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The first practical step towards setting up an online business is to find a good web hosting company. A web hosting company will store your website files on its servers for you.

In this article I will discuss five different web-hosting options that you are likely to encounter when searching for a web hosting company. I will  explain the benefits of each one.

1. Shared Hosting

With shared hosting, websites belonging to many different clients are hosted on a single server.  The main benefit of shared hosting is economy.

If you are on a tight budget and do not yet have a big following, then shared hosting will be the best option for you. Shared hosting is adequate for the needs of most small businesses.

If you want to run several different websites, each with its own domain name, make sure the shared-hosting package you choose allows you to host multiple domains on a single account.

Nowadays you can find plenty of reasonable quality shared hosting packages for less than $10 a month.

2. Dedicated Hosting

Dedicated hosting is where your account is the only one hosted on an entire server and you can access the root directory, choose your own operating system and install your own scripts. It is also the most expensive web hosting option. Clearly, this is an option for high-end users and medium to large businesses with big budgets for Internet marketing services.

Dedicated hosting prices vary from $60 per month to over $200 per month.

3. Semi Dedicated Hosting

Semi-dedicated hosting is a compromise option that falls between shared hosting and dedicated hosting. You do not have all of the server to yourself, but there are just a handful of other sites on the server, so you get more disk space and more bandwidth. The server your site is hosted on will be a higher-end server than for shared hosting accounts.

Semi-dedicated hosting is the best option for small business owners who are looking to upgrade from shared hosting without going to the expense of buying dedicated hosting.

4. VPS Hosting

VPS (Virtual Private Server) is for more tech-savvy users as it gives you full root access to the server so you can install your own scripts, just like fully dedicated servers.

However, as with semi-dedicated and shared hosting, there are several different websites on a single server. The key here is that each “virtual server” is made fully private and separate from the other VPS accounts on the server. That means each VPS account can be configured and restarted without affecting any of the other sites on the server.

VPS hosting is a good option for businesses that handle confidential data and require resource-heavy applications.

If you have technical expertise and want to run your own scripts, but are not ready for the expense of a fully dedicated service, then VPS  hosting would be the best option for you

5. Managed WordPress Hosting

WordPress is one of the most versatile open source blogging and content management systems on the Internet today. WordPress gives you the choice of hosting your blog on their own servers ( or self-hosting your own WordPress blog.

Self-hosting is the way to go if you want to run your own WordPress business blog. If you do not host your blog with a web-hosting, you cannot call the blog your own – it remains the property of WordPress, and is subject to their terms of service. That means they have the right to take down your blog any time they decide it is in breach of their terms of service, and terms of service can be changed very quickly.

So, if you really want to own and have complete control over your WordPress blog, “self hosting” (which means using the services of a web-hosting company to host your blog) is the way to go.

Many web hosting companies include easy WordPress installation as part of their package of services, such as Fantastico, which enables anybody to install WordPress as their content management system quickly and easily with just a few clicks of their mouse.

However, WordPress installers are notorious for their security risks.

Another alternative is to host your WordPress site with a managed WordPress hosting service and this is my personal recommendation to anybody wanting to start a business blog.

Managed WordPress hosting services specialize in hosting, securing and maintaining sites that use the WordPress content management system. Typically, managed WordPress hosting services will be a few dollars per month more expensive than shared hosting services, but the extra investment is well worth it if you are looking for an extra layer of security (as you should be) and much less down-time for your WordPress blog.

For anybody who wants to run a WordPress site, which I believe is the best option for business bloggers, I recommend the hosting services offered by Site Rubix. In fact, this is now the ONLY hosting service I wholeheartedly endorse, based on my own experience of several years of self-hosted WordPress blogging:

There are plenty of other content management systems to choose from, such as Drupal and Joomla. In each case, you can choose between running them on shared, dedicated or VPS hosting services, or choosing a managed hosting service that specializes in your preferred content managment system.

Too many people buy web hosting services without being fully aware of the options that are available, and what those options mean. If you are thinking about investing in a web hosting service, I hope this article helps to clarify some of the different hosting options available to you.

David Hurley

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Insider's Guide To Working At Home On The Internet by David Hurley

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Affiliation Disclosure (HBW) offers tips and advice to anybody who wants to run a successful home-based online business.

In offering advice HBW will sometimes link out to appropriate websites. Some of those links will be affiliate links. HBW will receive a commission from any website that traces the sale back to HBW via the affiliate link.

David Hurley