You’ve bought your domain and designed your new website. But you still need to make it available to the outside world — and that’s where web hosting comes in. Web hosting is a service that provides the technologies and services needed for the website or webpage to be viewed on the internet. A web host allows you to post your new website on the internet; the provider allows you to store your website, and all its associated data, on its servers. Web hosting can be inexpensive if you choose a shared hosting company, which may host several websites on a single server, with minimal services. The more traffic your site gets and the more bandwidth it requires for hosting, the more expensive the service becomes — and the more important it is to have enterprise-grade features, such as automatic backups, website security and round-the-clock tech support.
Several large hosting companies, such as GoDaddy.com, offer affordable, basic web hosting services for small businesses. For example, the starter plan for one website includes 100 GB of storage, a business email account, and a domain name (with an annual plan) for $4-$8 per month. The company’s Ultimate plan, which is designed for more complicated sites with heavy traffic, costs $8-$17 per month; it includes an unlimited number of websites, unmetered storage and bandwidth, a business email account, a free domain, and security services. A service like GoDaddy.com requires that you have your website designed and ready for hosting.
Web design and development
Many businesses choose a website developer or a web consulting firm that offers both design and hosting services, such as Levi Marketing in Saint Paul, Minnesota, Manna Sites in Seattle, Washington, or Digital Vision Marketing in New Braunfels, Texas. These companies offer a variety of services to build and maintain enterprise-class websites that gain traffic and enable e-commerce, from web design and hosting to site maintenance to search engine optimization (SEO) services.
Business web hosting
In general, web hosting providers offer a range of professional plans to meet the needs of organizations of all sizes. For instance, Levi Marketing has three plans to choose from, each of which can be used with either a Linux or Microsoft Windows platform:
Economy: Starting at $8 per month, this plan includes one website, 100 GB of storage, unlimited bandwidth, 100 business email accounts and 10 MySQL databases.
Deluxe: Starting at $11 per month, this plan includes unlimited websites, storage, and bandwidth; 500 email accounts; and 25 MySQL databases.
Ultimate: Starting at $17 per month, this plan includes unlimited websites, storage, and bandwidth; 1,000 email accounts; an unlimited number of MySQL databases; and premium security services.
Uptime guarantee and security
Many hosting services also offer a 99.9 percent uptime guarantee, an easy-to-use control panel, and 24/7 security monitoring and protection from distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.
Some full-service web shops also offer domains, ranging from $1 (for the first year) to $20 per year; secure sockets layer (SSL) certificates for $65 per year; WordPress blog hosting for $8 per year; and additional privacy and security services for $8 per year.