In addition to buying a web address, an online business will need to be hosted somewhere. After all, a website is essentially a collection of graphic and text files uploaded onto a remote server so other surfers can access your files. If you dont have a web host, then what you basically have is a lot of files on your own personal computer that nobody else can see.
The first major choice that an enterprising business owner will have to make in regards to web hosts is if he or she would like a free or a paid web host. There are advantages and disadvantages with both.
The major advantage for a free web host is, of course, the fact that its free. Taking advantage of not being forced to fork out cash monthly for web hosting can save a business hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. For those of you who are starting on a shoestring budget, a free web host can be a real option for saving money.
There are several disadvantages inherent with free web hosts, though. The first being advertisements the vast majority of free websites force ads onto their pages in order to pay for the hosting, which can be a major turn-off to visitors. (There are some free web hosts that dont force advertising, but many of these close due to lack of revenue since if people have the option to turn off advertising, most will!) In addition, several of the free web hosts dont allow FTP, or File Transfer Protocol access. While this may mean nothing at all to you at the moment, once your online business really takes off, having FTP access means that you will be able to do so much More in regards to customizing and optimizing your site.
Generally speaking, its much more recommended for businesses to spring for the paid web host if at all possible. There are some places where you can get basic web hosting for under ten dollars a month, and you can switch web hosts at a later date Should your requirements exceed the capabilities of the cheaper web hosts.
Should you elect to go with a paid web host, the amount of options out there could compete with the number of stars in the universe. You can choose to be based out of your own country or go international while being based in your own country may seem like the obvious option, if youre trying to appeal to an international crowd and your target is English speakers, being based out of the US is probably the best idea, even if you are located in another English-speaking country. You can choose to pay as little as five dollars a month or as much as five hundred.
Its worth your while to put a good amount of research into the various web hosts out there before settling on one. A general rule of thumb regarding web hosts is that the old adage is true you tend to get what you pay for. However, this doesnt necessarily mean that the 500 dollar host will suit your needs better than a 10 dollar host. It all depends upon the technical specifications of your company and how much service and capabilities you need to keep it running.