One of the technology pieces you need to make a website live online is to have a hosting service 'host' your website. Bottom line is your website will not work without it. The good news is there's different types of hosting service to choose from, and you can rest assured that you'll be able to find the perfect solution for your needs at a fair and reasonable price, if not free. With that in mind, let's discuss the 3 different types of hosting services you can choose from.
1. Shared Hosting – Shared hosting is exactly what the name says it is … a shared solution. Hosting actually works with a machine called a server, and in a shared hosting environment, you share the server with other people. The benefit of a shared environment is the cost for the service is extremely low and affordable, which is perfect for most people. Plus, as your business grows and you add more websites, the cost usually remains the same.
For instance, lets say you have 2 websites you own. One is your business website and the other is your personal blog. If you are just starting out or have moderate traffic hitting those sites, you probably will want to start with a shared hosting service. The cost can be as low as a few dollars per month, the service is usually very reliable, and you have control over your websites. The downside to a shared hosting environment is if the other sites are pulling lots of traffic, your websites may be affected with slow load times and slow response times.
2. Dedicated Hosting – When your business starts getting a lot of traffic and you can not afford to have slow load times and slow response times, then you are probably ready for a dedicated hosting solution, which is where you are the only owner on the server. You can still have as many sites as you want on the server, but the reality is traffic is the main measure of how well a server works. The more traffic you get, the more servers you might have to add to handle the traffic load.
The cost significantly increases for dedicated servers. A shared hosting service might run you under $ 10 per month to start with, but a dedicated server may start close to $ 200 per month. A good rule of thumb is to increase your server costs only when the business agreements the increase. If you are just starting out, you have really no need for a dedicated server.
3. Free Hosting – This one is a tricky one since free always sounds good, and the price is just right. However, in this case, free hosting is not wise if you are serious about your online business. Here's why. What you save in price, you give up in control. There are lots of services out there where you can make a website online, the company will host it for you and all you have to do is update the site and drive traffic to the site. Sounds good, right?
The real problem with this solution is if the company ever has a problem with what you are doing, if the company ever goes out of business, if the company changes direction, or whatever, you run the risk of your website being shut down altogether. You have no control and that's no way to run a professional business. What would happen if your site was getting you 1000 new visitors a day and tomorrow you lost it all? It would be the end of your business. Therefore, if you choose a free hosting option, understand the consequences of what might happen to your business.
There is a 4th option, which is to own and run your own server, but if you already knew how to do that, this article would be of no value to you.