Until 1991, the Internet was restricted to use only "...for research and education in the sciences and engineering..." and was used for email, telnet, FTP and USENET traffic—but only a tiny number of web pages. The World Wide Web protocols had only just been written and not until the end of 1993 would there be a graphical web browser for Mac or Windows computers. Even after there was some opening up of internet access, the situation was confused until 1995.
Many web hosts offer limited features in their starter packages and then expand the offerings (sometimes tremendously) for higher-tier plans. Read the small print to make sure the plan you are selecting offers what you need. If you need a site builder application to design your website, make sure that the low-cost web host you are picking actually comes with a site builder. Many of them require you to pay for the builder as a separate add-on. Website builders usually don't cost a lot of money, but if you can find a web host that includes one for free, that's money in your pocket. And, if it's integrated with your hosting service, you're more likely to have a smooth, supported experience.
If you're not sure of the type of hosting your business needs, you might want to start small, with shared Web hosting. You can always graduate to a more robust, feature-rich package of, say, VPS hosting or even dedicated hosting in the future. Unfortunately, some hosts don't offer all hosting types. Consider how much you expect to grow your website, and how soon, before you commit to anything longer than a one-year plan. It's worth spending the time up front to make sure that the host you select with is able to provide the growth you envision for your site, as switching web hosting providers midstream is not a trivial undertaking.
Sean Garrity is a Managing Editor at HostingAdvice with more than 10 years of experience researching, writing, and editing for numerous industry-specific trade publications. At HostingAdvice, Sean is charged with orchestrating the site’s content production, overseeing a team of writers, and ensuring the quality of feature and how-to articles. His goal is to keep organizations and entrepreneurs informed on the latest trends and technologies that can help them streamline operations and thrive online. When he isn’t wrapped up in discussions with experts, you can find Sean in front of his monitor, looking for what’s coming next in the fast-changing tech landscape.
Why? Because word of mouth only gets you so far in the internet era. People discover new businesses—even local business—via Bing, Google, and Yahoo. The days when they'd just look you up in the yellow pages are long gone. If you don't have a sharable website address, your chances of building online word of mouth via social networking plummet, too. In other words, no website, no discoverability, no money. Of course, web hosting isn't just for businesses. You may want to host a personal website or blog, too. Either way, the services here have you covered.
Migration or transfer services are often free or offered at a reasonable fee. These services help move your existing site to the new hosting provider. They can save a huge amount of hassle. Just remember that the migration process is often automated, and may fit in with the host's processes and needs rather than yours. Not everything may migrate, and you may find the organization of the newly migrated site makes for harder maintenance in the long run.
As with backups, SSL certificates are not a necessary feature your web host must offer, this is especially so since companies like Let’s Encrypt offer them for free. However, if you’re looking to streamline the process of getting your site fully equipped and online in no time, the extra convenience of getting this certificate from your web hosting provider is a nice add-on.
Because Amazon‘s free web hosting tier doesn’t offer many of the features some of the other web hosts mentioned here do, it may serve us better to look at the pricing surrounding their paid services. We published an article covering Amazon Web Services’s flexible pay-as-you-go model for its cloud infrastructure service. For businesses that don’t want to commit large chunks of their budgets to hosting in the long term, AWS might be a good fit. However, the host does come in as the most expensive option on our list.
In particular, Web Hosting Hub uses BoldGrid as a site builder. BoldGrid is actually an add-on to WordPress, so there's no lock-in. This overcomes the major problem of most site builders: you're locked into that host and that tool, often requiring you to completely rebuild your site if you want to expand. By using a WordPress-based solution, all of the rather considerable power of WordPress is available for future expansion.
There are many ways to build and manage a website – eCommerce platforms, such as Magento or PrestaShop; content management systems, such as Joomla or Drupal; and blogging software, like WordPress, being just a few examples. The web hosting market can accommodate a wide variety of platforms and methods for creating, publishing, and administering web content. Applications can be integrated directly into the web hosting environment, making it simpler to use the site management tool with a given web host.
Website builders and WordPress let you create an online presence with little to no coding knowledge required. If this is what you need for setting up your site, make sure your web host provides integration for the site builder you want to use. Easy installations for WordPress or pre-installed website builders with ready-made templates are ideal for those who want to drag and drop elements of their site into place — where what you see is what you get (WYSIWYG).
Whatever the case, this won’t reflect well on your website or business. If you’re a professional or hobbyist, consider this scenario: your business/blog is mentioned on the radio, TV, or in an article on a highly trafficked site. Suddenly you have 60,000 web visitors . . . and it’s gone. Your site crashes under the stampede. Poof! There goes all that free publicity.