The prices of domain name registration and web hosting have dropped to the point that it’s possible to own multiple websites without going broke. If you plan to operate multiple websites, here is some information on the different options available to you.
The first thing to consider when setting up multiple websites is whether or not to host them all with the same web hosting company. Many web hosts offer packages that let you set up multiple sites on a single account and almost all will let you set up multiple accounts, one for each site.
If you are happy with the hosting company you’re using for your existing website(s), one advantage of using them for another site is the fact that you know they offer good service and support.
They might also offer discounts for multiple sites, so your costs might be lower if you stay with them again.
On the other hand, if you choose a different host you’ll be able to compare the quality of another company with whomever you’re currently using. If you ever run into problems with them, you’ll have an alternative. It’s wise not to “put all your eggs in one basket” as the saying goes.
Another advantage of using a different host is that you’ll get a different IP address for each of your sites. If your sites are related to one another and you want to link them together, having different IP addresses can sometimes help your site rank higher in the search engines.
Links from other sites are one of the most important factors in getting your site ranked highly. If those links come from sites on the same IP address, it is a signal to the search engines that they are quite likely all owned by the same person, and they may discount the value of those links.
If you do choose to host all your sites with one company, there are essentially 3 choices – separate accounts for each site, a reseller account where they are all hosted or a dedicated server, again where they are all hosted.
Separate accounts are self-explanatory, so let’s look at reseller accounts. As a reseller, you are basically acting as an agent for the hosting company – a middleman between them and the end user.
The idea is that you can set up your own company offering web hosting that is ultimately hosted by the company. You don’t have to resell this hosting however – you can use the hosting services for your own websites, essentially “reselling” the hosting to yourself.
A reseller account is nice because all your websites are “under one roof” and you have a single point of contact for any technical problems.
Hosting on a dedicated server gives you complete control of the computer that is the web server. You can install any software you want, any operating system you want and you can allocate resources like memory and hard disk space however you want to divide it up between your sites.
The disadvantage of a dedicated server is that you are responsible for maintaining the server and sometimes even for the technical side of things. If you aren’t familiar with the technical side of running a web server, you may need to choose a managed dedicated server, where the hosting company looks after these issues.
Dedicated server are, of course, more expensive than the other options, so unless your websites are well established, with a lot of traffic, they may not fit within your budget.