Where you choose to host your website depends upon the amount of support and services you want to receive. While the absolutely “free” hosting plans provide ALL the service you should need, Russ and I do not recommend this option. Here are a few options to consider.
This post corresponds to our latest podcast episode of “Russ and Randy” – a podcast on Healthcare and Medical Internet Marketing. We hope you like “Solving Your Hosting Dilemma.” You can find us on iTunes.
Website hosting can vary by the degree of maintenance offered by the provider. Maintenance includes security, memory, storage and IT support offered to its customers to ensure their servers work effectively to keep your website up and running.
Here are various scenarios to host your website. The free and dedicated server options are listed for the sake of completion, but neither are really practical for most practices. Most hosting companies offer different levels of hosting based upon the services provided.
- Free Hosting
- Shared or “Self-hosted”
- Managed Hosting
- Dedicated Hosting
Free Website Hosting
Although completely free, we have previously discussed why platforms such as Blogger, WordPress.com, SquareSpace, Wix, etc. are not favorable. Though all the maintenance is provided for free, you have no control over the files which make up your website and have limited functions you can add to your site. Worst of all, you can not optimize (SEO) your site effectively.
Shared or “Self-hosted”
This is probably the most common form of hosting. The basic plans are usually quite inexpensive, but the maintenance services are limited.
With self- hosted plans you’ll need to pick and choose the services you want à la carte. While the basic functions are usually included in a package, you may need to decide about security issues such as malware protection, anti-virus packages and backups. Additional charges will apply and will increase your monthly costs.
Compared to shared or self-hosting, managed hosting services requires the least amount of technical administration and monitoring – they do it all for you. You are free to spend your time worrying only about the content and development of your website.
The fee; however, is higher, but still represents a great value when you consider the freedom your gain in return.
Owning or leasing your own servers is impractical for most small and medium sized practices. Dedicated servers require you perform all maintenance and monitoring, i.e. you will need IT support/staff.
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