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I'm in the process of developing a (very basic!) website advertising my B&B business.  The business is many months from getting off the ground, but I thought I'd get as much of the prep done as possible beforehand.  I was wondering whether anyone in the know could offer advice on the best ISP to use in France, costs associated specifically with getting the website up live, which suffix to use (.fr, .uk, .com, .eu) etc....

Thanks, Mark

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I can't comment on French ISPs as I'm still in UK, but would recommend that you consider having your website hosted separately from your ISP. If your site earns good search engine rankings, moving it can seriously prejudice those rankings, impacting your business adversely. There are many good web hosts, and obviously a lot of bad ones, as there are ISPs. If you pick a good web host you will probably never have to worry about moving your site; and you're free to change your ISP if you need to, without affecting your website.

I've read a lot about having a site hosted in the owner's time zone because of the ease of telephone support, and think it's a red herring. In practice, in eight years of having websites I've rarely had to ask my host for support, and in three years with my present host, I haven't had to ask for support once and there's not been a minute's downtime. I'm in UK and my web host is in Pennsylvania - my initial email enquiries were answered immediately, service 24/7. A good host will look after everything for you and you simply don't have to worry about it. The cost of reliable, quality hosting is little more than than the cost of basic service. Some small web hosts offer what look like great deals, but what can easily happen is that they get more customers than their infrastructure can cope with and service suffers. One thing to check when you look for a web host (or an ISP) is the size of the infrastructure they own - the size(s) of the pipe(s) connecting them to the internet backbone. Generally, the bigger the numbers, the better.

Hosting your website and arranging your domain registration with your ISP can hold hidden costs if you do decide to switch, and the risk of downtime if your host/ISP delays dealing with your instructions. Before you decide check carefully whether charges are levied for moving your domain name to another registrar. By registering your domain name with a good registrar you have total control, will get free email forwarding before you upload your website, and the ability to point your domain name to whatever host you want without incurring any extra charges for it or delays in doing it.

All my domain names (except my co.uk name) are registered with gandi.net (http://www.gandi.net), which is a French registrar, I have pauline-caldwell.com and pauline-caldwell.eu (among others) registered there and am totally happy with their service. Their control panel is clear and easy to use and their prices are among the best in the industry, even including French VAT.

My web host is Pair Networks (http://www.pair.com) and I can't recommend them highly enough - I asked a web design list for recommendations and their name came up many times over. There are many other equally good hosts, though, lots of choice out there, it's a very competitive market.

I have no connection with either company, I'm just a very satisfied customer.

I'd register the .com and .eu versions of your preferred domain name if you can get them, although I think the entire supply of good .com names has been exhausted now [:(]

My 2p-worth, others will have their own good recommendations [:)]

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ISP - free.fr for adsl and free calls

1and1.fr for domain, I would suggest a .fr or .com

Hosting - cheapest are www.kalyncomputers.com or www.routhost.com

when starting your website as you state your doing a basic site i suggest yu keep it simple, no waffle, your best picture on the main page and ofcourse you will have to advertise and link it to the site, also plug your site on as many websites as possible to get your site rated.

Good luck

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