Web hosting comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. They can almost rival the spam in your inbox. Consumers love to get a bargain and they often associate more features with a better product. That is why web hosts provide so many different options. Web hosts want you to believe that you are getting more bang for your buck. In reality, there are only a few web hosting options that really matter. We will explain the most important basic features of a web host so you know what to look for when comparing web hosts.
When customers post reviews of web hosts they can give the web host an overall rating. This rating is averaged and displayed when comparing hosting plans on Host Shopper so you can see which web hosts have the highest rating.
There are web hosts that charge $4 a month and there are web hosts that charge $15 for very similar web hosting options. No one wants to pay more than they have to, but you have to be careful. If you just go for the cheapest web hosting without considering the other features and support reviews, you may be in for a wild ride as you wait hours on the phone for support or have to pay more later to get a needed feature. All the monthly prices listed on Host Shopper are for those who pay for one year of web hosting in advance.
Most web hosts do not charge a setup fee but you have to check to make sure so you don’t end up paying more than you thought.
There are many different types of web hosting. The three most popular types are Shared web hosting, Virtual Private Server (VPS) web hosting, and dedicated web hosting. Shared hosting is the cheapest and most common type of hosting package. Your sites will be stored on the same server as many other people’s sites. A Virtual Private Server (VPS) is like your own virtual server running inside another server. You will share the hardware but not the software. A Dedicated hosting package will give you your own server so you don’t have to worry about sharing software or hardware resources. It is the most expensive but provides the most reliability.
There are two main operating system flavors to choose from in web hosting: Windows and Linux. The classic Linux option is what most people choose, not just because of its delicious, grade A flavor or the almost unlimited number of free scripts, but because it is, quite simply, the cheapest. If you need to use PHP, your best bet is Linux. If you need to use ASP, or .NET, be prepared to spend a little more for a juicy Windows server.
You've got to love something if it’s free. Most web hosts offer at least one free domain name when you purchase a hosting plan. Sometimes it is free for as long as you host with them. For others it is just a year. Considering that domain names are usually less than $10, this isn’t the deal of the century but it is nice if you haven't bought a domain name yet.
The amount of disk space that comes with a hosting plan is just like the disk space on your home computer. If you have more, you can store more pictures, music, databases, etc. If your website if primarily an information site, you probably won't need more than a few GBs (if that). If you have an image or video uploading site, you'd better get a hosting plan with a lot of disk space! Be careful of hosts advertising "Unlimited" disk space or monthly bandwidth because that isn't really possible and they could kick you off if you use more than their hidden terms allow.
Monthly bandwidth represents how much data can be served up to people on the Internet each month. If you host big pictures, music, or video, this will get used up much more quickly than if you just have a few pictures and text on your website.
In many cases, having more domains or web sites means you can make more money. It is normally very simple for a web host to add additional domains (you actually do it through a control panel) so most web hosts limit the number of domains allowed simply to force people to buy bigger hosting plans. Just make sure you pick a plan that allows as many domains as you think you will need in the next few years.
Email accounts are added just as easily as domain names and there is no reason that a server can't support an unlimited amount, but some web hosts limit the number of email accounts. If there is a limit, just make sure they offer as many emails as you think you'll need.
Next, learn about advanced web hosting options or compare hosting plans.