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Host Depot's Mark Erskine on Choosing a Hosting Company

CWH: "Thousands of people visit our site everyday looking for the perfect hosting company. What's the key to choosing the right host for your site?"
Mark: "Whether you are building a personal web site with family pictures, or adding a global web presence to your bricks and mortar business, choosing the right company to host your web site is an important decision. There are as many web site hosting companies to choose from today, as there is technical jargon to describe the services they offer. While price is always a consideration, it is important to know that you can count on your host to provide reliable service, the features you need and responsive support services to answer your questions. At Host Depot, we make customer service and satisfaction our number one priority. "

CWH: "Are there any guarantees about service?"
Mark: "Reputable companies will offer at least a 30-day money-back guarantee if you are not satisfied with their services. They should also offer a guarantee of your monthly up time. For example, at Host Depot, we offer a 99.9% up-time guarantee, which means that you receive a refund if your web site is not accessible on the Internet 99.9% of the time each month."

CWH: "What do you need to know about a host's data center and Internet connections?"
Mark: "Companies that co-locate with, or resell the services of a third party often do not have complete control over the performance of their network and computers. Companies who own and control their own operations can better ensure the reliability of their services. It is also a good idea to ask what types of lines connect them to the Internet. Anything less than T3 could mean problems with response times on your web site if they are over-utilizing their connectivity. At Host Depot, we own and operate our own data center and network, which includes redundant OC3 connectivity."

CWH: "What should you know upfront about domain registration and e-mail accounts?"
Mark: "Domain names, such as, are provided by registration authorities not affiliated with the hosting company. Find out what the company charges for the first year of registration. Some hosting companies offer specials and will register your domain at no additional cost for the first year. Most hosting companies include e-mail accounts that you can use with your new domain name, such as Find out if the number of e-mail accounts is unlimited, or if there is a limit, what the additional cost per account will be should you require additional addresses in the future. At Host Depot, we cover the expense of the domain registration for the first year and offer additional domain registrations for $19.95 per year. We also offer an unlimited number of e-mail accounts on our hosting plans."

CWH: "What can a host offer for building and maintaining your own Web site?"
Mark: "Mark: Some companies offer web-based, step-by-step web site creation tools that let you build your web site, complete with graphics and your custom text. This is a very useful feature if you are new to the web and do not have time to learn to use a web site editor such as FrontPage to create your web site. At Host Depot, we offer all of our web-hosting customers free use of our web-based web site creation tool, SiteBuilder. We even allow you to take a live demo of the tool.
A control panel is a web site that lets you make changes to your account, e-mail addresses and other features of your web site online. The goal is to have the ability to make changes yourself, without having to call a support representative and wait for them to make urgent changes for you. At Host Depot, we provide our SiteUtil control panel, which empowers the customer to make real-time changes to their account.
Most of us use Microsoft Office for our word processing and spreadsheet needs. Some versions of Office include FrontPage, the most popular and easy-to-use web page editor. FrontPage lets you create web pages without knowing HTML or computer code. If you are planning on using FrontPage, be sure to ask if your web site will support it. At Host Depot, all accounts support FrontPage 2002 and all older versions."

CWH: "You hear a lot these days about E-commerce. What's involved in selling products on your Web site?"
Mark: "Mark: If you are planning to sell products or services with your web site, you will need several key e-commerce features from your host provider including:
Shopping cart software that is easy to use to help you create your online store. Secure Socket Layer (SSL) guarantees that personal information your customers send to your web site are encrypted while traveling through the Internet. Support for the major online credit card processing systems so that you can accept credit card payments.
At Host Depot, we offer our new Merchant Wizard, which configures and builds your shopping cart for you, supports real-time credit card processing, and allows you to manage your online storefront from our SiteUtil control panel.
Host Depot can be found on the web at or you can call us toll free at 888.340.3527.

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