Hosting is the rental of computer space that can serve your author website to eager readers. Essentially, you get both a domain name and hosting package and put your website there when it’s ready. The hosting provider loads it up for anyone that comes calling.
To get hosting, visit any of a hundred shared hosting providers (suggestions below), and purchase a low-cost shared hosting plan. They will usually run $4-10 per month and are very easy to set up. Once you have purchased hosting (rented space on a computer that serves the internet), you can get your website rolling.
You’ll also pay for a domain name (about $15 per year), which is the human-friendly shorthand for the way that users find your site (i.e. impact100.org) instead of typing an IP address, which is how computers identify websites.
Choosing a domain at Godaddy
Many hosting providers will even throw in a free domain with your hosting account purchase, so you can save that fifteen bucks. As you’re checking out for your hosting, a screen will generally pop up asking you to claim a free domain. Note that this is generally just free for one year, and you’ll have to pay around $15 per year to renew after that.
Suggested hosting providers:
- GoDaddy – The world’s largest hosting provider, and has great personal support with real human beings. Free domain for one year with hosting account. Economy hosting is about $4 per month for the first year ($8 per month after the first year).
- Dreamhost – Great low-cost hosting beloved by many web developers. Their support is email only unless you pay for a call, so it’s not quite as good as Godaddy on the service side. Shared hosting is about $10 per month.
- A2Hosting – A newer outfit out of Ann Arbor, Michigan, these folks have been making a name for themselves for fast, low-cost hosting and great service. Economy hosting starts at about $5 per month.
- Network Solutions – Has been around forever, and has personal phone service for customers. A bit more pricey, but they are a great company to work with. Basic hosting is about $10 per month.
- 1&1 Hosting – Another long-standing hosting provider that offers a great intro rate of $1 per month for the first year for basic hosting. After the first year, it jumps to about $8 per month. Have had a few troubles with their system in recent months, so caveat emptor.