Getting a web presence can seem a bit of a challenge and you should pick a provider that meets your needs. Equally, you have to be sure that the provider has the flexibility and the range of products and services to handle your requirements as they change. Why locate your efforts with a budget provider only to have to go through the arduous task of relocating everything when you get big?
Active 24 is one such provider, with its target customers ranging from home users to small and medium-sized businesses. If you want a simple website with a few pages, it has an entry level product to provide it. Equally, if you want something more complex like an online shop or an enterprise solution to run your business, there's a product there for you. You can also mix and match with a series of add-ons to build a customised product.
The entry-level product is Active Home, which you can use to create and run a personal website. It comes with one domain name, web space, up to 200 personalised email addresses (let's be serious, that's just a show-off number as you'll never use that many!) and a control panel through which you can maintain your website.
At the top of the range is Active Business, which offers more web space and email addresses plus an extended control panel. There's also an SQL database for storing and retrieving data, and Sharepoint for communication and collaboration within the business.
If you start with an entry level product, you can add features such as Sharepoint and SQL to achieve the functionality you need. You can also just register a domain name, with the ability to check availability and 30 separate domains available for 15 countries. Active Business Mail is professional email that is based on Microsoft Hosted Exchange and includes Microsoft Outlook to provide an integrated mail, contacts and calendar application.
All web products include anti-virus and spam filters to try and keep your site up 24 / 7. There's also eZ Publish to help you create your site, which comes in Express or Standard versions depending on the product. Online support is available through downloaded documents, information on selected topics and a support phone line.
If you want to earn some extra cash, you can sign up to the active partner or affiliates programme and promote the company's products on your website. What you can earn, of course, will depend on the number and type of people who actually access your website.
The company started in Oslo in 1998 and then acquired various other internet service providers in different European countries. It now has 15 operational markets throughout Europe with over 320,000 customers. It is owned by Mamut Software Ltd, which has a London address and provides business management software as well as web hosting. Mamut has been short listed for the 2009 Accounting Awards in the Small Business Software category and has won the 2009 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference Award. It also sponsors the Get Online.., Pass It On campaign, which aims to help small and medium-sized businesses use the internet.
The Active 24 website shows that it has been named several times as the Web Host Directory number one Web Hosting Provider for both Windows and Unix. However, these all relate to several months in 2006, with no more recent entries. It is, however, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and works closely with Microsoft.
As you would expect from a web services provider, navigation is not really an issue with both www.active24.com and www.active24.co.uk showing the information needed for UK customers. Each country has it's own site, such as www.active24.cz for the Czech Republic, www.active24.nl for the Netherlands and www.active24.no for Norway. The full company name is required for each though, for example: www.active.com is a sports website and www.active.co.uk is owned by a different company and just shows ads for everything "active" related. With the branding for this company being 2 common usage words, be aware that someone could probably start up sounding very similar with a similar domain name. Check you're where you want to be before handing over credit card details.
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