In part one of this series I discussed the importance of web hosting to the overall success of your website as well as what you need to look for in tech support and server up-time. Part two I discussed server load monitoring issues as well as secure areas of your site. Today I'll conclude by talking about free and in-house hosting options.
Free Hosting Services
Free web hosting services, such as Geocities, are not recommended for any business that wants to develop a professional online presence. Leave those free services for hobby and personal sites. If you want your business to thrive on the Internet you need to be able to direct someone to www.yourwebsite.com, not www.geocities.com/~mycoolsite/index.html.
Many companies are bypassing the web hosting providers altogether in favor of hosting their sites on their own in-house servers. There are some definite pros for doing this but I don't recommend going this route unless you have a full-time IT person on staff who is skilled at web server management.
I once flirted with hosting my site in-house. I have a rented in-house file server which comes with ongoing customer support. My tech sold me on the benefits of hosting my site in-house. After moving my site over I quickly realized that there was much more to web hosting than meets the eye. Days went by as I waited for my server tech to set-up proper email functionality and domain redirecting. After about a week with calls to the domain registrar, server tech, and programmer, all saying the problem is somebody else's issue, I return to using a real hosting provider.
In-house hosting also raises site access issues. When hosting in-house the ability for visitors to access and download your site is largely dependant on your local ISP and the connection speed you receive. Even with broadband DSL or cable, typical connection speeds are much slower than can be provided with a quality web host. This can increase download times and create a more sluggish site if you have many visitors at once.
In-house hosting also does not provide you with any kind of uptime guarantee, and in my experience, excellent tech support. Should your server go down, you temporarily lose Internet access, or power goes out, your website will be unavailable to your visitors.
In my experience, quality web hosting is difficult to come by, but is absolutely essential for any business that takes their online marketing efforts seriously. Be sure to research your potential web host providers carefully. Find out what services they provide for free and what you have to pay for. Make sure they provide sufficient tech support, guaranteed uptime, as well as a good reputation from others. If you need to, be willing to pay more for quality service. A little extra each month can help eliminate thousands of dollars in potential lost revenue if your website or email goes down at an inopportune time.
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October 6, 2005
Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.
If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.
Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.
Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.
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