Web Hosting Explained In Plain English
Websites can be compared to plots of land. Just like when you have a plot of land in a subdivided larger parcel of land, similarly a website is a portion of storage on a web server, existing along with many other websites. Each one has an address called a Uniform Resource Locator (URL). This is a technical name for what is essentially the name of your website, such as myownwebsite.com. When it is written in full on the browser, then it’s referred to by the letters URL. It simply tells the browser where to go to locate your website on the vast network of servers that exist worldwide on the web. The web is essentially a network of servers, each one having many websites stored on it.
Before you can have your own website with a name of your choosing, you need to have webhosting. Webhosting is the service provided by hosting companies that offer you a space or address on their server.
Therefore, you basically need to have webhosting service provided for you by one of the many hosting companies that are in business. Some will even host your website for free, with some limitations. Therefore when looking for a hosting service, your choices of price ranges from free all the way to the most expensive kind of service where you have a whole server all to yourself, costing over $100 per month.
There are a number of things to look for when considering a hosting plan.
For most people the first of course is price. But in addition to price, there are other important factors such as the amount of storage available for your files (measured in megabytes or gigabytes). Another important factor is something called bandwidth. This is a measure of how many visitors can come to your website in a given time, say a month. It also takes into account how many gigabytes of files you can transfer to and from the server. If your website allows people to upload or download files like videos, music and photos, then you’ll need a lot of bandwidth because these types of files take up a lot of bandwidth.
For a website that is mostly text and a few pictures, it does not need a lot of bandwidth (but if you have a lot of visitors viewing your site, then it adds up to a lot).
So the kind of website you intent to have and they amount of traffic you anticipate will determine whether you should pay for extra bandwidth or just go with a basic plan that has limitations.
Another thing to consider is the kind of email service they offer. All providers offer some kind of basic email service with at least 10 email accounts. This is usually enough for most personal or small business sites. Larger businesses with a lot of employees will need to upgrade to an email hosting that has more email accounts, say 100 or more if they want to provide an email for every employee.
The last and perhaps most important factor to consider is customer service. Before buying a hosting plan, make sure they offer 24/7 phone support. Some will also offer chat and direct email support, but nothing beats phone support in terms of directness and promptness.
So in conclusion, these are the 5 most important things most people will need to check before signing up with a web host:
2. Storage capacity
4. Email service
5. Customer service
Do some research, read the reviews, then decide on which of the top 10 web hosting companies will best serve your needs, then go ahead and sign up with them. With that kind of planning beforehand, you will most likely have a good experience with your chosen web host.