Ask a Geek: How Do I Pick A Company To Host My Website?

Website Host
Dave Helfrey

Three words: Reliability, flexibility, simplicity. No matter what, you want a Web host that never goes offline, so make sure it guarantees uninterrupted uptime. Beyond that, you'll first need to identify the features you want your site to have. If all you require is yourname.com and an easy way to post text and images, try a free service like Wordpress.com. It offers automated site design, a choice of 76 themes, and the ability to add and edit pages with the click of a button. For additional basic functions, such as a personalized e-mail domain, look at super-cheap options like GoDaddy.com. For more-specialized applications like, say, creating a database for tracking Little League statistics, look for hosting solutions in the $7-to-$10 monthly price range. Dreamhost.com and Bluehost.com use Wordpress's simple system for adding text and photos, and have unlimited storage, custom database support, FTP access (handy for home PC backups), e-mail discussion lists, video file streaming and online photo-gallery software. Also consider paying for a host that lets you install shopping-cart software and run advertising on your site, which could more than offset the fee.