If you’ve decided to make a website part of your business, it will have to have web hosting. Don’t worry if you haven’t gone shopping for a hosting service before! Today, there are a huge number of options available to you, and you don’t even need to spend any money to get the hosting your site needs. Here are a few questions that can help you choose the right hosting provider.
1. Do you get your own domain name?
Many web hosts (even free ones!) will register a domain name for you when you sign up. Although this is a nice feature that will help make your business more prominent, it might not be exactly what you’re looking for. You want to look to the future. What if you change hosting companies somewhere down the road? If you do decide to let your hosting service register your domain name for you, make sure it can be transferred to your control if you want to make that change.
2. What sort of services are there on the back end?
A lot of the business of running a website goes on behind the scenes. Your site will be stored on the hosting company’s servers, and those servers need to be maintained and upgraded properly to keep your site up and running. Check the hosting company’s back-end services.
Find out how they handle maintenance and upgrades. You may uncover a fount of information that you have trouble understanding. Do a little research to see if the company is on the cutting edge or lagging behind.
3. How about the front end?
You should find out what kind of software you’ll have access to before you sign up with any web hosting provider. If you need tools to design your website, some hosting companies will provide them. Most hosting services also give you access to a control panel of some kind that will let you perform some basic administrative tasks on the server.
Familiarize yourself with these controls so that you don’t have to rely on customer service to do everything. If your potential hosting service doesn’t offer these features, you may want to go elsewhere.
4. Advertisements – will you have to deal with them?
Most web hosting companies that offer free hosting aren’t doing it out of the goodness of their hearts. In a lot of cases, the hosting company will want to place ads on your site. They’ll take the profits from these ads in order to offset the cost of hosting the site. This arrangement can be quite tolerable.
See if you have the right to exercise some control over the ads on your site, though. You want to at least be able to get them changed if the hosting company installs ads that you feel are inappropriate.
5. What does the fine print look like?
Before you pick a hosting company and sign up with them, you should have the opportunity to review the terms and conditions you’ll be subject to. Don’t rush this step! Review all of the language governing your hosting relationship carefully. With a commercial website, you want to pay particular attention to matters of copyright.
You want to retain all rights to the content you create. If you can build your website into an effective selling tool, you don’t want your hosting company to replicate it all over the web!
Decent web hosting is not hard to find these days. You can find hosting to handle virtually any kind of site (even a commercial one) with minimal trouble and expense. Just remember to keep these questions in mind when you’re evaluating hosting providers, and you stand a good chance of picking out one you can work with effectively.