In order to be visable on the Internet, web sites need a place to reside and function. Web sites live on web servers, which are a special kind of computer connected to the Internet. You wouldn’t be able to use your personal computer as a web server as it’s not set up with server functionality.
Web servers are expensive and a lot of work to maintain so most people don’t purchase, keep and maintain their own web servers. Instead they rent space from hosting companies who have them and know how to maintain them. When someone rents space to you on a web server, they are “hosting” your web site. A hosting account is simply a place for your web site to live on the internet.
Web hosting is similar to renting the penthouse apartment in a high rise building for your site to live in and be seen from all around. A web site host provides the virtual “building” from which you rent the “apartment” for your web site.
Not only is having a good host important for running your web site, it’s also important for your sanity. Server issues (translation “site down time”) and bad or slow technical support can be a real headache and can sometimes be costly. Your web designer can more than likely make suggestions and recommendations for reputable hosting companies.
What Should I Look for in a Host?
The most important things to look at when searching for a web site host is up-time reliablity, good technical support & their availability, the features & site administration tools the hosting company offers.
It’s imperative that your host be able to provide the features and support for your web site. Before you sign up with a web host, ask your designer to review the host for you. Even if your designer charges a fee for this, it’s well worth it. The last thing you want to happen is to get your site to the point of taking it live and finding out that the host you selected “isn’t compatible” with your web site.
There are some fantastic web hosting companies out there just as there are not so fantastic hosts. Just about every web designer can probably relate a horror story or two about a web hosting company. Not only do we not like dealing with server issues, it’s not good for our clients.
To make things more convenient for everyone and to avoid as many problems for our clients and ourselves as possible, many of us will find a good hosting company and become a reseller for them. A good hosting company is like gold in my book!
This kind of arrangement usually works out very well for everyone. You as a client are not only pretty much guaranteed of a good host, but you also then have the convenience of dealing with just one person for both your web site and your web site hosting. I’ve got a number of clients who really like this arrangement.
It can also save you money! Most of the designers I know that also do hosting, offer the hosting services to their clients at a very low rate. It’s more a matter of ease and convenience for everyone than it is a money-maker for the designer. If you host your site with your designer’s hosting services, your designer is familiar with the server administration which means any work that needs doing can be done more quickly and efficiently because he or she is working in a familiar environment.