Anyone who is starting up a website needs three things – an idea, a domain name and a web hosting service. Without the domain name and the web hosting service, the idea will never make it onto the internet.
There are two basic choices when you are looking for a web hosting service – shared or dedicated web hosting. Once you figure out which of these you need, you can start looking at the various web hosting services available to see which one offers the best plan for you. Almost every web hosting service offers shared hosting, but many will not offer dedicated hosting.
So what’s the difference?
Shared web hosting services are what most people need. It is the option most commonly used for personal websites and blogs and any other sites that don’t need much storage space. What you are paying for with these plans is a portion of a server. Imagine a storage facility in which you are renting out one of the rooms. Shared web hosting services can be purchased for as little as $2/month these days, and the plans vary tremendously from company to company. So it is well worth your while to have a look around.
Dedicated web hosting services are generally used by larger business and company websites. These websites need to be able to store a lot more information, retrieve that information a lot faster and handle a lot more traffic at one time. So instead of just renting out a room in the storage facility, they will rent out the entire building. This also allows them to modify the server with whatever software might be necessary for their specific needs as well as choosing which operating system they want to use – an option that isn’t often available with shared web hosting services.
You may find that your website has grown too big for a shared web hosting service, but doesn’t quite need dedicated web hosting yet – or maybe you don‘t need the extra space at all, but want the extra flexibility a dedicated web hosting service has to offer. If this is the case, you can sign up for a dedicated web hosting service and then open up a web hosting service of your own. This means that you will be able to use up as much space on the server as you need and rent out the extra space to other website owners, which will help you pay for the cost of a dedicated server.
Once you have found the web hosting service that suits your needs, all you will need is a domain name to get your idea out to the world. Luckily, many of the more reputable web hosting services are now offering free domain names with their plans. Sometimes it is only free for a year, and sometimes it is free for as long as you are using their hosting plans – but either way it is a good way to get started.