VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is a fairly complex telephony technology that requires quality of service, traffic management, and security from any web host. These same needs are what makes many providers hesitant to offer the service. Additionally, the provider must have the expertise and resources to not only implement VoIP but to make sure it’s a good fit for a particular client. The ideal hosting provider will help clients operate, manage, and keep the VoIP protocol up-to-date as well.
It seems that more web hosts are beginning to offer VoIP services and products as well. While some host s might be able to explain their products and why they work, others may not. Still, others may offer everything you need — everything except the VoIP, of course.
What do you need for a great VoIP service provider? The client who wants a dynamic VoIP support system will look for IP multimedia communications services with high-fidelity voice quality and near-zero latency. These objectives can be accomplished with a service that provides an all-optical network and multiple redundancies.
You’ll need a VoIP system, if your Web host doesn’t provide the setup. You can hook up an inexpensive microphone to your computer or connect a phone directly to a VoIP telephone adapter (ATA) or use a SIP phone. Each SIP phone is a network endpoint, and voice is routed through its IP address. SIP phones also allow full use of advanced features like voice mail to email and auto attendant.
With that said, we’ve compiled this handy list of ten web hosts that provide a friendly environment for VoIP applications.
HostGator is providing customers with a new VoIP service this fall. VOIPo is a residential service that is hooked to HostGator’s servers through an adapter that connects to your router. When you sign up for this service, you’ll receive this adapter, which allows you to use your regular telephones as normal. This is a Vonage-like service, and it requires an activation fee, a USF surcharge, and an E911 Recovery Fee. The new service provides plenty of options.
Sterling Communications has become a full-service Internet Service Provider (ISP) for corporations, small businesses, and residences. Not only do they provide complete and virtual web hosting services for NT, Unix, ASP.Net, Cold Fusion, SQL, MySQL, FrontPage, and PHP, they also provide design solutions for LAN, WAN, MAN, wireless, and VPN applications.
Founded in 1997, Sterling’s revenue has grown consistently with a 77% gain during the last few years. Their VoIP plan is called Sterling Voice, and their hosting includes managed and unmanaged colocated hosting and virtual hosting.
AccessOne’s hosting plan offers power backups, redundant hard drives, off- and on-site server monitoring 24/7, and redundant internet backbone connectivity. Their theory is that, by packaging web hosting together with AccessOne’s VoIP or DSL products, you can enjoy additional savings every month. When you visit their site, you’ll see that web hosting is a minor part of this company’s total business – their products focus on business VoIP.
Utilize your VoIP on the same fiber optic technology that major corporations use. Their backbone is served using Gigabit Ethernet, as well as SONET technologies to enhance the speed and reliability of hosted sites. Additionally, the HostOnFiber network was built with security and stability in mind.
Starting with the operating systems, they run various flavors of Unix which have reputations of being stable and secure. Plus, they have engineers maintaining their network around the clock and a flexible disk use policy. Located in Canada, HostOnFiber provides users with email and phone support.
As a wholly-owned subsidiary of NTT Communications, the world’s largest telecommunications company, Verio can offer screaming-fast communications through their hosting services. They tap into a highly advanced Tier-1 global Internet Protocol (IP) network that has been exclusively designed to provide their customers with the world’s best IP data transport. Verio’s attention to full redundancy across the board is impressive as well. In addition to their connectivity, their data center provides power backup via battery-powered UPS as well as diesel generators and great support.
The Host Group
This company has been around since 1998, serving small- and medium-sized businesses that want to host a website on an OC-48 fiber optic network. According to the Host Group, the majority of their clients come to them from other providers due to the lack of technical and customer support. You can bet that you’ll receive what you’ve been missing at other host providers, and you’ll find complete monitoring and correction of essential services, such as ports and resources. They use proprietary monitoring software with full support of professional systems administrators and support personnel.
StartLogic’s 99.9% uptime guarantee is backed by a data center that boasts redundant fiber optic connections to Qwest, ELI, Cox, and major tier-1 backbone providers, such as Broadwing, Global Crossing, and UUNET. They offer fully redundant power and UPS backup systems, power conditioning systems, and backup generators. Their network infrastructure is comprised of a pooled server environment which provides virtually any server on their network with the ability to access website files when a request occurs.
If you want mission critical and redundant networks that run on secure fiber optic networks, then this host might be what you need for your VoIP setup. The Velcom network was designed from the ground up to handle unpredictable spikes in traffic, and with multiple 1000mbps transit connections and direct Ethernet/fiber peering arrangements, they claim no single point of failure anywhere within the Velcom network. Each backplane is never utilized more than 40% to allow for unexpected bursting without performance loss. In fact, Velcom guarantees 99.9% uptime.
Home and commercial users can tap a VoIP system into Dot5Hosting as this company’s servers are linked to the internet via fiber-optic connections that span more than seven diverse backbones and well-known providers such as Congent and Time Warner. Their systems include a high power UPS generator electrical backup, closed circuit monitoring, and redundant air-conditioning systems. However, that’s not the only redundancy they boast – they utilize Dell and IBM servers which run Dual Intel Xeon processors with 2GB of DDR-RAM and SCSI hard drives with RAID-1 redundancy.
3FN stands for Triple Fiber Networks, a privately owned company that works fully independently. They offer a variety of dedicated servers, with the top model being a Opteron(tm) Processor 1214 2.2 GHz with 4Gb Error-Correcting Code RAM, a 2x 400Gb GB SATA II hard drive, and a 50Mbit traffic allowance, and their transit is provided via AboveNET, the leading provider of the metro fiber networks with more than 950 optically-enabled buildings in 12 US markets. Although 3FN.net focuses on dedicated servers, users can find a niche for reliable hosting for VoIP service through discounted monthly hosting.