The first step in creating your very own website is to figure out who is going to host the site. Think of this like finding a place to live in the real world. You could stay with some friends, rent a place, or buy your own house. Web sites are your “home” on the internet. The first page people encounter when they come to your site is your home page.
Your first option is to stay with friends. On the internet there are a number of sites that will let you include your web pages as a subset of their site. Three very popular sites like this are Squido0.com, Blogger.com, and WordPress.com. All three have a good reputation and many people take advantage of their free page hosting. The problem with these is that you have little control over your environment. Just like if you were living with a friend, if you try to run a business from this space that they don’t approve of, or competes with their interests, they can ask you to leave.
A better solution and the one used by most businesses is to rent their on-line home. There are hundreds and hundreds of web hosting companies. These companies own vast arrays of computers and these lease space on these computers. If you are just starting out you would probably lease space on a shared server where a number of websites are being hosted by a single computer. Think of this as reanting an apartment in an apartment building. If your internet business is doing well and your customer bandwidth starts to exceed what a shared server can provide, you move up to a dedicated server. Similar to renting a single family house instead of the apartment.
The hosting company that I personally use the most is www.GoDaddy.com . They provide excellent service at a very reasonable cost. They provide “dashboard” pages on their website. These dashboards allow you to control your domain (your address on the web) and to load a wide variety of software that they provide at no additional cost that you need to run your site if you don’t want to code web pages by hand. Two other companies that I have used that also provided good service to my clients are 1and1.com and siteground.com. Another company that I have heard alot about but haven’t tried yet myself is Hostgator. I’m told if you’re Looking for Web Hosting With Quality Support? 24/7 Support Via Phone, Live Chat, and Email! that they are very competitive.
The ultimate in web site ownership (if you can afford it), is to own your own server hardware. This provides the most control over your web environment. On the down side it also means that you need to pay a bit more for your internet access because you will need what is called a “dedicated IP address” from your internet provider. There is also the added cost for the server hardware. If you are not technically savy you will also need to hire someone on at least a part-time basis to setup and manage the hardware for you. This is ussually only an option for bigger companies that can afford to support their own hardware.