The flip side of that coin is specialization. Many operators believe that hosted email services are useful mainly to companies interested only in general-purpose email use and that any specialized application requires an in-house deployment. This might be true depending on the app but it might not depending on the capabilities offered by the hosted email provider. Email marketing is a great example. Some hosted email providers have special service suites aimed specifically at email marketers, many of whom can send out thousands of emails per month, focused not so much on communication as they are on marketing. These service providers deliver more than just volume, too, as they also offer custom email creation tools and sophisticated marketing and tracking metrics.
Investing in a virtual private server, or VPS hosting, can be a nice middle ground between shared and dedicated server hosting. As is the case with shared hosting, a VPS host hosts multiple sites per server, but fewer sites are on each server. This raises the cost, but it’s still less expensive than most managed web hosting services or renting your own dedicated server.
Along with specialized uses for email, you should investigate how your users are emailing on a daily basis. Email has come a long way in 40 years and the way people use it has significantly evolved. That's important because it will impact the tools and features you need to look for in your hosted email provider's client software. Sure, Microsoft Outlook is still the most popular on-site email client, but a fast-increasing number of today's email users are opting for other email clients, such as Thunderbird, or all-web clients, such as Google's hugely popular Gmail. These clients can be very sophisticated and, depending on what your users are doing with email, they can have a big impact on your day-to-day business process.
Bluehost uses cPanel as its site management system. The Utah-based company has done an excellent job adding simple, but useful customizations to the cPanel layout. Sections are very clearly laid out and the process is simple to follow. It strikes a great balance between simplicity for beginners, and having the functions needed for more advanced users.
If you're not sure of the type of hosting your business needs, you might want to start small, with shared Web hosting. You can always graduate to a more robust, feature-rich package of, say, VPS hosting or even dedicated hosting in the future. Unfortunately, some hosts don't offer all hosting types. Consider how much you expect to grow your website, and how soon, before you commit to anything longer than a one-year plan. It's worth spending the time up front to make sure that the host you select with is able to provide the growth you envision for your site, as switching web hosting providers midstream is not a trivial undertaking.
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