Once you find just the right domain name, you will need web space to give it a home online. A web host will provide web space for you on the internet.
Many hosting buyers examine hosting prices only to find that looking at pricing makes their decision more difficult. Why is that? There are a number of reasons why pricing varies and there are differences that are usually associated with higher-priced plans. Here are a few pricing considerations in different areas:
In the end, hosting is a critical component of your online business strategy. Consider purchasing the best hosting package that your business can afford - the benefits will come back to you multifold. Ultimately, the web hosting company that offers high-end plans will typically have more room (financially) to hire better technical support, increase feature allowances, and service quality hardware and network infrastructure - these benefits are definitely critical for companies looking to have a serious online presence.
- Free Hosts - Just as there are free ISPs, there are also free web space providers. Like the free ISPs, the free web space providers are not exactly "free".
There are drawbacks...
Although free web hosting seems out of reach if you really want a successful online business, there are affordable ways.
- Many free web space offers only allow you to design your website using their format, their program, and their design. You'll be very limited in many areas.
- Most free web space companies allow you to use their web space as long as they can place their advertisements on your web pages. (You'll have no control over what type of ads.) Also, your visitors may click out on a banner ad before ever reading your material or presentation.
- Your customers will know you're using a free service, which reduces credibility for your company.
- Low priced-plans - Some web hosts offer simply hosting services at a very low monthly cost. These may be suitable for very simply web pages or email only sites. However, be sure to examine what sort of upgrade paths exist - if your business succeeds online, you will need a more robust hosting solution. Also, given the low-margins associated with these plans, be aware that technical support will be limited (e.g. email support only.)
- Dedicated Servers - Companies providing dedicated or co-location services often have wide-ranging services. One factor to consider is the network infrastructure itself, does the company have a solid-data center? If so, the price is likely to be higher as the company needs to recoup some of their infrastructure investments. Another consideration when looking at dedicated pricing is the quality of the servers themselves. Are hosting firms using quality Micron or Dell servers or "no-name" machines?
- Bandwidth/web space/email allowances also impact pricing. What kind of bandwidth/web space/email can your website consume without additional charges? Some companies will have very low bandwidth/web space/email allowances associated with a low-cost plan. However, if your website goes over their threshold, you could be looking at some significant and non-planned expenses.
- Set-up fees are fairly standard amongst web hosts with the $50-$100 for shared hosting solutions being common. Set-up fees actually encourage web hosts to provide a quality set-up fee as they can afford to allocate staff to care for your domain registration or transfer. However, ask a web host if they can waive a set-up if you are transferring a domain name - as this is commonly done.
- If you are purchasing a higher-end hosting plan, e.g. $100 per month and up - expect better technical support. Not only do many higher-end hosting firms offer longer hours of support, but they also hire some of the best hosting technicians in the industry. Furthermore, some companies offering dedicated technical support lines for higher-end shared and dedicated customers, so inquire if your company provides such as service when considering a purchase