Before you launch your business's Web site, you need to have somewhere to put it. With Web-hosting companies as common as banner ads these days, most Net start-ups prefer to let a hired hand do the dirty work rather than mess with it themselves. But e-commerce services add up, and getting the features you want can involve a lot of hassle and moolah. At least there are other options: If you're technically inclined (or want to hire someone who is), you can host your site yourself.
The basic requirement for this is a Web server. Loosely put, a Web server is a combination of hardware and software that holds your Web site in memory and then farms it out through an Internet connection to browsers on the Web. Choosing the right Web server can mean the difference between uptime and downtime, as well as between making money and losing money.