So what exactly is a web host? It's a company that provides storage and distribution of website pages on your behalf. Without one your domain will be nothing more than a blank page. In short, they provide the hardware, software and bandwidth for a fee (usually monthly), which is essentially “rental space” on their servers. Navigating the world of web hosting can be tricky. In this article we will look at four different types of web hosting service and how they could help you.
Internet Service Providers (ISPs)
The majority of Internet Service Providers will provide inexpensive web hosting solutions alongside Internet access. They usually include a small amount of web space and the tools to create and upload websites. However, if you want a personalized domain name, you will have to buy that separately. These websites are fine if you don't expect much traffic and don't need a flashy design. For example, if you run a small local business or want to start a blog that only your friends will read.
Free Web Hosting
There are literally hundreds of free web hosts out there. Many will have their own customization features that ensures everything you do will integrate seamlessly with their systems. While free web hosting is perfect for personal blogs, they are often funded by advertisement. Therefore, you will have to permit them to run adverts on your website – this can deter business if you're trying to advertise your own services.
When you pay for web hosting you will benefit from having complete control. You will “rent” space on the host's server for a fee, which could be anything from a few dollars per week to hundreds of dollars per month, and will have an abundance of features at your service, including database support, e-commerce support, SSL certificate, additional space and extra bandwidth. Fundamentally, the more you pay for the better it will be. Paid hosting is usually the preferred option among mid to large businesses.
Many small businesses opt for domain hosting as it allows you to point your website URL to any hosting service you like, including free hosting services, ISP hosting services and your own servers. This is generally less expensive than buying a separate domain and hosting package. While you get the benefit of a branded URL, you may still have to accept limitations if you use free services or ISP services.
The type of website hosting you should choose really should depend on your website goals. If you're looking for something personal or don't expect to receive many visitors, then a free service or ISP hosting service will be more appropriate then purchasing your own servers. Assess your needs and try to make a logical traffic predication before you make your final decision. For more information visit Cheap Web Hosting Advice.
One you've made your choice, consider the length of sign up. Paying upfront for one or more years will almost certainly result in significant savings. However, if you plan on rapid growth or would like to expand your business in the future, sign up on a rolling contract so you can amend the plan in the future and upgrade (or downgrade) accordingly.
Shop around and keep looking for web hosting that offers stability and value for money. While buying hosting from the cheapest option may seem like a tempting offer, don't be swayed until you're read some customer reviews and testimonials beforehand. The last you you need when you're paying for hosting is a website that's unstable. This will not only affect your search engine rankings, but also your regular visitors.