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Running an adult content website is often a highly profitable endeavor, but only if you do your homework properly. You need a host and server that can handle the sizable media and constant streaming, while at the same time allowing hosting of adult content and maintaining a legal and secure status.

Using your existing hosting plan or a free plan

If you already have a hosting account, your first order of business will be to find out whether or not your provider even allows adult content.

It's never a good idea to simply upload this kind of material and hope it will fly under the radar. You run the risk of your site being shut down and kicked off the server. Be honest from the start, and adhere to your hosting contract. Plain and simple - if you violate the terms and conditions, you are putting yourself at risk.

If you are reluctant and do now wish to spend a fortune on a new hosting plan for a new adult site, you may consider free adult web hosting services. However, while they can be useful in some stages of development or testing, these services are anything but ideal. They offer limited bandwidth, which may result in poor streaming quality or even something a bit worse – having your service overwhelmed and getting a lot of downtime. In addition, data transfer capacity and storage may be limited, which means the amount of content will also have to be limited, or downgraded – i.e. images and video may have to be uploaded in lower resolution, with higher compression.

Free adult web hosting plans also come with a number of limitations aside from technical ones. Many of them lack proper customer support, which may lead to a lot of problems. Since their business model revolves around serving ads, you will not have control over what sort of ads are displayed. The ads can be tasteless, distracting or both. These accounts may also bar you from monetising your content in different ways, e.g. they may prevent you from setting up features like shopping carts.

All these limitations can compromise the user experience, reducing your competitiveness. Therefore free adult hosting is primarily reserved for hobbyists or niche sites, while more ambitious projects need paid adult hosting packages. More often than not, good plans do not come cheap.

Choose premium plans for premium services

Paid adult hosting offers greater flexibility in terms of storage, bandwidth, support, features, and services. In addition, your visitors have a smaller chance of being bombarded by advertisements that take away from your content and degrade the user experience.

Hosting companies offering adult plans always take a number of potential issues into consideration. Adult sites usually offer a lot of video content and high resolution 1080p streaming is quite demanding. 4K or UHD adult content is coming, too, so it’s worth keeping in mind. If you want to offer cutting edge high-resolution content in the future, you will need a flexible plan.

Security is another big concern for premium adult sites. If you plan on setting up a paid service with a subscription model or a different monetisation model, you must be very mindful of security – otherwise your content could easily end up on torrent sites or any of a number of free ‘adult tube’ services. If you accept payments and require user registration, this also means that a lot of sensitive data could be lost, including credit card numbers or data that allows attackers to identify your users, which can be especially damaging in the adult content business.

Legal considerations

Legislation governing the distribution of adult content in various jurisdictions varies and you may need legal advice before your proceed with your project, especially if you are new to the industry.

This may involve setting up disclaimers that warn visitors that they can proceed to view the content only if they are of a certain age (18, 21 etc.). Many sites also prompt users to confirm their age before any adult content is displayed. Of course, these measures cannot keep underage viewers away on their own, but at least they can show you are acting in good faith.

Another thing to consider is illegal content. Many adult sites allow user uploads and these may be very problematic indeed. It is vital to ensure that all uploaded content is legal, not only from a copyright aspect, but from another much more serious criminal angle. If your service allows users to upload and share content, you must make sure that sexual predators and pedophiles cannot use it to share illegal content. This is also a big problem for webcam services that allow social interaction between visitors.

Hosting companies offering specialized adult web hosting should be able to assist you in preventing these potentially catastrophic legal issues, as it is in their own best interest, too.

Adult Hosting Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do guidelines for adult hosting differ from country to country?

    Yes. Every country has their own regulations regarding adult content, and content in general. In some countries, laws may even vary from region to region, so make sure you do your research before you start posting content.

  • What if my host is in a different country? What laws do I have to obey?

    You are bound by the rules of your own country. However, if your host is in another country, they are bound by their country’s rules, which means your site is too. You should adhere to the rules set by both countries.

  • If I’m on a free plan with my host’s ads, can I add my own ads too?

    This shouldn’t be a problem. Hosts want you to stick around, and eventually upgrade to a higher plan, and they know you won’t do that if you can’t make money too. Before you go and post your own ads, make sure to check your terms of service, and ask questions if you’re unclear about guidelines.

  • Are there external sites where I can host my adult video content (like YouTube, but for adult material), so I can cut back on bandwidth requirements?

    If you’re okay with your content being publicly visible elsewhere, there are sites similar to YouTube or Vimeo that allow adult content. This will significantly reduce the load on your server, but it will also mean giving up the security and exclusivity you receive from self-hosting.

  • What type of material can I post?

    That will depend on several variables, including your local or national laws, and your host’s guidelines. If you reside in the US, most adult content is protected by the first amendment; however, obscenity laws still apply, and any outright illegal acts, such those involving underage or unwilling participants, are strictly prohibited. In other countries, the guidelines can be much stricter. And still others have little to no guidelines in place. Be sure to research your local laws. Your host, too, will likely have their own guidelines in place for legal purposes, so be sure to carefully review those as well.

  • I’m new to this. Are there guides for getting started in adult hosting?

    Yes, but the first place you should probably check is your host. If they cater to adult hosting clients, they can likely provide advice or direct you toward qualified adult business consultants. Remember, your host is going to be your partner. The more traffic you get, the more money you both make, so they’re typically happy to assist, even with green clients.

  • Does adult hosting cost more than regular hosting?

    If you’re starting out, you’ll find plenty of low-cost, shared hosting plans that cost the same, and sometimes less, than standard hosting plans offering the same storage, bandwidth, and features. If you don’t go over those amounts, adult hosting is an inexpensive business. But adult hosting can very quickly get expensive because it will be much more storage and bandwidth intensive than typical hosting.

  • Do I have to purchase an adult hosting plan to use my site for adult content?

    Not necessarily, but you definitely need to review your host’s terms of service before you do. In general, you’re better off looking for a host that sells adult hosting packages. This way there’s no question about whether or not they allow adult content, and they will be better equipped to handle your site’s needs and answer any questions or concerns you may have specific to adult hosting.

  • Are there any server requirements for adult hosting?

    You can find adult hosting plans for Windows or Linux servers, and at all ranges of the hosting spectrum. The size and speed of your server should be considerations, particularly if you expect significant traffic, but they aren’t requirements. If you want to start out with the least expensive plan offered and work your way up, you can. The only true requirement is that your host allows adult content.

  • Are there specific programs I should install for an adult site?

    The specific software will vary based on your site’s offering. You should have no problem setting up your website with any modern CMS. You will need a photo gallery application capable of handling the demands of your site, and likely a tool for hosting a variety of video formats. If your host offers packages specifically for adult hosting, they will likely have most of the tools you need already set up, or be able to provide assistance as you choose the tools that are right for you.

  • How do I set up secure credit card payments?

    There are a number of shopping cart options available to accept a variety of payment methods. When considering a host, make sure they provide a shopping cart with your plan. It’s also a good idea to verify the security features they offer, including PCI Compliance and SSL certificates. An SSL certificate will likely come with an additional annual fee, particularly if you are choosing a low-cost, shared hosting plan.

  • If I start with a shared plan, is it easy to upgrade?

    Most hosts will gladly convert your low-cost, shared plan to one of their higher-priced, private hosting accounts. They can typically do this without requiring you to move any files yourself. In some cases, settings may need to be adjusted, but your host will guide you through this process. Of course, if you plan on changing hosts, the process will become more complicated, but should still be manageable. And your new host will most likely be willing to help.

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