With the announcement that Yahoo GeoCities has closed account registration and will soon be shutting down all existing accounts, it is time to revisit the topic of choosing the right web host for your website. There are still a number of free web hosting services available and these are fine if you only have a personal website. However, if you have any intention of running a business related website then you should strongly consider commercial web hosting for a number of reasons; in exchange for free web hosting you will most likely have to display 3rd party advertising, which may not be in the best interest of your website; you will be limited in what you can use on your website; and, it gives the appearance that the website owner is not serious about his product or service enough to have their own domain.
There are a number of other reasons but they all lead to the most important; the free web host can shut down your website at anytime and the hard work of building links, appearing in search engine results, and traffic building efforts are gone forever. To avoid the headache that every Yahoo GeoCities website owner now faces, you should choose from a number of well established reliable web hosts with packages that range in price from $ 5 to $ 10 a month with either short term or no commitment. Even though prices are similar, each web host offers different services so choose a web host based on your current and future needs and you will never be faced with having to transfer your website. To assist we have created a list of services you will need from a web host based on your individual requirements.
Before you start, study your competition, and find a web design or website that you like. Search through website templates, and note the features and services they use and then check to see if the web host includes them.
And now for the requirements; if you are setting up a simple 5 to 10 page informational website, check to see if there is a website builder included in the web hosting package. One of the most popular and easiest to use is Soho launch, which includes hundreds of free website templates and add-ons. Soho launch is completely scalable and can be used for a basic website or one with full e-commerce shopping carts, so you can start small and grow if needed. Soho launch requires a MySQL database, so check to see if that is included or if you have to pay extra.
If you need a contact form and an e-mail auto-reply set-up, you will require a web host that has PHP enabled as well as the auto responder feature. With regards to e-mail, you should check to see how many are included, because it is common practice to set up a separate account for sales or general inquiries instead of using the main account. This helps combat spam in your personal inbox.
If you are setting up a blog or forum, check to see if they offer the type of blog or forum software that you yourself enjoy using or viewing. Most blog and forum platforms require both PHP and a MySQL database.
If you are setting up an e-Commerce website, check to see which shopping cart software programs the web host offers, and whether they help you set-up a Merchant Account which you need to process credit card orders. If you plan to take online orders, find out if the web host offers SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificates. If the server is not secure, most visitors to your website will not buy anything from you. Most shopping cart programs also require a MySQL database.
If you are looking for a complete CMS (Content Management System) solution, two of the most popular are Joomla and Mambo, which require almost no technical skill or knowledge to manage, and incorporate all of the above options in a blog type platform. There are also hundreds of templates and add-ons to choose from to make your website unique. Most CMS programs also require a MySQL database.
While this might seem like a lot of set-up, it isn’t, if you choose a web host that has cPanel and Fantastico included in the web-hosting package. All of the above options are literally easy one click installs.
Throughout our years in business we have established a great working relationship with numerous reliable web-hosting companies and have compiled a complete list for our clients. Rankings are based on our experiences with each, visitor preference, the offered web hosting services and features, as well as the least expensive prices. Web hosting general reliability, network and server uptime, are also taken into consideration. Each of the web hosting companies have at least a 30 day money back guarantee, professional 24/7 technical support via email and/or by phone, and at least a 99.9% network uptime guarantee or they are removed from our list.
In the resource box below you will find a link to our complete web host list and next to each one we detail what they offer in their web hosting packages so you will find exactly what you are looking for based on your requirements.
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