Web Site Hosting

A. What is web site hosting
The storage of a web site and delivery of that web site to the Internet. A company that provides web hosting services is called a web host, and their detailed offers of storage, connectivity, and services are called web hosting plans.

B. What is a Web Host Provider?
There are literally thousands of web hosting services, ranging from individuals to worldwide corporations, and many web hosts offer multiple web hosting plans.

A web host provider is a service provider that places your web site on a computer which is connected to the internet. This then gives people who surf the internet a way to access your website.

C. What kind of Web Hosting Plans are there?
There are different kinds of web hosting setups and dependent upon your web site and budget, any of these may be the right type. This is not a discussion of the features a web hosting plan may offer - just a description general types of web hosting.

1. Free Web Hosting
It is possible to find free web hosting companies. These are great for small websites, but normally you have to have a banner ad at the top of every page. Some free accounts let you use your domain name that you have registered (see above), and with some companies you have to have a subdomain in order to get free web hosting ( This second type iss called Free Sub-domain hosting.

Hosting for small websites can be very cheap, and if you can answer yes to all of the following questions, then free web hosting may be right for you.
• I don't care about having ads at the top of every page in my website
• I don't care about the performance / reliability of the website
• I don't expect any customer support
• My website is very small and will never grow

2. Shared Hosting
This is the most common type of web hosting account and can be very low cost. With paid shared (virtual) hosting you pay a monthly fee and get a share on a server. For very low cost plans you may only have a small amount of disk space and a low amount of bandwidth (although this will probably not be a problem for the vast majority of websites). With cheap virtual hosting plans you may be one site amongst hundreds on the same server - in this case reliability may suffer. For slightly more expensive plans you will probably find better reliability.

3. Dedicated Hosting
With dedicated hosting you have a full server dedicated to your website. This gives you a lot more freedom and you can host potentially hundreds of your own websites. Typically you will have access to the server just like you have access to your PC at home. Dedicated servers are normally reserved for large ecommerce type websites, sites that get a lot of visitors (thousands a day), or for people that want to start their own hosting company and sell shared hosting accounts. A dedicated server is more reliable, but also much more expensive being at least $100 a month vs $1 - $20 range of a shared hosting plan.

4. Colocated Hosting
This is very similar to dedicated hosting, except that you own the server rather than rent it. Your server is placed in the datacenter and connected to the Internet through the web hosting providers fast Internet connection. You will then pay a fee for maintenance and bandwidth.

D. Guidelines for finding a good Web Host Provider.
First you need to figure out your web needs. Here are some questions to ask yourself about your web site:

• Disk Space: If your website is small, less than 10 pages and does not have a shopping cart or database you can get by with 50-100 megabytes (MB) of space. The limits go up from there. You need to figure out how many graphics you are going to have on your site because graphics take up a lot of space. You will also need to know if you want to run a shopping cart from your site or maintain any kind of database on your website. The average amount of space is around 100 MB, but with more items like graphics and databases you add the more space you will need.

• Bandwidth: Bandwidth is always stated as a monthly limit in either megabytes (MB) or gigabytes (GB). This is the amount of actual data that can be transferred from the web server that holds your website, to the browser of the person who is looking at your website. If you go over the limit, then either you will have to be an extra fee, or your website will not be available. The amount of bandwidth you use is obviously related to the amount of traffic (visitors) that you receive. For most web sites you will not need much bandwidth. Probably 99% of all websites use less than 2 GB of bandwidth a month.

• Email Accounts: How many accounts do you or your company need? Many providers offer somewhere between 10-100 email accounts per package. With this email feature you can create your own email address with your domain name as the part that is after the @ sign. So if you are registered for you can create an email address like: or

• Support: Do you like phone support or email support? With most web hosting companies that are out there, many do not provide phone support. In order to have phone support you may need to pay more for your hosting package. Rarely do things go so wrong that you need to call someone, usually if you send an email you'll get a reply within 24 hours sometimes sooner if you are contacting them during normal business hours.

• Server Type: For most, Windows 2000 is the most common type of server to choose. Unless you are a programming guru you may not want to choose Linux.

• Other Features: Do you want a shopping cart, databases, programming languages available for you to use, etc. Most people don't use them or need them.

Be careful when choosing a web hosting company. Don't be fooled into getting a package that seems way more than you can afford or need. If you find you do need more space, etc. most companies will be happy to upgrade your account!

To find a web hosting company we recommend this site to help find the right plan for you:

If you need information that should be on this page, please contact Susan Kallsen at - thanks!

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