You’ve taken the first step to getting your business online. You’ve chosen and registered a great domain name. That’s awesome – now all you need to do is find a web host.
Let’s take a step back and assume you don’t know a great deal about the world of online business. That’s fine. Everyone was new to it at one point or another, even the most brilliant web developer or most veteran webmaster.
To get your business online, web hosting is your best bet – it basically means you rent space on an Internet-facing server. Your host will generally handle the work necessary to get your site online, and all you need to do is design and configure the website itself. If it helps, you can think of your web host as the digital equivalent of a landlord for a brick and mortar store.
They provide you with the physical space and infrastructure, and you do the rest. But why bother with this whole song and dance, anyway? Why does web hosting even matter?
For a few reasons.
Every Business Needs A Presence On The Web
You might think that you can get away with not having a website. Here’s the thing about that – it’s 2019. Even the older generation of consumers have fully acclimated to the Internet, and as a result, the number of businesses that can get away with not maintaining some sort of web presence is shrinking rapidly.
These days, most people research a business online before deciding to make the trip to a physical outlet. If you don’t have a website, not only will it be more difficult to find any information about who you are and what you do, it’ll also be harder for you to control your branding. You’ll have no say in what your prospective customers do uncover about you.
You Probably Don’t Have The Resources To Self-Host
Web hosting companies are highly-specialized service providers. They already have the necessary infrastructure in place to serve their clientele, including high bandwidth networks and powerful hardware. More importantly, they’re experts at what they do – they know how to navigate the complex technical challenges involved with managing a web server.
That includes managing security threats and development lifecycles, dealing with hardware and software failure to ensure maximum uptime, and walking clients through any issues they may encounter.
Even if you have dedicated IT personnel, self-hosting is a bad idea. It’s extremely costly, incredibly challenging, and rife with security concerns and considerable barriers to entry. Unless you’re running a massive, Fortune 500 company, you’re going to want to choose a reliable web host instead of going the journey alone.
And even then, many large enterprises still choose not to self-host.
Most Hosts Offer Extra Services That Make It Worth Your While
In most cases, when you choose a web host, you aren’t just selecting a faceless web server. You’re signing a partnership with a brand that’s as devoted to your success as you are. Most reputable web hosts provide a ton of value-added services for prospective clients beyond the basics – self-management portals and knowledge bases, full technical support, and so on.
Don’t Go It Alone
Particularly if you’re a small business, you’ve every reason to spring for web hosting over self-hosting, and very few reasons not to. Web hosts simply provide better service and reliability than you can manage on your own, and value-added services only sweeten the pot. Find a good host to work with, and you’ll have your brand on the web in no time.