What services do I need for my website?
Here is a list of recurring services you will generally need for your website:
A domain name, for example www.yourname.com, points to your hosting so people can easily remember the address. Costs approximately $15 - $20/yr for most common domains names.
Domain name privacy typically costs an additional $3 - $9/yr and prevents your contact information from being listed publicly.
Hint: Remember to renew your domain name on time each year because expired domain names can be registered by anyone.
Hosting is a specialized computer that is always connected to the Internet. You put your website files on here and your domain name will point to this computer. Ideally, there is close to 0% downtime but realistically, there will always be some minor downtime for server updates and maintenance.
Costs for hosting services vary greatly depending on how many website visitors you recieve and how much data is transmited for each visitor. For a typical small business website, expect to pay about $15 - $25/mo.
Hint: Hosting companies can vary in terms of load speeds based on their network set-up and based on where they are located. Try to find a hosting company based in the same general area your visitors are located.
Support / Maintenance
Website help and additional support/maintenance services (such as backups, software updates, malware monitoring, etc.) are not normally included in hosting. Make sure to purchase support and maintenance services seperately and make sure backups are regularly being made.
Do not skimp out because support and maintenance (including backups) are always needed, and it takes time for a support company to familiarize themselves with your website.
If a developer created your website, they will normally suggest or even require support and maintenance services for a minimum period of time. It is best to use support provided by the developer because they will be the most familar with your website.
Hint: Some companies will offer free hosting with a support package purchase.
Changes you can make yourself will usually be covered by your support package, but sometimes you may require more complex changes completed by a developer. It is important to establish a relationship with a company that you can rely on to make changes to your website when needed, and keep their information handy.
Hint: Pre-purchasing hours in bulk will often get discounts and faster response times. Be sure to ask your website maintenance company if they offer discounts.