What is web hosting?
Web hosting can best be explained as the lease for and use of the building in which you run your business and in which you will install your furniture and products (website content).
It's the renting of an 'online' business premises in much the same way that you would lease a floor of offices in an office building, or a shop space in a local high street.
Most web development agencies buy space to resell to their customers at a premium monthly price. I consider it cheaper and safer for you to go to straight to the main hosting companies -but I will gladly help you with the process.
How much does it cost?
This obviously depends on your needs, which are directly related to the type of website you require. Factors to consider would be your website's probable size, number of users and various other aspects which may require a dedicated server (don't worry, we can learn about this later).
Most of the time, and for most business websites and online projects, a standard package from a good web host is going to suffice, with the main consideration being the amount of allocated storage you may require (but this can always be upgraded later, so -really- don't worry).
A web host package from Hostpapa, for example, is going to cost roughly £2.95 a month, whereas A2Hosting -on their current deal- would cost £4.90 a month.
They each offer much the same package, but with HostPapa you would notice a slower experience on your website.
I personally recommend and use:
I would also recommend EcoHosting after a great experience with them when working on a client's website.
The main thing to remember about the cost, however, is that while the monthly charge can be as little as £3, most web hosts require a year or two up front. This obviously means that the initial website investment, before design and development, is going to cost a few pennies.
Can I switch my web host if I don't like them?
Yes, you can.
Much like any lease, you would still have to pay until the end of your contract -even if the space is unused, but you are more than able to relocate your entire website to a preferred hosting provider.
The one exception to this is in the all too common scenario of a relationship breakdown between a client and a smaller web developer or agency who is providing web hosting. The difficulty here is when the client isn't even sure who is hosting their site or has no access to the web host.
Many businesses have found themselves at the good will of the developer they have fired (awkward).
If you do choose to have your website hosted through your web developer or agency, ensure you have rights to your domain name and access to your website back up files, should you decide to move.
Do you offer web hosting for your clients?
I could...but I don't. However, I am happy to assist you in setting up your web hosting.
The reason I do not offer hosting is because I would merely be leasing space from the web host in order to sub-let it to you -at an increased cost than if you leased it yourself.
I have made the decision that it is in my clients' best interests to provide assistance while leaving them in the safe and reliable hands of the established and recommended web hosts.
I do, however, have affiliate relations with web hosts I either use, trust or recommend. Please consider linking to them from my website in order to credit me with the sale, which would be helpful...but, read the reviews and have a chat first.
The one exception I would make is if you really need to get online, but can't afford the UP FRONT payment of a year or two which most web hosts demand. I would consider helping you by arranging a monthly fee type of web hosting, which you won't get from the hosts themselves. Please get in touch if this might be helpful to you!