The 2016 Technology Checklist continues…
“Hosting” is a term attributed to keeping your website visible on the internet. Any website on the internet is sitting on a “host” including the major sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. There are all kinds of hosts from good to bad, small to big, secure to insecure, and everything in between.
If you are in the market for a host, you’ll want to pay attention to the details since distinguishing factors in hosts include government regulations and data security. Some hosts are small startups comprised of a few college graduates who just set up a few servers and aren’t too concerned if your files get hacked since they assume your website is a toy. Other hosts specialize in securing data to HIPAA or SOX compliance standards which increases associated costs since they require more human skill and manpower. There are loads of choices but I’m only covering two for time constraints: Weebly, AWS and HostGator.
The Weebly website is the simplest interface I have come across for creating a quick website. Plain and simple – you enter your business name then choose a related template that fits the look you prefer. There are very few technical details to understand for this website. Because it’s so simple, most support is self-directed using a support based forum. The downside of simple is a higher cost in monthly fees and little help.
If you want to custom build your website, have source code access using electronic file transfer abilities (FTP), or the ability to create a WordPress website then a host like HostGator is a good start. HostGator may be a funny name but they’re one of the larger and more affordable US based firms – located in Houston, TX to be exact. I feel they’re a good start for non-compliant small businesses. The downside of many hosts like HostGator is lack of bandwidth expansion. Only so much internet (bandwidth) can get through the pipes to a server so your website goes dead if too much traffic hits it at once.
Think of AWS as HostGator on steroids. Expansion through AWS (Amazon Web Services) is a superb feature for a moderate cost since it expands bandwidth as needed. Where does this make a difference? Imagine you spend a few thousand dollars airing late night TV commercials for a product. Traditional hosting only allows as much traffic as the server and bandwidth can handle which means your server freezes up and won’t respond if it gets too many customers at one time. An AWS expandable server will keep taking as many customers as come since it “expands” on the fly. You, the customer, pay for what is used so you will pay more for all the visitors, but it’s well worth the cost since losing those customers to a dead website would mean losing revenue.
So as you can see, there are many answers and many more questions. You’ll have to put some research into it and find the right answer for your project.