Web hosts are companies which store data on a server that is connected to the Internet. All websites on the Internet are hosted on a server, and most sites use a web host to manage the storage of this data. Hosts generally place limits on the speed and quantity of transfer they will perform depending on the package that you elect to purchase. If you want to have your own website, you will definitely need web hosting. Luckily, the majority of web hosting companies that we review offer unlimited quantity with respect to data transfer.
Web hosting packages range from a few dollars a month for basic service, to hundreds of dollars for a premium package with many advanced features. When considering which package to buy, you should compare the services offered alongside the needs of your site. Ensure that you will not exceed your allotted disk space or bandwidth, and also that the tools provided for managing the site match your level of technical skill. Web hosting services that we review are ideal either for personal use or running a small business online.
Contrary to popular belief, most web hosting packages do not come with an easy to remember web address included. For this reason, someone who has provisioned web space will then have to go to a separate service, called a domain registrar, who will allow you to buy a 'domain name' of your choice that acts as an alias to your site's IP address. An example of a domain name is www.google.com, which is a wrapper for the IP address 188.8.131.52. Both of those addresses can be put into a browser to reach the same website, however, the domain name is much easier to remember.
This is a difficult question to answer because it depends entirely on what the site is going to be used for. Sites which host user uploads or provide services such as an email account generally require a large amount of space. Comparatively, a static site with only a few images and a limited amount of text would require comparatively little. The most important consideration when choosing a web host is recognizing that your goals may change in the future; make sure to leave enough room for your site to expand in the future.
Bandwidth is the measure of the amount of data which has been transferred to and from a site. Many ISPs place a limit on the amount of bandwidth that customers are allotted in a single pay period, and for this reason many web hosts also sell their hosting packages with a limit on the amount of monthly bandwidth that the site is allowed to consume. If you go over your monthly bandwidth limit, it will be impossible to access your site until the following pay period. Luckily, the majority of web hosting companies that we review offer unlimited bandwidth with their hosting plans.
Much like the amount of disk space required for a site, the answer to this question depends entirely on what the site is going to be used for. Activities such as streaming videos can consume many gigabytes of bandwidth in a matter of hours, while static pages can sometimes consume less than a single gigabyte over an entire month. The biggest consideration when estimating your bandwidth consumption is thinking about the number of users you estimate to visit your site. The more users visiting your site, the more your bandwidth will need to increase.
Many web hosts provide tools for analyzing the number of hits the pages of your site has had. Third party resources such as Google Analytics and the StatCounter can also help you determine how widely your site has spread. This information can help you figure out how to most effectively deploy your site.
Most popular web forum and blogging platforms like Wordpress use a MySQL database to store the individual posts on the site, and they also use PHP to bridge communication between the web pages and the database. You should check what version of MySQL and PHP different providers supply on their web servers and whether it is compatible with the applications you intend for the site.