To have your website on the internet and seen by other internet users your website needs to be hosted by a web hosting company. In order for your website to be viewed on the internet your website pages must be uploaded onto a server usually supplied by a web hosting company. Once uploaded this gives access for the whole world to see your website when your domain name (URL) is typed into a web browser. There are thousands of hosting companies out there and they all offer different packages and plans with different features. There are many different types of hosting, the thing to get right when choosing a web hosting package is realizing what you need from your web host and not be over sold features you simply do not need. Types of hosting range from free hosting, shared hosting ( most popular ) and dedicated server hosting. Prices range from around £20 per year – £1500 per year.
Many companies are now offering free hosting, which personally i would not recommend. Free hosting always has limitations and often the host will demand their advertising on your website with a link to their own site. This looks unprofessional, harms your own credibility and shouldn’t be considered if you are serious about you online presence.
If you have a small website or blog a cheap shared hosting package is a good choice for you, with shared hosting your allocated web space is shared with other websites on the same server. This is by far the most popular choice among web hosting packages and is perfectly fine for most websites. Most hosts will have tailored shared hosting packages to suit the needs of most users. Packages will be different in the amount of bandwidth, web space ( disk space ), email mailboxes and features they allocate. Bandwidth is the measurement of the amount of traffic your website can handle, if you have too many visitors your website loading time will be slow and can break down temporarily. Web space, often referred to as disk space is the amount of space your website files can take up, web space is measured in megabytes and gigabytes. If your website has large image files, video files or audio files then you will need more web space than a site which contains only text.
With dedicated servers the web host leases the server to you, the server is not shared with any other websites or files from other people, the server will contain your website files only. This enables you to have lots of web space and bandwidth to play with, more choices of control over your web hosting and extra security. This is why dedicated servers are a better choice if you have an e-commerce website.
In order to have a website hosted you will also require a domain name (URL). A domain name can be purchased through a domain name registration company, most web hosting companies will offer this service also. The domain can be purchased either though your web host or through another provider. A domain name has got to be unique as two websites cannot share the same domain. When choosing a domain try to keep it as short and memorable as possible.