Web hosting provider
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Anyone with a computer and an internet connection can host a website, but using a professional supplier comes with a huge range of benefits. The best providers have fantastic security, lots of space, reliable customer service and minimal downtime. When choosing a website hosting service, you will need to think about what it is your website needs and how much you are willing to spend per year.
What does a web host actually do?
The host of your website stores all of your website's files and allows the public to access them. Your host will allocate you a certain amount of data, which determines how large your website can be and how many images, videos and sound files it can contain, and a certain amount of bandwidth, which determines how fast those files will load and how many visitors can use your website at one time. As your site grows in size and audience, you will need to upgrade your hosting services to keep up with the demand.
Most web hosts will also offer email registration and hosting, which allows you to set up custom email addresses using your web domain name – such as email@example.com. This adds extra credibility to your business and can be easily integrated with your preferred email client, whether that be Microsoft Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird, or anything else.
Should I be paying for my web hosting?
There are websites out there which offer to host your site for free, but usually this comes at the cost of letting them use your site for advertising. Often you won't get much say over the type of advertising that will be done on your website, so it is generally better to choose a paid host who is within your budget. Alternatively, you may consider hosting your website yourself – though this can be quite technical and it's likely that your website will not be as fast or reliable as it otherwise might be.
What should I be looking for in a website host?
Other web hosting considerations:
Your web host provides you with space to store your content, but they don't provide you with a web address. If you want people to find your site, you need a domain name – these can be purchased cheaply online if they are freely available, but expect to pay more if you want a name that has already been registered.
Your web host gives you access to the back end of your website, and from there is is easy to change or remove any content you see fit. It is important you do not allow untrusted or unqualified employees to have your access details, or else they may damage or destroy your site.