Revised with new information as of January 6, 2014

Coyote Communications Technology Tip Sheet Logo

 
Choosing a Web Site Server (host) & URL
associated costs, "free" web sites, domain names, etc.

 
Forget trying to find a free place to host your web site. Later on this page I note all of the reasons a nonprofit, NGO, government agency, school or other mission-based organization should never go with a free web host.

My own web site is hosted by Hostgator, for less than $5 a month, and I'm a very satisfied customer. In addition to lots of web space, I get lots of online reference information and online tutorials, great customer service, and "pop" accounts (allowing me to have email addresses using my own domain name). I highly recommend it to mission-based organizations. In addition, no one at HostGator has ever slaughtered an elephant and the company does not use a sexist advertising campaign to promote itself, something that cannot be said of another popular web hosting company.

Don't worry about choosing a web host now, knowing that, in a few years, even in a few months, you might need more bandwidth than your initial web host can handle; the URL (web address) you choose, if it is your own, is YOURS, and can be pointed to whatever server where your web site resides. My web site, coyotecommunications.com, has had two different web hosts over the years, but my web address never changes!

If your nonprofit absolutely cannot afford five bucks a month, and your Internet provider doesn't include web space in the package you are already paying for, then find a board member, volunteer or other supporter willing to pay this fee for you with a reputible web host.

I do not recommend using a blog space or a social media site like Facebook as your primary web presence, as a substitute for a real web site, because social media sites - even Facebook - go away, and while anyone with Internet access has web access, not everyone is on Facebook or any other social networking site.

I do NOT recommend free web site hosts, EVER, because:

Your organization deserves better than what a free web site host can offer!

If you want your organization's Web site to have advanced functions, like interactive databases, dynamic content (that automatically updates itself), etc., you will need a server that can provide you with these functions. DON'T attempt to buy your own server! The cost of staff time to keep the server up and functional is TREMENDOUS. Instead, use a "virtual" server -- a company that provides you with Web server space. This will be about $25 a month. The company that hosts my web site, Hostgator, has packages that allow your web site to have all these advanced functions.

When considering your Web address (also called a domain name or URL), your Web address should be:

Most web hosting companies will, for an additional fee, get you the domain name you want, if its available. I use dotster.com to see what domain names are available (as well as to see who owns what domain name).

Also see:

 
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