Find a Gracious Host
If you just don't want to deal with any of this yourself, you can have someone else host your site. In fact, most Web sites-from personal home pages to large-scale corporate sites-are hosted on someone else's computer system.
Outsourcing can often be cheaper and less time-consuming than deploying and maintaining your own site. And hosting companies can provide scalable resources and advanced technical skills you may lack.
Almost all ISPs offer customers a couple of free megabytes of server space. That's enough for learning about Web design and creating simple sites. The drawbacks are a clunky Web address such as www.provider.com/users/~your name, no access to CGI scripts, and possible prohibition from including business materials.
Hosting services for commercial sites offer more advanced options, and they can help you register a more appropriate virtual domain name (such as www.mycompany.com). Typically, you're responsible for site content, while the hosting company maintains the server and all Internet connections. Many companies can also provide soup-to-nuts technical assistance for developing and maintaining your site. Costs start around $100 a month and can run into the thousands, depending on the amount of server space you need, the volume of traffic your site generates and special services you may require.
Hundreds of companies offer Web-site hosting, including online services and regional and national ISPs.
Key things to look for in a host are price, reliability and performance. Ask for details about its network operations-how they're maintained and how they're linked to the Internet. Find out how many other sites it's hosting and check customer references. Check access to technical support, availability of usage reports and security options. Finally, ask hosting companies about their support and practical experience with any special services you require, such as electronic commerce and audio or video support.