The first thing you need before you can have a website is web hosting. Web hosting companies, such as HostGator, Bluehost and lots of others, provide the servers, disk space and bandwidth that allow you to maintain an online presence at a relatively low price.
Since every website also has an URL (an online address), a domain name is also needed in order to have your website online. This is really the only prerequisite to getting hosting, and many web hosting companies also provide domain name registration. In fact, if you get hosting with a company like Bluehost, they throw in a domain for free (at least for the first year).
You can read more about web hosting and website building tips and tricks on my buddy’s website – 100webhosting.com. The website has a lot of great resources and articles which I find really helpful for new website owners, as well as experienced webmasters. In fact, this article is inspired from their latest article titled – What is web hosting and how does it work?
Types of Web Hosting
If you visit one of the websites of a web hosting company, you may notice that they usually offer a variety of packages. The main categories of web hosting are as follows:
This is the cheapest and most popular type of web hosting plan. These packages are inexpensive because many different customers share the company’s server and other resources. For the average website owner, this type of hosting is sufficient. If your site grows, however, or if you have a large number of sites you may want to upgrade to another type of hosting.
Some of the best companies for shared hosting are Bluehost and HostGator, both have hosting plans that cost as little as $5 per month (or even less if you use the hosting coupon codes on 100webhosting.com).
VPS or Virtual Private Server hosting is for people who want more flexibility and security than shared hosting. With this type of plan, you are given control over your own portion of the server. This is good for those who want to make frequent changes to their site or run programs that cannot be run with shared hosting. VPS hosting costs more than shared hosting but companies such as Bluehost offer some great plans where you only pay for the resources you need.
Windows vs Linux Hosting
Regardless of the type of hosting plan you choose, there is also the issue of whether to use Windows or Linux hosting. This refers to the platform that the company uses and has nothing to do with your computer’s operating system. Linux has traditionally been the more popular choice, but Windows hosting also has its fans, mostly because it allows you to run programs that are coded in ASP and .Net which do not run on Linux.
For the average website owner, the choice between Windows and Linux isn’t very significant. Linux hosting tends to be cheaper, so many people choose it for that reason alone.
Choosing the Best Web Hosting Company
If you are ready to get web hosting, you should look at some of the leading companies and see what they have to offer. Some of the features and criteria you should consider when selecting a web host include:
- Reputation and Experience – How long have they been in business? Can you find reviews and ratings about them?
- Cost – Price shouldn’t be your main consideration, but it’s good to take it into consideration too.
- Resources – What do you get with the hosting plan? For example, are you restricted to a certain number of domains and/or disk space and bandwidth?
- Support – Does the company offer support by phone, email and chat at all hours?
Once you get accustomed to the terminology and features, web hosting isn’t that complicated. Web hosting companies generally try to be newbie friendly, so it’s possible to start off with little or no knowledge and gradually learn as you go along.