If you’re building your own site, or decided to go for a self-hosted blogging option, you’ll need web hosting. Choosing a web host is one of the most important, and at the same time most difficult decisions you’ll have to take. Below, we’ve listed answers to some of the most frequently asked questions and have gathered some informative tips to help you make the right choices.
Web hosting is where your website is stored and from where the content is distributed to end users. Web hosting companies have computers which are called “servers” because they serve or send your stored information to the masses. The servers are connected to the internet lines and become part of the world wide web. Usually when you see pictures of data centers, the room where servers are housed, there are many racks holding quite a few computers. Depending on the webmaster’s needs, she may occupy a tiny portion of one server or she may own several servers.
For new webmasters and people who own a small network of websites, a hosting account will probably suit them perfectly. Owning a whole computer does not make sense for many ventures so companies partition out the resources of the server giving each person the amount required to run her website. Generally speaking, the customer will pay a certain monthly fee in exchange for a specified amount of storage, bandwidth, and possibly databases and email addresses. Indeed, nowadays you get a lot more for your money. When technology was new, every add-on feature had a price. Now, big hosting companies include everything in their packages, unless you want something very specific.
Although it is not difficult to find hosting companies, the fact that there are millions makes the task of choosing one almost impossible. But one thing is for sure, before settling upon a host, it is best to scour web host forums and find hosts that have good reputations and customers who are willing to vouch for their services publicly. One of the worst ways to find a web host is through search engine results. The forums tend to tell the real story about a hosting company, and loads of sites offer fake web hosting reviews to sell packages and claim a commission.
The other thing you need to understand about web hosting is that anybody can claim to be a web host. So basically some ten year old kid might be in control of your assets. Know with whom you are dealing and understand what you are getting. In the same vein, choose a package that meets your needs. For example:
- How many developed sites do you own?
- How much support will you require?
- How many email addresses do you require per domain name?
- Do you require sub-domain capability?
- Do you need PHP and SQL databases and if so, does the company provide them free? Are you limited in how many you can have per domain?
- What is the bandwidth size? Do you know if the web host shuts your site down automatically if over the stated bandwidth or do they give you the opportunity to pay extra? What is the cost for overages?
- Is the access to your account easy for you to understand. Today the most popular program for those unfamiliar with managing a server is called “cPanel“. One of the older ones is “Plesk”.
In addition, sometimes, when you own more than one site and expect to expand with more domains, it is better to order a “reseller hosting account” right off the bat. Although you are most probably not going to resell the services and become a host yourself, you have the ability to buy the space much cheaper than paying for a hosting account per domain. Lastly, one word of caution. Beware of hosts offering unlimited bandwidth. This is impossible and obviously a false statement.
FAQ and Resources
- Free Web Hosting: Yes or No?
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- Why get your own Domain Name for your Web Site?
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- Changing web hosts: what not to forget?
- Dedicated Web Hosting: Advantages
- Reseller Web Hosting Explained
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