What is web hosting?
Before we look at helping you find out what you want from web hosting it is a good idea to define what web hosting actually is.
Web hosting put simply is a bit disk space on a computer connected the Internet called a web server. This computer is owned by a web hosting service provider and it serves up the content from its hard disks when requested by users of the Internet. This bit of disk space is available for rent for a small monthly or annual fee. Web hosting comes in various forms such as free, shared hosting and dedicated hosting.
Choosing a web hosting package?
Choosing where and what to use for your web hosting is a bit of a challenge because there a few things you need to ask yourself before committing to buying a web hosting package for your website. Also, there are many providers of web hosting and each offer a large choice of packages.
Below are some of the important things you should consider.
1) What is the purpose of your website?
This is the most important question to ask because the answer to this question will help determine the answer to the other questions.
Is your website a basic website or blog with a few pages, pictures and so on? Is your website going to sell goods online and take online payments? Does your website require advanced scripting such as ASP, ASP.net or PHP and SQL?
In the first case a basic shared hosting package with a small monthly fee could be chosen. Some providers even offer to help you build your website or blog using predesigned templates or a website builder program. In the second case a package that is on a shared or dedicated server and geared to e-commerce should be chosen. In the third case a package on a shared or dedicated server that supports scripting and databases should be chosen.
This is the second most important question and can be determined simply by what the purpose of your website. Bandwidth is defined as the amount of data that can be carried from one point to another in a given time period. Providers typically place monthly limits on the bandwidth available. You must ensure that you don’t exceed the limit. You may be charged for the extra bandwidth you use or your website could become unavailable.
If your website is a simple small business website or blog you may not have to worry too much about the bandwidth because the rate of downloading and uploading of data will be well within your bandwidth limit. However, if your website is an e-commerce website or a really popular website then this rate is most likely to be much higher as your website gets well known. A hosting account with a high amount of bandwidth is recommended.
This is the next question to answer. How much are you prepared to spend? Again this is partly determined by your website.
In many cases free web hosting still exists although not as much as it used to be. Free hosting has the advantage of being ‘free’ and low cost. However you must accept having adverts all over the place. This is fine for a small blog or website for a small society or club which needs a small web presence.
Some Internet service providers provide a small amount web space as part of their Internet services. These may or may not have adverts featured.
However, most people would prefer no adverts in their pages and so are prepared to pay a little bit for some web hosting space and use a domain name of their choice.
You have a choice of shared hosting or dedicated hosting.
Shared or Virtual Hosting
Shared web hosting or virtual hosting refers to many websites residing on a single web server that is connected to the Internet. The server’s disk space is divided into partitions and each website has on its own partition on the web server to keep it separate from other sites.
This is the most common type of hosting and is the perfect choice for most websites and their owners. Typical packages start at low monthly or annual fess and boast a decent amount of disk space, email allowance, bandwidth and technical and customer support. More substantial packages are more expensive and also feature more of the above and advanced features
Dedicated web hosting is a service in which the website owner leases an entire server from the provider rather than sharing space with others. This is more flexible than shared hosting because the leaseholder will have full control over the server including the choice of operating system, its hardware configuration, scripting languages and so on.
This type of hosting is ideal for e-commerce websites and other websites that will have large amounts of visits and high rates of bandwidth. The disk space, email allowance, bandwidth are very large and unrestricted. Technical and customer support is more specific. The monthly and annual cost is of course more expensive.