There are two main categories of web hosting that I am going to cover in this article. The first is dedicated hosting and the second is shared hosting. The second type , shared hosting, I usually break down into paid and free. Normally, unless you are a very special person, you can't get dedicated hosting for free.
Before I break down the hosting types, however, let's clear up some terminology. . .
Bandwidth is the amount of data your site can transer in a given period of time. This is sometimes referred to as transfer. When people view your site on the internet they are downloading it from the server and this uses up your bandwidth.
Storage is basically the measure of hard drive space your web site is allowed to take up on a server.
OK, now on to the rest of it. . .
Dedicated hosting , or more like dedicated server, is where your web site gets one entire server to itself. You are pretty much entitled to all of the resources this server has to offer. The entire bandwith and hard drive capacity is yours including memory for processing and whatever else. With larger, traffic intensive web sites dedicated hosting is pretty much a must but shared hosting is usually more than sufficient for individuals and small to smallish medium businesses.
Shared hosting is basically when a hosting company puts your web site on a server with web sites from other customers. Your hosting provider will usually give you monthly limits for bandwidth, storage, email accounts and such. Depending on what server you were put on and how good your hosting provider is sometimes things can get a little crowded on a server and cause your site to be slow and unresponsive.
Free hosting is shared hosting you get from a free service like geocities or another. It is usually incredibly limited. Sometimes you can “earn" a decent free hosting account by posting in forums and such but in my opinion paid hosting and a real domain name are much better.
Paid hosting is actually inexpensive these days. You can get good solid hosting that will support a small business for under $100 per year. Usually hosting providers include a free domain name and free setup as well as a money back garantee.
I hope you found this article helpful. If you decide to buy hosting make sure to be incredibly picky. The last thing you want is to end up with the wrong web host. Read some articles on picking the right domain name and hunt down reviews of web hosting companies.
I wouldn't go with companies that aren't huge and well established. I've known many people who have lost web sites when unstable hosting companies went under.
Be vigilant and have fun. Getting a web site is the cheapest way to start a business.
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