By John R. Levine, Margaret Levine Young

Lots of services will host your website for free or a modest fee. Here are some important considerations for you to think about when choosing a website hosting service:

  • Reliability: Will the service be around for a while? If it’s completely free, consider how likely they are to survive the helter-skelter of Internet startups and ecommerce.

  • Domain name: Do you want your website to have its own name (e.g., dummies.com) instead of using a subdomain of the service (e.g., dummies.wordpress.com)? Most web hosting services can host your domain name, too.

  • Email mailboxes: Do you need one or more email addresses to go with your website? If your website has a custom domain name, you might want email addresses that use the domain name, too. Some website hosts provide mailboxes and some don’t.

  • Responsive, mobile-friendly designs: Will your website look good on smartphones and tablets? Choose a page design that is responsive — that is, responds to the size of the screen or window when displaying your pages.

  • Fancy extras: Does your website need a calendar, a shopping cart, or a Twitter feed that automatically tweets your new blog posts? Some web hosting services provide all kinds of nifty plug-ins and add-ons.

Some website hosting services to consider are Weebly, Google Sites, and WordPress.com.