What exactly is web hosting? What features will you need from a web host? Questions like these often overwhelm would-be web publishers that are just starting out. But we are here to help. After reading this article you will not know everything there is to know about web hosting, but you will understand enough to get you started.
To start off with – what is web hosting? A web host is a company that manage computers that are part of the Internet, and web hosting is leasing disk space on those computers to store the files that make up your website. This means that there is a computer in a data center on which your files are stored, and the computer will present the web pages of your website to visitors. It should be clear to you that if you want to have a website, you will need web hosting.
What are the most important features to look for in a web host? Different web hosting companies offer different sets of features, and usually at various price points. Two of the most important things for you to look at is the amount of disk space you get and the amount of bandwidth they offer you. The more disk space you have the larger you can make your website. Some web hosts will even let you host more than one website on a single web hosting account, and in this case the amount of disk space will play a large role. Bandwidth refers to the amount of data that is transferred to and from your website. You want to make sure you have enough bandwidth to display your website to all the visitors you expect to get. Sometime a web hosting company will offer unlimited bandwidth, but read the fine print carefully because there is usually a catch, often the terms of service restricts the kind of data you transfer. For example you may not be allowed to use audio or video on your website.
Other features to look for in a web hosting account include: is the web host Windows, Unix or Linux based, script compatibility, the number and type of databases, the type of control panel and number and type of email accounts. The operating system of the server will determine what software you can use on your website. The software programs you use on your website is often referred to as scripts. Not all web hosts are compatible to all scripting languages, like Perl, PHP and others. The scripts you want to use on your website often needs a database to manage the operation of the script, so you will need a compatible database. You will usually be able to create one or more email addresses using your own domain name.
Before choosing a web hosting company, decide what you want to accomplish with your website and choose a company that offers you the features and options you need.