You need a web hosting service to get your website, and most likely your business, up and going. There are a variety of web host services offering a number of services, beginning with free services and ending with expensive web host services that run big business web sites. In order to choose the right web host service for you and your business, you’ll need to take a look at your needs. How much do you plan to use your website and for what purposes? How much involvement do you want in running your website? How much are you willing to pay for host services?
Free hosting is really the first option for very small businesses and personal websites. Often, your Internet service provider (ISP) will offer you the ability to put up a personal website, but those are for sites that will get very little traffic and that are not very sophisticated. Free web hosting is usually dominated by advertising. In exchange for the hosting services, you will need to advertise the web host on your web page. You can expect that a banner will dominate your home page. For many people, this is an option for a personal web page, but not for a business. Free hosting can be a good place to develop and test a business website, but not for running it long term. The advertisements will end up being detrimental to your small business.
Standard web hosting is usually a great option for most small businesses. These standard web hosts will offer services that are important to your business, such as CGI access, database support, extra bandwidth, SSL, ecommerce and more. These web hosts are most often used by businesses and there are a variety of hosts available offering a variety of services.
If you are looking for standard web hosting for your business, it pays to take a look at the menu of options available from each host service and the prices they charge for each service. Take a look at your own business needs, and try to forecast what the needs of your business will be in a few months in order to see if you’ll need to plan to be bigger when you begin your relationship with the web host.
Once you have a sense of your own business needs and the variety of options out there for web hosts, then compare prices and reliability. Spend some time reading user reviews of the web host services to see if you can figure out how the services rate in terms of price, reliability, support services, and other factors that might be important to you. You might check websites you are familiar with that you feel are well hosted and find out who the host web service is. Follow through and find out more about that service. Ask local businesses about their web hosts. Talking about web host services with people is a good way to find out information that can be useful in making your decision.
Two other options for web hosting exist. One is called colocation, where your web server is placed with a larger company. You then connect to the Internet through their high-speed access. This option gives you more control over your web hosting. The other option is direct access. With direct Internet access, you host your site yourself, assuming all the control – and all the headaches!