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Hosting Options

There was a time when you could host your website for free with an Internet community or your own ISP. However, these days, that is considered unprofessional and sketchy. So, you need to register and pay for your own domain name (e.g.,, etc), and also arrange hosting of the files on a third party server.

Domain registration fees have become much cheaper in recent years (about $10/year or so, although some hosting plans may throw in the domain registration for free). A .ca domain is another option (with more name availability, although a bit more expensive) for Canadian companies or citizens. Most hosts will register your domain name for you when you apply for hosting.

Bear in mind that thousands of new domain names a month are being registered and reserved, either by new web-sites, or by companies who buy them up in the hope of subsequently reselling them, so it is by no means certain that you will be able to use the name you want. You may need to use a little imagination. You can check to see if the domain you want is available using any domain registrar's website (e.g. here or here). You don't have to register the name using these services, this is just for the purpose of checking availability.

Your web-site will need to be hosted by a commercial web hosting company (I do not have this capability myself), which will of course charge you for the privilege. The cost may depend on the maximum size of the site (eg 5MB, 100MB, unlimited, etc), but increasingly it is charged as an all-in flat rate. This may be less than $10/month upwards for a reliable host server, and pricing is usually significantly cheaper if you sign up for 1, 2 or 3 years. Beware, though: some companies charge hundreds of dollars a month, for very little extra! I would also be a bit wary of the REALLY REALLY cheap options. Most hosts also typically provide various services such as e-mail address, CGI and database support, secure servers, etc, some or all of which you may not need.

The choice of which company to use is of course yours, and there are thousands of them out there. If you want more details on commercial web hosting companies, try websites like Hosting Review or HostIndex. I have my own favourites, including the American company Hostmonster - currently the one I use myself - which is both cheap and reliable, and provides pretty much everything you could want (as well as much more you probably don't need), and currently charges as little as $6/mth. But the choice is entirely yours. From past experience, it is usually best if you arrange the hosting and domain name yourself, rather than have me do it for you, so that you do not run into problems with transferring ownership, etc, but I can certainly help you through the process.

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