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Things to Consider About Domain Hosting
Having a domain name and website without a domain hosting service is like having a party with no host. You need it!
You can have your website hosted for free, but like the saying goes, there's no such thing as a free lunch. Most free domain hosts earn their revenue through pop up ads, which more often than not annoy your users. You also don't get the additional service a paid domain hosts provides, and "free" today could well be "pay" tomorrow.
There are several domain hosting companies out there who want your business, so here are some basic ideas about what to look for when choosing your domain host.
Consider the speed and average percentage your site will be available. You should look for a domain hosting company who can offer a high percentage (95% or higher) of "up time" vs. "down time". Make sure their connection is at least a T1, and that your site won't be sharing server space with a lot of other sites.
How much space do you need to buy? 10MB is usually enough, but you need to consider what your site's growth forecast is and plan accordingly.
How much use is your site going to see? Try to negotiate monthly rates, not per-hit rates, because if your site all of a sudden becomes much more popular than it used to be, you want that to be a good thing, helping and not hurting your bottom line. If you expect a low amount of traffic, you can save money with a per-hit rate.
Consider CGI-bin directory access. Depending on how complex your site is, you'll probably want to create forms. Make sure the domain host can support your scripts, and that you have unlimited directory access.
Do you want email to go to your URL? If this is important, consider a domain hosting service that includes virtual hosting or email forwarding (to your designated address) that allows you to use the URL as the email address.
Consider web-based administration if you're unfamiliar with web programming. A domain hosting provider that assists with website administration is important if you don't know or don't want to learn HTML.
You should also consider the level of customer support provided by the domain hosting company. What is the likelihood you can talk to someone if there is a problem? They should also be able to provide you with your site's traffic statistics so you can know how well you are doing.
There are many other things to consider when choosing a domain hosting service, so do your research and some comparison shopping and you'll soon have a website party with the host of your dreams.