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Step 3: Host Your Own Web Site or Work with a Web Hosting Service?

The Web site you build must be stored on a computer that has a reliable, secure connection to the Internet. Hosting a Web site means providing the technical resources (the computer hardware and operating system, the networking equipment, the Internet connection, etc.) needed to make your Web site available to your customers. You can either host your own Web site or hire a Web hosting company, such as thePlanet, Interland, Rackspace to host your site. There are advantages and disadvantages to both.

Hosting Your Own Site Advantages: You are in complete control. You have unlimited flexibility: you choose your own hardware, operating system, database, and other tools. You do not have to learn another company's Web hosting procedures. You will not pay additional charges for hard disc storage space or bandwidth usage.

Disadvantages: Purchasing and maintaining computer hardware and software can be expensive. Obtaining a reliable, fast connection to the Internet can be very expensive. You will need a high degree of technical knowledge, and if you have any problems, you're on your own.

Working with a Web Hosting Service
Advantages: Reliable and secure computer hardware with a fast connection to the Internet. Low start-up costs and relatively inexpensive monthly fees. You can get your Web site online much faster. Technical support is often free or available at a nominal charge. Purchase only the services you need and add more as your business grows.

Disadvantages: You are limited to the software and hardware options the hosting service offers. Monthly fees may vary depending on how many customers visit your Web site. Not all hosting services are created equal: it takes some research to find a reputable company that will be a trusted advisor and help you grow your business.

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