What Should You Know Before Choosing A Cheap Web Hosting Company?
A web host is a service provider that essentially "publishes" your web site on the Internet for a monthly fee or "rent." You are in essence, taking out a room or a storefront on the Internet and as with any rental situation, you want a great place for a little bit of money. Cheap web hosting is readily available but you want to be careful so you don't wind up with the equivalent of cyber roaches in your kitchen. A cheap web hosting company can be an excellent choice or a downright horrible one.
First, ask yourself some questions about your own website. How much disk space will you require? Sometimes a cheap web hosting company achieves their low prices by offering extremely limited amounts of storage space in their various rate plans. Normally, in the absence of a large number of graphics, web pages are approximately 40 to 50kb in size. Given that, a site with twelve pages would take up less than half a megabyte. A heavily graphical site of twelve pages would be about 0.8 megabytes.
Next, try to realistically guess how much traffic your site will draw. Cheap web hosting often means limited bandwidth, which is the measure of traffic available to you. Each time a visitor "hits" your site, data travels over the Internet. Bandwidth is how much transfer is available to you. The vast majority of sites use less than 2gb of bandwidth a month. Even with as many as six thousand visitors on a highly graphical site you will draw under 5gbs.
Will you need email addresses and if so, what kind and how many? A cheap web hosting company may only offer email aliases instead of direct POP accounts. An email alias simply exists to pass mail to another address. For instance email@example.com as an alias would pass mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Aliases look better on business cards and don't require you to change settings in your email software, but there are instances in the business world in which a "real" POP (post office protocol) email address (where mail is retrieved directly from a remote email server) is required.
In cheap web hosting, server type is often limited to a single platform. The only thing that distinguishes a server (a machine that broadcasts a site online) from any other computer is software. Various server platforms include Windows 2000, Linux, Unix, and FreeBSD. The choice of server software matters if your site will run databases or have other dynamic content.
You may be tempted to go the ultimate route with cheap web hosting and get a free account somewhere. This is the cheapest of the cheap web hosting company types. Beware; free hosting entities have drawbacks. These accounts are best for the owners of small sites who don't plan to expand their content and don't care when ads are splashed all over their pages. But if you want performance, reliability, and customer support, this is not the route for you. Reliable, cheap web hosting and free hosting aren't synonymous.
As you begin to make your selection of a cheap web hosting company, shop around. Ask business associates what hosting entities they use. Compare plans, ask questions, but above all, have a clear vision of your own website. If you don't know what server resources you will require or an idea of what traffic you hope to attract, it will be impossible for you to select a host that will be both economical and technologically a good fit for your website. When you shell out rent, it's important not just to save money but also to get a decent place where you can live comfortably - and in web terms, where you can have all the tools and resources you need to do business.
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