To start an online business from your home, you will first need to set up your business web hosting. There are thousands of choices for web hosting services. Which type of web hosting service will work best for your business will depend on the type and needs of your online business, and what you will need your website to do for you and your customers.
To determine your basic web hosting needs, ask yourself the following questions:
Will a Shared Web Hosting Service Work for You?
Shared web hosting, which is provided by a web hosting service for many websites on one web server, is sufficient and cost effective for most websites. Each separate website will have its own section on the web hosting service's server. By dividing up the server resources, such as storage space and bandwidth, among several customers, the web hosting service can offer lower prices to its customers. If your website will require its own dedicated server, you will need to pay a higher price for your web hosting service.
Will You Need a Shopping Cart?
Decide if your website will need a shopping cart to sell retail products. If you are starting an ecommerce business that will sell products online, you will need to set up a shopping cart. You will need to use a web hosting service that will provide ecommerce software such as os-commerce.
How Much Storage Will Your Website Require?
If your website is going to include large photos or videos, you will need a web hosting service that provides large amounts of storage.
How Many Email Addresses Will Your Company Need?
Web hosting services can provide different packages with different amounts of email addresses and storage space for your business needs.
How Much Technical Assistance Will You Need?
If you are not a webmaster, and you are creating a robust website with multiple pages, you should find a web hosting service that offers user-friendly set-up software, instructions, and a customer forum so you will be able to ask other users for help with technical issues.
What is Your Domain Name?
You will need to work with a domain name registration company to help you with choosing a domain (and purchasing a domain name for your website). It is recommended that you use a domain name registration company that is not affiliated with the web hosting service that you choose--just in case you decide to switch web hosting services at a later date.
Which Web Hosting Services Are Similar Businesses Using?
One way to get referrals for a web hosting service is to search for online businesses that are similar to yours (but not direct competitors), and ask them which web hosting service they use. Find out if they are satisfied with the features their web hosting service provides. You can learn a lot about web hosting services through free customer testimonials, and increase your networking contacts at the same time.
Be sure to test your new web hosting service for a few months before you sign any long-term contracts. That way, if the web hosting service you try does not meet your needs, you can easily switch hosting services without having to pay any penalties.