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If you want your web site to be visible to the world,  you have to store it on a web server.

Most small businesses and companies store their web site on a server provided by an Internet Service Provider (ISP).

Hosting Your Own Web

Hosting your web site on your own server is always an option. Here are some problems to consider:

Hardware Expenses

To run a "real" web site, you will have to buy some powerful server hardware. Don't expect that a low cost PC will do the job. You will also need a permanent (24 hours a day ) high speed connection to your office, and such connections are expensive.

Software Expenses

Don't forget to count the extra cost for software licenses. Remember that server licenses often are much higher than client licenses. Also note that some server software licenses might have limits on number of concurrent users.

Labor Expenses

Don't expect low labor expenses. Remember that you have to install your own hardware and software. You also have to deal with bugs and viruses, and keep your server constantly running in an environment where "everything could happen".

Using an Internet Service Provider

Renting a server from an Internet Service Provider (ISP) is a common option. Here are some advantages:

Connection Speed

Most providers have very fast connections to the Internet, like full T3 fiber-optic 45Mps connections equivalent to about 2000 traditional (28K) modems or 1000 high speed (56K) modems.

Powerful Hardware

Service providers often have many powerful web servers that can be shared by several companies. You can also expect them to have an effective load balancing, and necessary backup servers.

Security and Stability

Internet Service Providers are specialists on web hosting. Expect their servers to have more than 99% up time, the latest software patches, and the best virus protection.

Things to Consider

24-hour support

Make sure your Internet service provider offers 24-hours support. Don't put yourself in a situation where you cannot fix critical problems without having to wait until the next working day. Toll-free phone could be vital if you don't want to pay for long distance calls.

Daily Backup

Make sure your service provider runs a secure daily backup routine, otherwise you may lose some valuable data.

Traffic Volume

Study the provider's traffic volume restrictions. Make sure that you don't have to pay a fortune for unexpected high traffic if your web site becomes popular.

Bandwidth or Content Restrictions

Study the provider's bandwidth and content restrictions. If you plan to publish pictures or broadcast video or sound, make sure that you can.

Email Capabilities

Make sure your provider fully supports the email capabilities you need. (You can read more about email capabilities in a later chapter)

Front Page Extensions

Make sure your provider fully supports FrontPage server extensions if you plan to use FrontPage to develop your site.

Database Access

Make sure your provider fully supports the database access you need if you plan to use databases from your site. (You can read more about database access in a later chapter)

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