mind, cheaper does not always mean better. The time saved with an effective small business web host is priceless.
Fortunately, it is relatively easy to protect yourself from tragedy when it comes to choosing a webhost. Do your research on any hosting company you consider and ask colleagues what they might recommend. Stick with a reputable company and don’t buy hosting from some stranger online. Any potential savings will soon be overshadowed by inferior service and more trouble than it is worth. With a good host, you will be nearly able to forget about their operations once you get up and running.
It’s hard to believe it, but in just a couple of months it’ll be 2014. One of the keys to staying on top of your profession is ensuring that you are aware of the latest trends, and that’s even more the case when you working in a visual field such as Essex web design. Because of this, we’ve put together this list of some of the key trends we think are going to take over in 2014:
We believe that one of the keys to web design in 2014 is going to be ‘flat’ design, i.e. design that displays its 2D-ness loud and proud by avoiding any 3D effects such as drop-shadows and heavy textures. If it’s brash and flat, it should be a part of your portfolio in the new year!
This is quite a tricky technique to get right, but you can be sure that various fonts used in conjunction with each other on one site design will have the pages looking seriously cutting edge. There’s a definite plus to this trend: being able to vary the typography used gives any web designed a whole lot more room to be experimental with.
The advent of search engine optimisation and general digital marketing has meant that the last few years have been dominated by websites that spread across many different pages. However, it seems quite likely that single page sites will come back in vogue during the next year or so, with users instead able to scroll up and down one large page to view the different pieces of content contained on the site.
Huge background images
This one has already been making itself apparent across recent designs. The idea of one, very high-res image playing the part of the site’s background can be an extremely effective one. If the image itself is right, it can look genuinely stunning and clean-cut. It can be a genuine antidote to the multitude of wordpress-alike pages currently clogging up the web.
‘Responsive design’ has become another buzz-term within the last few months, and you can be sure that it’ll be on the tongues of more than one hip-designer next year.
Mobile traffic is accounting for more and more visitors, with tablets and smart-phones almost uniform amongst certain demographics. This means that it’s essential for any website being constructed in 2013 to be compatible with mobile devices.
There is much debate about whom offers the best web hosting services. With so many hosting providers to choose from, it is very difficult to choose just one and even professional webmasters may disagree with one another when presented with this question. First and foremost, it is about your web hosting needs and what works well for some might not end up so well for others. Still, there are certain services than have become more or less standard, or default as a tech-saavy shopper might say. Armed with this knowledge, there are several things which anyone should expect of a superior web host.
We can not stress how important this is. Managing a web hosting network is very technical stuff and yes, inferior web hosting companies will have outages, some more severe than others. On the other hand, a good company will have have actual 99.9% uptime. You should almost never have to worry about hosting problems causing outages. If an inferior web host has down time as result of a data loss, you could be in for big trouble. Any experienced web host will have in place redundancy plans which will protect you and keep your website running even in the most extreme circumstances.
Network Speed & Bandwidth
Many individual factors will determine how quickly your web host can serve up your web pages to the masses. One of which is the physical geographical location of your hosting companies data centers. Inevitably, greater distances will result in slower network speed and page load times. Yet other factor is the equipment used to route traffic and data. Switches are large pieces of your hosting company’s network and good ones do not come cheap.
Of course up-time and and network infrastructure ore two of many other factors to consider when choosing a webhost. They are however, beyond the focus of this writing.
In conclusion, the web hosting industry is very competitive and there are literally thousands of companies to choose from. Is there a single company that offers the best web hosting services for everyone? Arguably not, but there are some very good ones that are great at what they do.
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