This forum was like entering a whole new world when I found it yesterday. It looks like a useful and helpful place. I'm a complete newbie, so this will be a great forum to bookmark.
I've been considering starting a website to sell sports memorabilia, etc., for some time. I figured I would probably use my ISP to host the site. I live in a one-ISP dial-up town (anything else would cost long distance $$). I looked at what my ISP charges for hosting, however, and decided I would look a little deeper to see what's out there. WOW! Lots of great deals, but also a lot of confusion for me.
Here is what my ISP charges:
Virtual Server: $70 setup (includes domain reg. fees), $30/month
Includes 50 megs of storage space capable of Front Page Extensions, FTP access, daily backups, 24 hour site monitoring, focused submission to major search engines, 6 e-mail aliases
E-Commerce Virtual Server: $450 setup (includes domain reg and first year secure certificate fees), $40/month, $130 annual secure certificate fee. Includes 50 megs of storage space capable of FP Extensions, Commerce Server Shopping Cart System with secure order form, administration page to update products in database, etc.
I guess an e-commerce site would be what I need, but the prices from my ISP seem outrageous. So many places (most, it seems) have no setup fees at all. Also, do I have to have a secure certificate? One hosting service I have been looking closely at offers "SSL Secure Server Space" and from the FAQ it sounds like you are able to share their secure certificate (or buy your own and install it, if you want). I just want to make sure I am understanding this correctly before I commit. If I get a merchant account somewhere (Costco seems to have a good deal through Nova) do I have to buy a secure certificate? Or, if the hosting service allows you to use their secure certificate, would this suffice?
Any help would be greatly appreciated!
Well, those prices are really high... you should definately search around. If you're going e-commerce make sure to find a company that offers 24 hour support. Even being down a few hours at night will cost you $$ in lost sales.
Usually, local web hosts charge a bundle. They target beginners just like DotComster has said. Specifically it's not only this forum where you can find great deals, just by searching the web it self can find you a bunch of savings, although this forum is a great start!
Thank you all so much for your replies! While I know I would probably get good customer service from my ISP, I will look for a host that provides good service at a much lower cost.
I appreciate the responses on my question about shared secure certificates and the purchase of my own certificate. I hadn't realized that they could be purchased so inexpensively. I assumed a certificate was a certificate and that they are all the same price universally. I think a shared certificate might be a good way to start out.
I have a lot to learn, but I'm not afraid to read (and search!).