If you don’t have a business website and don’t have your own web server to host it on, you’ll need to look for a web host. A web host basically rents you server space. You upload your entire website to the web host, and users access it from there. Web hosts vary in cost and in what they offer, so you’ll need a good idea of what you need in a host before you sign up with one.
- How large is your website? If your site is pretty simple and won’t include many large images, videos, or other big files, you may not need much disk space. However, if your site is going to grow, you may want to go with more disk space now so you don’t have to worry about it later.
- How much bandwidth do you need? This is basically how much data you can send to users. Usually it’s measured in months. If you go over your bandwidth, some web hosts will simply not allow users to access your site for the rest of the month. If your site features large images and multimedia files, you’ll want a lot of bandwidth, especially if you anticipate getting a lot of visitors.
- Do you have one or more domains? If you have multiple domains (i.e., are planning multiple websites), you’ll want a web host that offers unlimited domain hosting. Remember that multiple domains will require more server space and bandwidth.
- Do you want your own email? Some web hosts offer @yourdomainname email addresses, which makes you look much more professional. If email is important, look at what they offer. Can you connect their email to Outlook and other desktop email programs? Do they offer mail forwarding or auto-responders? How much email storage space is available? This is especially important if you’ll be sending or receiving large files.
- If you’re developing your own website and are a beginner, you may be very interested in web developing software. Some hosts offer programs to help you create your website. While this software may not be as powerful as programs you’d pay for, such as Adobe Dreamweaver, they are usually pretty simple to use. You can also contact your hosting company for software support, which is a nice extra feature.
- Does the web host offer extras like free scripts, audio features, resource libraries, and the like? If you know which features you need, it will be easier to find a host that fits these needs.
- Does the web host fit your budget? Don’t get so caught up in features that you pay more than you can truly afford. Also look at package options. Does the host offer domain name registration? If so, you may be able to get a discount if you get your domain names along with your hosting. Can you buy additional server space or bandwidth separately, or will you have to purchase an entire new package? These are all very important things to consider since changing to a cheaper web host in the future may be a pain.