After using addr.com for a year, I finally gave up. I had to get a new host for my sites. So, after a month of research on Epinions, talking with other web masters, and searching the Web, I finally found a web host that I wanted to be with...Cedant.com.
What Was I Looking For In A Web Host?
Inexpensive - I know, you get what you pay for. But considering I'm not running an ECommerce site right now, I had to have something that was going to be a little easier on the pocket book. Right now I'm in Phase One of my Web Development, so I'm placing an Informational Site out on the Internet just to be able to direct inquiries into my business.
Room to Grow - I wanted to know that which ever package I chose, there would still be better packages that I could grow into. In the future I plan on needing a lot more space and a lot higher amount of Data Transfer.
EMail Accounts - Running a business means you should supply a more professional email address ... not just a chat name at AOL. In addition, I have two main portions of my site, one that I run, the other that my husband runs. So I wanted people to be able to direct their inquiries to the proper person.
SSL & Shopping Carts - Although I won't be using these items for a while, I definitely wanted them to be available to me when I choose to enter the phase of on-line buying at my site.
CGI Bins & Scripts - I don't use them often, but every once in a while I want to use a CGI Script on my web site. So I didn't want a web host that would cause difficulties in adding these to my site.
Technical Support - So many sites out there do not offer phone numbers or email addresses to deal with Technical Support problems.
Did They Fulfill My Needs?
Inexpensive - Their Basic accounts start at $7.95/month and offer 50 MB Storage, 500 MB Data Transfer, & 1 E-mail Address. I chose their Standard account for $12.95/month which includes 100 MB Storage, 1500 MB Data Transfer, & 25 E-mail Addresses. They also have an Advanced package for $18.95/month that includes 200 MB Storage, 3000 MB Data Transfer, & 50 E-mail Addresses.
Room to Grow - Since I chose the middle package I obviously have the ability to upgrade to the higher package. However I can also choose to grow slower by purchasing what I need, when I need it. Some of these items I can upgrade are:
Shopping Cart Silver: $10/Month
Shopping Cart Gold: $20/Month
Shopping Cart Platinum: $40/Month
Data Transfer: $10 per 1000 MB/Month
Disk Space: $5 per 20 MB/Month
Domain Parking: $10 Setup Fee
Additional E-mail Accounts: $1 Each/Month
EMail Accounts - With 25 EMail accounts in my package I'm more than covered for I what I need to do. It gives me a chance to have my main email, plus email for tech support, sales inquiries, web design, and photography.
In addition, they offer you the ability to read your email on-line or have it forwarded to you regular email account. Or you can use a program like Outlook to download it from their site to read.
SSL & Shopping Carts - As I've said, I haven't yet entered the phase of adding shopping carts to my site, but at least I have a few options at Cedant. They have three different cart options:
AlaCart Silver ($10/month) -
* Orders are processed manually
* No real-time credit card statistics.
AlaCart Gold ($20/month) -
* Simple web-based administration suite
* Customizable "look and feel"
* Customizable shipping and handling charges
* Product search capabilities
* Secure order processing
* Online documentation
* 25 product limit
* Customizable product specifications
* Real time credit card payment processing
* Customizable customer emails
AlaCart Platinum ($40/month) -
Includes everything in the Gold package, plus you can have up to 1000 products listed.
CGI Bins & Scripts - Every account comes with a CGI Bin. In addition they automatically have a hit counter, a search engine, a site creation tool, a form emailer, and a file manager ready for you to use. If you want to add other CGI scripts to your site, not only can you add them, but they list several places that you can find them.
Technical Support - The one area that I wish I could do without ... however, inevitably I end up having to use it. Unlike some sites, Cedant offers an email address and phone number for support on every page of their site. They don't hide it in hopes that you won't be able to call, instead I get the impression that they do everything necessary to ensure that you have a need for them.
I consider all those extras that they offer, that I wasn't really looking for, as bonus items. They include:
Easy Administration Menus - Everything is laid out in a simple order, you can find statistics on your site, add FrontPage extensions, update your email addresses, add databases & cgi scripts, add newsletters, submit your site to search engines, use formmail, and update all your profile and billing information.
Everything is marked with both text and an icon and is very easy to navigate through.
Domain Name Registration - Instead of going to another site to register your domain, you can do it at the same site. They charge $39.95 for two years. Not a bad deal compared to some other sites out there.
Reseller Programs - You can now run your hosting program through them. If you are a Web Designer you can offer your clients hosting options. You are using Cedant but they are using you.
You get a basic discount on hosting options, then you choose how much you are going to charge your clients.
Dedicated Servers - For those of you with really big web sites, you can choose to have a dedicated server for your business. They run around $375/month for the smaller plan (with a $150) set up fee.
Connections (Taken directly from their website) "Cedant Web Hosting Network Operations Center in Baltimore, Maryland is "OnNet" with Frontier Global Center (FGC), which means that we have a direct fiber optic connection between our Cisco 7200 router and theirs. Being OnNet with a Tier-1 provider means that we don't link to a backbone, we are actually on a backbone. We have no phone circuit, and do not use a Telecom link to get to the Internet; instead, we have an in-house connection directly to FGC's ATM fiber node, located a few floors below our servers in the same building. This fiber optic line can handle the bandwidth of a T3 or an OC3, and with FGC's Dense Wave Division Multiplexing (DWDM) technology, it can handle several times the bandwidth of an OC3."
Once I decided on Cedant as my web host it only took a few minutes to set up my account. Then within 15 minutes I had the email with links to my Admin page so I could start setting it up.
By the next day I had a fully functioning web site address and I was ready to start uploading my pages. Using Dreamweaver and the links to my folders I had my site up within a matter of minutes. Of course, it's only a basic setup right now and I'm constantly updating it to include more and more information.
I did have one afternoon of difficulties reaching the site, but when I went to my mailbox I found a letter from Cedant stating they were having problems with one of the servers and that it was running slow. It was only a matter of hours before they had everything back up and running at full-speed.
In the time that I've been with them I've been 99% happy with their services. That 1% being while they were down. They have a lot of options that others just don't offer and the ease of use makes it a good choice for everyone.
In addition, if you plan on using your web site for ecommerce (selling stuff on-line) they certainly will take care of you.
If you are interested in seeing my site (remember it is still being worked on) feel free to go to www.userfriendlydesigns.com. Please let me know if you have any comments or suggestions on my site.
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Monthly fees (US$): $10.36/month
Platform used: Linux
Hosted on Secure Server: Yes
Database used: MySQL
Main focus of Web site: Sales/E-commerce