I receive numerous phone calls and e-mails from shops and suppliers asking advice on how to properly evaluate local Internet service providers (ISP) for web projects. Like many of you, I too have flipped through phone books looking for a potential host for web sites. A few years back, there might have been 2 or 3 listed, but now, depending on your location, there can be as many as 30 or more. With over 6,000 ISPs in the U.S. and over 10,000 worldwide, how do you choose the right one? Easy, let them make the decision for you.
The following is a step-by-step checklist on how to select an ISP. If followed, many headaches may be avoided.
Step 1. Evaluate your initial options. You really want to have a list of about 5 ISPs to evaluate. You can develop this list from local advertisers, phone books and other sources. Call each one to make sure a live body answers and ask them to whom you can send a request for a quote for your project. If you do not feel good about the initial call, scratch the ISP off your list.
Step 2. Develop a quote sheet based on your project needs. This will be the request for quote that you will send to each of the ISPs you have initially selected. Here is a list of important questions/points to ask:
Step 3. After completing your letter, send it off to each of the ISPs on your list with a specific date you wish to receive your project quotation. Be sure to include all of your contact information to insure that you are easily available to answer any questions. In addition, be clear in your letter that you are requesting a written quote for your evaluation. This step alone can separate the wheat from the chaff.
Step 4. Let the ISPs do the work for you. At this point, they will be selling themselves to you instead of you having to choose a needle in a haystack. These simple steps should lead to some clear decisions on which ISP to choose as your project partner.
Travis's Monthly Site Review:
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If you are currently searching for an ISP, may I suggest that you checkout these three sites. Each of them has a large database full of local, national and international ISPs. I really like the search feature on ISPS.com, which allows you to search for an ISP by area code. This site is very effective and easy to use. Happy hunting.
Industry Web Site News
Flo King Filter Systems, Longwood, FL, introduces its new web site at www.floking.com.
Filtersource, Inc., Hamburg, NY, announces its new e-commerce presence on the web at www.filtersource.com.
tesa tape, inc., Charlotte, NC, announces its enhanced site at www.tesatape.com.
Robotics Industry Association, Ann Arbor, MI, introduces its online resources for robotics information at www.roboticsonline.com.
Controlled Power Co., Troy, MI, announces its new interactive web site at www.controlledpwr.com. PF