Plan Your Internet Success Part 8 – Select an ISP

8. Select an ISP

There are literally thousands of Internet Solution Providers (ISP) today, and all offer similar things (more or less) presented in different packages and under different names.

However, there are three main options for users like you and me, and they include:

a) Shared Hosting – You, along with hundreds of others are hosted on the same machine(s), same hard drive and the applications that you can use are limited to what is available on that machine.

b) VPS (Virtual Private Server) Hosting – This is much more flexible than the shared hosting, since you have your own “virtual” drive within a server. This option gives you access to much more as far as applications, adding domains, IP addresses, etc. Furthermore, with some ISP, you get basic admin support.

c) Dedicated Server – A server (machine) is dedicated to you and only you, and the admin support is a bit more advanced. In this instance, you may upload any application you want and do pretty much whatever you want with your server.

The obvious difference between the three is cost, since a shared hosting can cost as little as $5 monthly, while you would be hard-pressed to find a dedicated server at less than $100 monthly.

The deciding factor here is what type of Web site you are planning to have. If your Web site consists of a few pages with some content and a few links to an advertiser or an advertising network then the first option is more than enough for you.

Alternatively, if you are going to run a database and need to install some apps, such as a shopping cart, to run your business, then the VPS solution or a dedicated server is for you. The big difference between the two is bandwidth and maintenance, and this is when you need to make a decision between VPS or dedicated machine.

I recommend that if you need a shopping cart and database capability, start with a VPS and take it from there. Some VPS servers allow you tremendous capacity and have pretty much all the apps that you would want to run your business, so it is my preferred choice.  Additionally, assuming that you outgrow the VPS, there are ways to transition to a dedicated server that enable you to do this very smoothly.

Resources: ISPs that I like and use

Regardless of where you decide to host your site, I would suggest that you make sure that you can upload your files via FTP (File Transfer protocol) or SSH (secure transfer) and get a FTP solution and always backup your Web site’s files. This will allow you to switch to another ISP provider if you are not happy with the one you first selected*

Finally, if you do not have the budget for a VPS and decide to go to a shared hosting, but worry about your shopping cart or the lack of it, there are solutions.  You can look for payment solutions that offer external links to shopping carts like PayPal, for example. The integration is relatively simple and while this is not the most elegant or inexpensive way to deal with purchases, it works well and is secure. Furthermore, PayPal is well established and that is something that may offer an added level of comfort for buyers who are conscious of security on the Internet.

* This is another reason why I personally register my domain with a registration provider that is independent of my ISP.

You can download a complete copy of this manuscript “Plan Your Internet Success” on my website at

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