Many web hosts do include a website builder of some kind — whether a simple “fill out this form” tool that publishes a single page, or a more in-depth program with dozens of templates and customizations — but it’s not the focus of their business. An actual website builder, like SquareSpace or Weebly, will have the most robust set of tools to help you customize your website.
Bluehost was also one of the top performers in our original server performance benchmarks, outpacing every other shared service we tested. It boasted a near-perfect verified 99.99 percent server uptime rating, which means that it’s safe to assume website crashes will be few and far between. Bluehost also offers decent storage and speeds for a bargain price: shared hosting plans start at $3.45 with 50GB of storage space and unmetered bandwidth. For growing websites, Bluehost also offers a clear upgrade path for users who may need to move to a VPS or dedicated server in the future.
If you don't care about having your own domain and don't want to do a lot of behind-the-scenes tweaking, you should really consider one of these online website builders, as they let you create surprisingly attractive yet functional sites hosted under their domains. Furthermore, these services can be incredibly cheap: Some offer free plans, though that generally means you'll have branding on your site for the website builder's company. You can often pay to get your own domain, and that generally removes the branding as well. But if you need some control over your domain and need a little bit more functionality, web hosting is the way to go.
With a VPS or Dedicated server, you get more resources, but also more control over the server itself. Keep in mind that a VPS can be much more complicated to use than your normal cheap web hosting. Managed VPS takes care of a lot of the important back-end stuff like security and monitoring, but you will still be responsible for the overall administration.
Chances are, you fall on one end of the spectrum or the other. If you don’t need much support and can handle the responsibility on your own, you can probably cut costs by choosing an option that doesn’t offer much support. If you’ll need that done for you, however, look for a reliable support team that can handle everything you’ll need it to. (And prepare to pay for the support.)
Once the domain of the über geeky or forward-thinking business owner, having your own website is a very wise move for many of us. You can use that website as a springboard for a burgeoning freelance career in your chosen field, to advertise homemade wares, to provide directions for your wedding, or simply to write down your thoughts and feelings as part of a blog. Having your own web space is wonderfully open ended like that, and a great way to get your name out there in whatever way you wish to be seen.
The first step in building your online presence is finding a web host, the company that will store your website's files on its servers and deliver them to your readers' and customers' browsers. Web hosting services offer varying amounts of monthly data transfers, storage, email, and other features. Even how you pay (month-to-month payments vs. annual payments) can be radically different, too, so taking the time to plot exactly what your company needs for online success is essential. Many of these companies also offer reseller hosting services, which let you go into business for yourself, offering hosting to your own customers without requiring you to spin up your own servers.