Once your website is completed it must be placed on a web “server.” This is commonly referred to as “being hosted.” There are many providers for this type of service.
You transfer your web pages from your computer via FTP (file transfer protocol) to this web server, where your files get stored. This server or host is simply a computer that is permanently connected to the Internet so that it can be seen by anyone connecting to the Internet at any time.
Hosting companies simply rent storage space on these machines. Depending on your needs, a hosting plan can cost anywhere between $5 and $200 per month. So could you host your own site on your computer? You could. But individuals or businesses would find it too expensive and time-consuming to maintain a server.
There are many providers to choose from and it can be frustrating to find the right one. The following are some basic considerations for choosing a web hosting service:
1. In our opinion, a good hosting service is one that offers expert, friendly customer support 24/7. When you are experiencing problems, you want to talk to a person—not a computer. Test the quality and efficiency of response by sending them an email pertaining to some questions you may have before you sign up.
2. Speed and reliability of the servers and hardware, effective bandwidth management and a good backup system.
3. A 30-day money-back guarantee should be included in any package. When you sign up for a monthly service, there is usually no fixed-length contract, so you can terminate your contract at any time. Your commitment is month to month, although you often will get a discount if you sign up for 1–2 years.
4. Stability. You do not want your hosting service to go out of business and leave you stranded. Check how many years they have been in business. And make sure they are not currently undergoing a merger.
If you follow these basic guidelines, you will have a reliable, efficient and satisfying hosting service that will contribute to the success of your business for many years to come.