Now that you have your domain name secured, the second piece of your web presence that you’ll need is your web hosting service, which is a monthly service (can be paid annually in some cases) that provides a virtual “home” (host) for your website files and data, sometimes including your company’s email messages for the various email accounts you might have setup.
Hosting service allows your website to be accessible to the world via the Internet, keeping it online as often as possible. In a perfect world, you would have 100% uptime, which is the measure of time that a server (and because of it, your website!) is up and online. However, as long as you’re getting guaranteed 99.9% uptime, then you’ll be in good shape! Otherwise, you would need to pay a lot for dedicated servers or a more robust mission-critical hosting setup, which typically isn’t necessary for a small business. You simply want a company that is reliable with little or no downtime for their track record. You’ll also want to be sure they’re secure and provide regular backups of your data.
Web hosting service is misunderstood by many, and taken for granted until there’s an issue. Unlike domain names, where the cost is relatively fixed and low, hosting costs can vary from as cheap as $5 per month, to $500 or more per month, depending on the scope and complexity of the setup. However, as a business, “budget” hosting is not really a practical consideration, because every minute your website is down you’re potentially losing revenue and customers, or missing email messages. At the same time, you should avoid free hosting, because you’ll pay for what you get in the end, meaning lost sales due to tacky display ads, or possible downtime. Or simply a lack of customer service and support if you have questions or issues.
A quality hosting company typically has a powerful computer or multiple computers, called servers, that are housed in a secure datacenter with a lot of protection and redundancy. They also provide the latest software to successfully establish and maintain a web presence with ease. For this level of business-class hosting, you should be paying an average of between $25-$75 per month. Of course, for barebones hosting with limited support, but quality service in terms of the hardware, software and so on, you may be able to pay between $10-25 per month. These pricing averages shouldn’t necessarily include maintenance on your website, just the hosting service and support. Again, research the company online or locally for a pattern of issues or complaints, and get references and testimonials. Our hosting service is month-to-month, which makes it easy to give us a try without any long-term commitments. You may want to consider a similar “pay as you go” option to find the right choice for your hosting needs.
We welcome any questions you have about hosting service, either in general or about the hosting plans that we offer, so please feel free to reach out at (865) 238-5600 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.