OK, you’ve decided that you need a website. You’ve got a great web design, you’ve procured a domain name, and all you need is to pick a web host. Now, how do you sort through the junk, to find a web host that will meet your needs. First, you really need to understand the basics behind how the Internet works. Every website sits on a webserver, which is basically a big hard drive, that web browsers, such as Internet Explorer can access. Whenever a user types in a website address, the web browser finds the hard drive (server) that holds that site. The server then sends the website to the web browser. Now, some servers have additional functions built into them. Some can hold a database, some can hold email mailing lists and send newsletters at pre-determined times, some allow you to build an online store, accept orders and payments.
In addition, over the past several years, web space has gotten cheaper and cheaper. You can probably find a basic web host for free. However, that free host probably won’t allow you to use your own domain name (like yourbusiness.tripod.com). If you want to use your own domain name, you’ll probably pay a bit extra. Likewise if you need the use of a database, or want to set up a shopping cart or online store. In that case, there are some basic things that you’ll want your web host to have.
First, you’ll want to check the storage space and bandwidth. Storage is simply the size of the hard drive that you’ll have, a decent web host should be able to give you at least a gigabyte. Bandwidth is the measure of how much traffic your website is allowed to have. A good web host can give you unlimited bandwidth, but most will cap that at around 10 Gigabytes per month. Now, if you want to have a contact form that your visitors can fill out, then you’ll need to make sure that your host allows CGI (Common Gateway Interface) or PHP. If you want to set up an online store, then you’ll also need the popular database software, MySQL.
So a quick checklist for what a good web host should have is:
-Plenty of storage
-Plenty of bandwidth
Personally, I recommend a company called WebHostingBuzz. They have multiple plans, starting at $3.95 per month. Their basic plan includes 375 GB of Disk Space, 5000GB of Bandwidth, PHP, CGI, MySQL, and multiple add on features such as mailing list management, shopping carts, etc… Plus, their customer support is phenomenal. I have never had any technical issues with them and they have always bent over backwards to keep me happy. In general I always suggest shopping around and finding a plan that really suits your needs, but WebHostingBuzz almost certainly has a plan that will work for you.