Sunday, July 26, 2009

Low cost web hosting: Is it worth it?

How Low Cost Web Hosting Services Should Protect You
While we at are fervent advocates of low cost web hosting, we are equally strident that certain features are well worth paying for. If your low cost web hosting provider doesn't offer to protect the email accounts of you and those of your users/customers from phishing, viruses, and spam, it is worth considering whether these low cost web hosting services are too low cost for your (and your customers') comfort zone.

Recent ad analysis firm Netcraft reports that internet scam artists are now targeting customers of banks that are in the midst of a merger, timing their phishing schemes to coincide with the transitional period in the merger when bank customers are more likely to believe that information was lost or mangled in the move and needs updating or resubmitting. These scam artists are getting smarter and smarter, and you need to be looking for low cost web hosting services that are doing the same.

Phishing Protection:
Does your low cost web hosting services offer any form of fraud protection with its service? One particularly insidious form of fraud is "phishing" where scam artists send emails nearly identical to the emails of your bank or other trusted financial institution, coaxing the recipients into giving away pertinent personal and financial information like passwords and account numbers.
Can your low cost web hosting provider's software detect and intercept phishing scamsbefore they ever see your inbox? Some low cost web hosting providers examine any links included in all incoming messages to see if the destination of the link is indeed what the email and the URL claim it to be.

Virus Protection:
Another rampant criminal activity is sending viruses across the web to steal, sabotage, and subvert. You need a low cost web hosting provider that incorporates some form(s) of virus blocker. Does your low cost web hosting provider have a firewall up to protect you from infected email attachments? Does it scan incoming attachments for viruses, and if so, how often? New viruses designed to produce increasingly more innovative and insidious effects are being built each day. How extensive is the viral database of your chosen low cost web hosting provider? How frequently is it updated?

Spam Protection:
Everybody hates spam, and yet it still keeps coming. While we ponder why companies would still engage in as offensive a tactic as sending mass mailings to bought or traded lists of email accounts, usually under false pretences, many low cost web hosting providers have been pondering how to combat it.

Many low cost web hosting services now have filters in place that detect suspect emails and even eliminate them from your inbox without you ever having to see them, if you so desire. Most spam filters usually base their determinations on what emails to "flag" on whether or not the sender's email address is in your address book (or an "accept" list included with their spam filter). Some spam filters also have a "deny list" where you can accumulate the email addresses of spammers that got through the system once, but shouldn't ever again, if your low cost web hosting provider has anything to say about it.

Most spam filters allow you to choose whether to have flagged messages automatically deleted from your account or stored in separate mailboxes for you to peruse later on.

Other low cost web hosting providers use a text analysis technology that learns as it goes based on you, the user's, patterns. This kind of spam filter constantly improves its ability to identify unsolicited commercial email and keep you from having to deal with it.

It is important to ensure that, whatever low cost web hosting provider you choose, it offers phishing, virus, and spam protection.

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