Before the world can see your Web site, you have to publish it on the world wide web. Although you can run your own web server, most people sign up with a web hosting service. Essentially, you rent server space from a web host for a monthly or annual fee, ranging from as little as a few dollars per month to hundreds per month, depending on the size of your site and the services you need. When it comes to finding the best Web hosting service, there is no ‘right’ answer. Choosing a web host is a little like choosing a phone company, there are many plans to choose from and you need to carefully consider how you plan to use your phone before you can find the plan that is best for you.
Here are a few things to consider when you choose a web host:
- Security: If you plan to sell products or services on your site, and you want to handle the transactions on your site, you’ll need to make sure your host offers good security options and you’ll need an SSL certificate. You can buy SSL certs from both web hosts and domain registrars, just make sure your hosting service can use it.
- Third-party programs: Many hosting services now include features that make it easy to install popular web features, such as WordPress, Joomla, and many others. If you plan to use WordPress, you definitely want to make sure you choose a hosting service that supports WordPress and makes it easy to set up and install.
- Special features: Look for any other special features that may make your life easier, or save you money, when you’re working on your web site. Many hosting services offer discounts and integration with third-party services you may find useful.
- Multi-site hosting: If you’re a web designer creating more than one site for clients, or you need more than one website for your own business, consider hosting services that will let you set up multiple domain names in the same account.
- Support: If you do need help (and most of us do at one time or another) does your hosting company publish a phone number, or at least make it easy to reach them via email? If you’re considering a hosting service, call or email their support line and see what kind of help you can expect – before you sign up.
Basic web hosting services
- Dreamhost: This large web hosting service offers easy installation of WordPress and more than a dozen other great third-party services.
- MediaTemple: Recently acquired by GoDaddy, this hosting services has rates starting at $20/month, it’s not as cheap as some of the others on this list, but it gets the best ratings for handling traffic spikes for a reasonable price.
Premium web hosting services
- WP Engine: Specializing in WordPress hosting, WPEngine is a popular choice among those who want reliable hosting that is highly optimized for WordPress.
- Rackspace.com: This premium hosting services is scalable so it’s able to handle loads of traffic, and they offer a companion email service that is one of the best in the industry.
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