In Part 3 of this series, we wrap up other considerations when you are looking for a good web site hosting company.
If you started with this page, it might be a good idea to start with Part 1 of of Selecting a Good Hosting Company. In Part 1 and Part 2 we cover important issues to consider when you are looking for a hosting company.
Search Engine Considerations
Where you host your web site can directly of indirectly affect your search engine rankings. A web site should always be hosted in the same country where you find the majority of your targeted customers. Why? Because search engines use the IP address assigned to your web site’s server, which tells them where a site is hosted. If your focus in on selling products or services to customers in the USA, do not use a hosting service in Canada, Europe or India. Make sure that you know where the server is physically located.
Also, make sure that you register an appropriate domain for the country where you do business. The .com. .net and .org domains are pretty much universally used, but if you intend to focus on customers in France, you should register a .fr ccTLD (country code top level domain) for France. In Canada, register a .ca domain to focus on Canadian customers. This will help your site to achieve higher rankings in that country. One exception to this is the .us ccTLD, which does not appear to give a site an advantage in the USA. Be aware that there are several common domain name misrepresentation for ccTLDs.
E-commerce hosting can be complex. Setting up an e-commerce web site should be left to web development professionals who may recommend specific hosting companies.
The first consideration for an e-commerce site is a shopping cart. A shopping cart is a software/database system that provides all of the necessary functionality and tools required to sell products on the web. Some hosting companies specialize in hosting e-commerce web sites that may include tools to easily install popular shopping carts, such as osCommerce, Zen Cart and others. They may also provide a free SSL certificate, which is required to encrypt transactions if a web site accepts credit cards for payment.
Do you need to use a special hosting company when setting up an e-commerce site? Nope, but it can make the process of setting the site up easier if you have never gone through the process. The total list of requirements and preparation necessary to set up an e-commerce site is so extensive that it cannot be covered here, so it would be wise to consult with a professional before you venture into this area.
Is Free Hosting a Good Idea?
With most scenarios our opinion is no. If the intention is to make money with a web site, you will probably not make money using free hosting. First, free hosting frequently does not allow you to place any ads on your web pages. The free host may place their own ads for which they will earn commissions on your web site. Those ads may interfere with your ability to conduct business because they will typically send users to your competitors. Second, free hosting typically means tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of web sites on each PC-based web server. A poorly performing web site will negatively impact the ability to sell products or services.
If your goal is simply to set up a hobby blog where you do not intend to make any money, free hosting may fit your needs. But if you intend to build a business using free hosting, you will probably be disappointed. It is not hard to find good, reliable hosting services with good technical support for less than $10 per month. Just follow our advice in these articles and you will find it.