If you are planning on running a full-fledged online business, I recommend that you pay a monthly fee and sign up for a full-featured account with a company that is primarily concerned with making Web sites like yours available online. A dedicated
Web hosting service (one that does only hosting, and not Internet access) gives you more disk storage space, more services (such as statistics that report on the number of visits to all of the pages in your site, where your visitors are coming from, and so on), and customer service that is (or at least, should be) a cut above that provided by ISPs or free Web hosts.
Typically, your account with a Web host should enable you to get a "vanity" domain name (in the form http://www.mysite.com), anywhere from 50MB to multiple gigabytes of Web space (depending on how much you want to spend each month), as well as multiple e-mail addresses. You may want to look for a hosting package that gives you the ability to process Web page forms by means of computer programs called CGI scripts. You might even get shopping cart software that enables you to set up an online sales catalog from which people can make selections. Your Web host may be able to help you obtain a credit card merchant account as well (see Chapter 9). Each of these types of e-commerce features is a significant step up 7
from a simple Web hosting account, and each carries with it an additional degree of technical complexity. If you are interested in creating an e-commerce Web site, be sure to find a hosting service that will lead you through the process in a user-friendly way without making you set up CGI scripts or other technical features completely on your own.
The following table sums up the Web site alternatives covered in this chapter:
If you want to
Set up this Web site alternative
Let your eBay customers get to know you better An About Me page
Sell items for a fixed price An eBay Store
Have total control over your store and sales An e-commerce Web site
Was this article helpful?