Every Web Hosting Provider offers you a multitude of options, and if you’re new to the game of Hosting a Website, this can be a daunting task in knowing which options to choose from. I have often come across people that are paying too much for what they’re actually doing with their website. If you don’t use a database, why pay for it ?
Knowing what each option is for, can really save you from paying more than what you really need to pay.
HTML: Websites are written in a language called HTML, and this is the basic function that every Web Host offers you – without HTML, there is no web site.
HTML code tells the web server what the website should look like, where to load the images, and the links to other pages. HTML isn’t really difficult, and is fairly easy to pick-up. To learn more about HTML you can go to http://www.w3schools.com/html/default.asp which has some great tutorials on HTML. You can also use tools like Front Page and Dreamweaver to build pages,but having a basic knowledge of HTML can only help.
DISK SPACE: The size of the disk space is important if you’re going to have a big website with lots of pages. This is where your pages get stored, and you need space for them. I always like to start small, and then upgrade as my requirements grow.
BANDWIDTH: When ever somebody visits your website, information is being transferred from your website to their web browser. This transfer creates traffic that is and this traffic is measured as Bandwidth. As with diskspace you can usually upgrade this as needed. I have found that it’s better to go with a webhost that charges you extra whenever you go over the allocated amount as this usually ensures that your website stays up and running even if it costs you a bit extra.
PHP/ASP/CGI: Allows you to write various scripts into your website that does little extras that HTML cannot do on it’s own – Anything from allowing people to make comments on your website to creating full member areas. If you want a website that allows people to interact with your website, then you most probably will need some form of Scripting. There are a lot of free scripts out there, with PHP being the most popular. It’s important to first know what scripts your website’s going to be running, before going for a webhost – as not all webhosts offer every type of scripting solution out there.
DATABASES: If you want to store high amounts of data to make available to your visitors, or run a content management system like Joomla, then you’ll need a database for this. You also need a way to get the data in and out of the Database, so you’ll need PHP as well – But, most web hosting companies will give you both options bundled together.
CONTROL PANEL: There are various control panels that web hosting providers use, and they all perform the same function – allowing you to control your website. I have no real preference for any specific control panel, as they pretty much all do the same thing.
DOMAINS: Most Webhost providers will register a domain for you at a extra cost. Be sure to check out registrars of domains, to see if you cannot buy it for cheaper. Registering a domain at something like Go-Daddy.com is pretty cheap, and pretty easy to do. What makes it sometimes better to go via the hosting company is that they will manage the whole aspect of the domain for you, where with a service like Go-Daddy it’s up to you to manage the whole domain – So, it’s sometime a cost saving option to go with the Web Host.
A lot of these options you can add to your website as you need them. It’s not always best to go for the most expensive package out there. Find out what you need, and then only purchase those options you need. You can save yourself some real money at the end of the day.