Choosing a Web Site Server (host) & URL
associated costs, "free" web sites, domain names, etc.
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. I've used Network Solutions and Dotster as well for domain registration, but they also offer web hosting.
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. So don't worry if you choose a web host now and, in a year or two, want to move it. Just make sure, before you pay a web host, that you ask, "Do I own the URL, or do you?"
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 WordPress as your primary web presence, as a substitute for a real web site, because social media sites - even Facebook - go away.
I do NOT recommend free web site hosts, EVER, because:
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:
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