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The different ways to host a website

Updated on February 14, 2016

For anyone that’s starting a business in this day and age it is crucial that they have a website to show off the products that they sell, or for the services that they provide. When it comes to having your own website, there are two options that you can proceed down. This would registering a site as a subdomain, or hosting the site yourself. In this Hub, we will look at both options.

Heading down the subdomain route

If you choose to build a website off a pre-existing one, this is normally a free option. This includes platforms such as Blogger, Wordpress.com, Tumblr and Yola. These are all great sites to use as a starting point.

However, they are better suited to blogs, or as a means of search engine optimisation, rather than making your own website off of it. The reason for this is that by and large when it comes to free platforms, you are assigned a subdomain. I.e. your website address would end up being example.wordpress.com. Depending on what your business is, it doesn’t look very professional since it is clear you have not spent the money on building a dedicated site.

Having said that, you are able to buy your own domain for the sites listed above and thus remove the subdomain. However, you are still left at the mercy of the website that you are piggy backing off of in terms of updates and also the customisation options that are available to you.

Heading down the shared/dedicated hosting route

In comparison, it is also possible to build your website and host it yourself. There are two options when it comes to hosting the website yourself in that you can either choose shared hosting or dedicated hosting.

Both offer the same benefits which will be listed below. However, in the case of shared hosting, your website will be hosted on a server along with other websites. The downside to this is that you may be restricted to the amount of traffic your site is allowed to receive each month.

In comparison, with a dedicate hosting option, your site is hosted on its own on a server. The benefit of this is that you have unlimited bandwidth and therefore traffic to your site. Also, if you have various websites as a means of doing business, a dedicated server would prove to be a better option. This is due to the fact that if all of your sites were hosted on the same server under the same plan and there was a significant amount of server downtime then it means that no one will be able to visit any of your sites.

This could be severely detrimental to the amount of revenue that you are able to bring in and whilst the risk of a large amount of server downtime is rare, it may still happen.

The benefits of hosting a site yourself

Whilst hosting a site yourself isn’t free, it is a lot better than going down the free route. One of the most versatile platforms you can use to make your website is Wordpress (the .com version is the free option, whereas the .org version requires a hosting plan), however some choose to use different platforms instead. Regardless of which plan you use though, the benefits of paying for and hosting a website yourself are the same.

The first is that you will get the first domain name for free for a year. Whilst this isn’t a massive saving, every little saving really does help. Linked to the domain name is the fact that you can opt in for domain privacy of a website. What this means is that if someone performs a WHOIS request on the site, your personal information will remain safe and secure. This can be particularly useful if you value your privacy online and are conducting a business whereby you would prefer for people not knowing your own personal address and contacting you there.

Further, when you opt to go down the self hosted route, you are also able to set up your own email address that will be tied to your website. I.e. it may be admin@yourdomainname (and then .com, .co.uk, .net etc). This further adds an air of professionalism to your website.

By hosting your own site, included in the yearly price will be a site backup option. This will allow you to restore your website to a point in time of your choice which is highly useful should you make a change to your site which renders its inaccessible.

This can usually occur when someone changes a crucial part of a website theme in a way that the site will not load at all. Whilst this customisation is also a huge advantage of hosting a site, it should be used with caution when changing certain files.

Lastly, hosting your own site also gives you the freedom to host adverts and affiliate programs on it in order to earn revenue from it. This is something that is not possible on all of the free website platforms. If it is the case that you will be basing a large amount of your income on advertising and affiliate revenue, it is a must that you end up going down the route of a self hosted site.

Choosing a provider

When choosing a provider to host your site, it is crucial that you look at their terms of service to make sure that you are able to do what you want with your site using their servers. Some prohibit certain topics such as anything classed as adult entertainment and hosting nudity based sites. Whilst the top 10 web hosting companies frequently change, it is still important to investigate each of them.

It would also be worthwhile checking out if any of them give cash back or give you vouchers for advertising networks such as Google Adwords, Bing or even Facebook. This can help in expanding the viewership of your site and won’t cost you any extra in payments since it is included as a sign up gift.

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