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Website Hosting Information for Beginners and even some Professionals

WHAT IS WEBSITE HOSTING?

To begin with, it helps to understand what website hosting is. Website Hosting is basically a specialized service where you rent out a space to store your website data.
In somewhat more technical terms, the website hosting company houses the files for a website on a computer, known as a server. When you host your site, you actually make your site live on the internet. Once your site is hosted, when a potential customer types in your URL, the customer's computer will talk to your hosting company's computers and display your website.

Before you get a website hosted, you will need to register a domain and have a web designer design it. For more on domain name registration read here.

We recommend Rack Alley for website hosting.

SORTING OUT THE OPTIONS

There are many different kinds of hosting companies, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. There are companies who call themselves hosting companies who are actually resellers. They use an affiliate program and sell services from other companies. Of course, just because a company is “reselling” space doesn't mean it's not a viable option for some. Resellers can be reputable and sometimes you can get a better price with a reseller and more 1-on-1 support than with a larger company.
You also need to figure out how much server space you require and how much bandwidth you would need. A small company or a new company should choose what is known as shared hosting. A very large business with millions of online customers should choose to go with what is known as dedicated hosting. However, that can be expensive. Dedicated hosting costs hundreds of dollars or more per month and is appropriate for technically advanced, large websites where the site owner wants or needs to control the server environment. Shared hosting basically means that your site is being shared on one server with hundreds of others and dedicated hosting means that the server is only yours.
It's not a very good idea for a non-tech company to host its own website. Outsourcing is the best way to host your website, rather than having a server in-house. The cost of setting up your own in-house server is quite expensive.
You need to also figure out how much server space and bandwidth you would need and might want to consult a professional on this. The next step is to determine what sort of software and applications it will need to have supported. Usually your web designer will help you on this and tell you what you need. You need to also decide if you need Windows Hosting vs. Unix Hosting and this may depend on your web designers requirements.

If you are not doing your own backend programming and all you need is a basic site, then this choice probably doesn't make a huge difference. If you have a web designer, you should ask him which package to go for. The difference is just the backend programming, some programmers prefer one to the other or are only familiar with one or the other. This will be huge factor if you have an E-commerce site.

That said, ecommerce sites will need certain extras. Usually they are known as E-commerce Hosting. Ecommerce sites need special software such as shopping carts, databases and support for various programming languages such as PHP or ASP.

FINDING A REPUTABLE WEB HOST

Determining site requirements is one of the reasons many experts suggest finding a hosting company through the person, or people, who developed the site.

Another way to find a hosting company is the old-fashioned method: word-of-mouth. If you have some friends that run websites, find out who they use and if they are happy with them. Another option to consider is online forums.

FINAL CONSIDERATIONS

Finding the best hosting company would depend on your needs. Do a lot of research and don't get locked in in annual plans. A lot of hosting companies offer month-to-month plans.

Here are some recommended solutions:

 


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