What is web hosting and why do I need to concern myself with it? The second part of the question has a simple answer: if you want your web site to be found by others, it must be hosted somewhere.
Web hosts are companies that have computers, called servers, that are connected to the internet 24/7. These servers are assigned IP addresses so that other computers connected to the internet can find them.
An IP address is a four-part string of numbers. It’s easier for humans to remember a name than to remember a series of numbers. For example, what’s easier to remember, google.com or 184.108.40.206?
Choosing a Host
The first thing to decide is whether to pay for hosting or to get a free site. If it is for a personal site that you just want to share with family and friends, a free site may be right for you. The main disadvantage to free hosts, however, is that they have pop up ads. This can be very annoying and doesn’t look professional.
Your ISP (Internet Service Provider) oftentimes offers free space. This is usually limited space with limited services. But it may be a perfect solution to your needs.
A third option, and one that most businesses prefer, is to rent space from a hosting provider. Commercial web hosts offer multiple email accounts, much more space than a free host or one from your ISP, and many other features too numerous to mention in this article.
All web designers have preferences for web hosting. But they can help you make an educated decision about which host to choose. Use their knowledge and experience when choosing a web host.
What About the Cost for Hosting?
Web hosting generally runs in the neighborhood of $10/month, paid annually. Oftentimes this is less when purchased in larger increments. So purchasing five years at a time is less than purchasing only one year, and ten years is cheaper yet. I have seen free domains offered when purchasing a hosting plan.
If this seems overwhelming, don’t let it be. A little bit of research, or consulting with a web designer can help in your selection. Contact us, we’d be happen to help.