Fundamental to the function of a website, web hosting is the platform that makes your site available to your customers. Web hosting is the combination of technologies and services that help you share information and attract new customers online.
Before going any further, it is absolutely vital to realise that the domain name – the actual website address (like bbc.co.uk) – is completely separate from web hosting. Although it is unusual for your first website, you could choose to buy your domain name separately from a different provider.
So how do you choose a web host?
Decide what your web site is going to do
Before you can choose a web host, you need to decide what your site is going to do. Are you hoping to advertise your business and services, encouraging customers to get in contact (known as a “brochure site”), or do you plan to sell items and take payment online (an e-commerce site)?
An e-commerce site has additional requirements, including an SSL certificate, to protect your customers’ personal details when they make a purchase. You don’t need to know the technical specifics at this point, but when you approach a web host, they will need to know what you hope to achieve so they can recommend a solution that best meets those needs.
Choose a domain name
Your website needs a memorable, descriptive address if it is going to attract customers – so get creative. You may find that your first choice isn’t available, so you may need to play with a few different ideas – use this tool to test them.
Do I need design services?
Building an effective website is increasingly complex because of the number of factors involved. As well as the technology that makes the site run, you need to consider the visual design and the text, which needs to be written in such a way that it is prioritised by search engines.
If you do not have these skills in-house, you should be looking for a provider who can do it for you.
Check the available web hosting packages
With these basic requirements defined, you can begin looking for a web host that can fulfil all three. As discussed in this post, most web hosts offer a range of packages – but you should already have some idea of which best fits your needs. Obviously, a good web host will be able to talk through your requirements and help you narrow down the one that best fits them.
To keep things as simple and cost-effective as possible, your best choice will be a web host who can supply hosting, domain names and web design services as part of a comprehensive package. This not only simplifies the account management process, but will also help to shorten the time it takes to get your new website up-and-running.
For more help and advice on choosing web hosting services, and how Broadband Cloud Solutions can deliver on all of your requirements, please give us a call on 0845 838 1710.
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