Questions About Cloud Computing? Hosted Services 101

With cloud computing taking off the way it has in the information technology field, hosted services are becoming widely implemented, more and more each and every day. So what are hosted services?

Hosted services are a wide variety of IT functions including: email hosting, web hosting, storage, security, monitoring, applications, (SaaS) and infrastructure over the Internet or other wide area networks (WAN).

Email Hosting
This type of service offers premium email at a cost rather than using advertising supported free email, or webmail (IE: Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, AOL, etc.).

Email hosting allows for custom configurations, as well as supporting a large number of accounts. Another great benefit that people love is the fact that you can have your email with your own custom domain name.

For example, instead of, you can have JSmith@(yourcompanyname).com.

Security can be enhanced with this service, from spam filtering, to custom platforms and policies.

Hosted email is far more customizable then a traditional free email solutions. Most companies that provide email hosting also provide web hosting.

Web Hosting
This service lets users publish personal or professional websites, and make them available via the World Wide Web.

The hosted service provider is basically providing the customer with server space to store the various information, videos, audio, and image files, as well as management and backup services for their websites.

Remote Backup
This service provides users with an online system for backing up computer files and storing them. We covered remote backup service in our September newsletter (

Typically, remote backup software would run on a schedule, and backup files daily, compress, encrypt, and sends the files to our servers via the Internet.

The beauty of a remote backup service is the fact that the client does not have to worry about switching and labeling tapes, or any manual steps what so ever.

Disaster recovery takes it a step further, and is able to take a backup image, and virtualizes your entire server. In the event of a server crash or other disaster, the service provider can have your server back online and fully functional within hours.

Hosted services are here to stay, due to their ability to minimize IT and training costs, control and predict your costs, remotely monitor/manage the infrastructure, and maximize the changing business needs and requirements, allowing the business to focus on its operations, and core growth rather than their computer networks.

What To Look For When Choosing Your Web Host

Anyone that has looked in to setting up a website knows that there is just more than saying, “I want a website.”

First, you must decide what type of website you want for your business. For instance, do you need a portal for customers to login and buy merchandise or check for new information regarding an invoice? That kind of website is called a dynamic website because the information keeps changing and usually requires lots of time from the webmaster to keep the website managed.

Then there are the websites that just act like a billboard to help promote your business to people. These sites will usually include a lot of the sales and marketing information from your company’s brochures.

The next step, after deciding what type of website your company needs, is choosing a domain name. This can be the trickiest part of putting your company online. Domain names are the “real estate” of the Internet – you can’t publish a website without a domain name. And, the reason I say it is tricky is that most of the good names are already registered.

Tech Experts can help you in choosing a good domain name, and register it for you as part of your hosting service. A tip, though: Make sure your domain name ends in “.com” – any of the other domain endings, like “.biz” and even “.net” are like the second class citizens of the Internet.

Here are some things to consider when you’re choosing a hosting company.

Reliability is one of the most important factors in web hosting. If the hosting company doesn’t have great reliability you can find yourself losing lots of customers because of downtime. Most companies will advertise 99% uptime which is good but a better hosting company will offer a refund in time or in cash for downtime if they go under 99%.

Location is another factor to consider. If your website is hosted in another country you will find that people will have a very slow response from the website due to the time it takes for the information to transfer to the destination. When choosing the location, try to stick with one in the same country as your target audience.

Data transfer speed
Data transfer speed refers to how quickly pages load and the rate at which other information on your Web site is accessed by visitors. Ask about data transfer statistics, and have the company show you how the speed they provide will be adequate for your needs.

Hard drive space
Hard drive space is something that is closely related to data transfer. Most businesses won’t need more than 10mb of storage space for their website, but be sure you have the option to increase space if needed. If you plan to store users and picture on the website you will need to plan in the future to have extra hard drive space. You’ll use more bandwidth as your visitor counts goes up.

The control panel
The control panel for a web site is where you go to make minor administrative changes to the site. For example, you would use the control panel to add new e-mail users to your service. Make sure the company you select has an easy to use control panel.

E-mail service
E-mail service is the next consideration. Some hosting companies provide email support and will allow you to create 1 or even unlimited amount of email accounts. Email accounts are usually always setup through the control panel you have chosen to use. You will want to make sure that the hosting company provides spam filtering services, too. The last thing you want to do is spend your time deleting hundreds of junk mails.

If you keep these things in mind, you’ll have an idea what you need and you will be able to start comparing web hosting providers. Here is my advice: Always remember, you get what you pay for. Do not expect a $5/month provider to have better support compared to a company like Tech Experts that charges a fair price and provides you with excellent service.

If you have questions about web hosting or having a web site set up for your company, please e-mail me at