Once you’ve chosen an online business opportunity, have done some basic business planning, and have chosen a business name and domain name, you’ll need to choose a Web hosting company to host your website online. There are a variety of Web hosting options available, from free Web hosting to shared Web hosting (where more than one customer’s websites are hosted on the server) to dedicated servers which only host your company’s site(s). When choosing a Web host, and considering these hosting options, there are a few questions to ask yourself to make the process easier:
1. Do you care if your Web hosting company places advertisements on the website? If having an ad-free site or full control over ads is important, then a free Web host probably isn’t the best option.
2. Do you expect to be using heavy amounts of bandwidth, such as by hosting a lot of audio and video files? If so, consider a dedicated server when choosing a Web host, or at least a Web host offering plenty of bandwidth.
3. Do you need to be able to host more than one website on the same Web hosting account? If so, look for Web hosts offering unlimited add-on domains. If you also need subdomains, look for Web hosts offering the ability to set up unlimited subdomains as well.
4. Do you need to be able to set up multiple email accounts? If running multiple sites, or with staff members, you will likely also need multiple email addresses. When choosing a Web host, look for one that doesn’t charge extra for you to set up email addresses, and make sure the host allows for enough email addresses.
5. Do you need to run a variety of scripts, either within a website, or as the backend of a website (such as a content management system, e-commerce system, or blogging platform)? If so, when choosing a Web host for an online business, be certain the host supports the various scripts that the website will need.
6. How much downtime are you willing to tolerate? When choosing a Web host, look for guarantees on server uptime.
7. Do you want to have to commit to a long-term Web hosting contract? If a long-term commitment isn’t a problem, then saving money by going with a pre-paid yearly plan with a Web host may be an option. If the freedom to change hosts more quickly without the risk of losing as much money is important, go with a month-to-month Web hosting plan. Either way, find out ahead of time if the hosting company offers a money back guarantee during the initial phase of the Web hosting contract.
8. How many databases will you likely use? When choosing a Web host for an online business, especially if it involves running multiple websites, look for hosting companies that allow unlimited (or at least enough) MySQL databases to be set up on each Web hosting account.
9. How often do you expect a technical support representative to be available from your Web hosting company? Some offer support only via email or only during business hours, whereas others offer 24/7 technical support via phone, email, and even online chats.
By answering the above questions, you’re essentially creating a mental checklist to use when comparing and choosing a Web host for your online business needs. Evaluating needs before choosing a Web host will make the decision, and business relationship, much easier.