What Is a Web Hosting Company And How Do I Select One?

If you want to create a website, then you will need a web hosting company. Here are the basics on what a web hosting company is, the different types of web hosting available, and how to select the one that is right for you!

What Is Web Hosting Company?

A web hosting company is a business that provides 24 hour a day services associated with making a website available online. When someone tries to view your website, or any other website online, they are essentially connecting to a web server that is providing access to the page. Some companies provide free, basic services, while others only host through paid accounts. Each of those companies though will have different tools, options, and limits to their services and may offer very different pricing models as well.

Hosting Options

There are basically two different options to consider if you want a website hosted. The first is to host it yourself, but this requires that you have a web server, a constant connection to the internet, sufficient bandwidth availability, and the skills and know-how to run your own site. Since most people do not have the equipment or tools to host a website themselves, the secondary option is to find a web hosting company to do it for you!

Selecting a Web Hosting Company

Because the options for such companies are so abundant, begin by asking yourself these five questions:

  • What is the purpose of my website? Do you want to create a personal site that is just going to be shared with family and friends or will it be a commercial or business site that will be designed to make a profit? The answer to this question will help you decide if you will need security for accepting payments and if the website is worth paying a higher hosting fee for. It will also help you determine whether the hosting company offers what you need, such as blogging options, shopping cart and checkout features, and video hosting.
  • Do I need my website built for me? Most these companies, even the ones who offer free hosting packages, have some kind of website building software that is included. However, many are designed to only function with the hosting company that provides them. This means that if you switch to another web host, you will lose your site. Additionally, some site building programs are limited in what they can do, and may not offer everything you need for a full business site.
  • Do I need email for my website? If you are running a business, you will likely want a hosting company that provides email options. These may include things like email addresses that are customizable, auto response emails, pop mailboxes, etc.
  • Do I want analytics and tracking? Some hosting companies will offer more access to information about who is visiting your page than others. If you are running a business website, these tools can be of great value to help you target your customers. For personal websites, these may not be necessary at all.
  • How much space do I need? Space is a huge factor your selection of this type of service provider. Space is determined by things like number of pages you need as well as media content (like photos, videos, or sound clips). An average website typically only uses 50MB, and rarely will a site need more than 5GB. If you are unsure of space, consider selecting a hosting company that allows you to change your hosting package if your needs change.

Once you have answered the above questions, its time to go shopping, taking some time to carefully review what each web hosting company offers. Check reviews as well, to see what current and past customers have said about each service provider in terms of reliability, customer service, and packages.

Need some resources to get started? Here are 2 companies that we recommend!

Hostgator

Bluehost