If you own a company or are considering an online business, you will most likely want to set up a paid web hosting account. Although there are free website hosting companies out there, their reliability is poor and you will have to put up with random ads that may not be related to your business or that may be down-right objectionable.
So, paid website hosting is the way to go for reliability and complete control of your site. These days paid hosting accounts are inexpensive, making them the preferred solution for anyone even remotely serious about their web presence.
Briefly, it’s a place to put your website so that the rest of the world can visit it. Hosting companies run web servers. Simply put, web servers are computers that are attached to the Internet and can communicate with all other computers online. And that means your customers!
The bad news: To maintain this service costs hosting companies money, so there are charges for you to host your website on their servers. The good news: A typical website owner’s costs used to be quite high, but prices have come down considerably in recent years. And, at the same time, the features offered have become much more robust.
Anywhere from $3.99 to hundreds per month. But for the typical small business or online entrepreneur, quality feature-filled website hosting can be purchased for $3.99 – $7.99 per month.
Why the range in pricing? As you might imagine $3.99 / month web hosting packages normally include fewer features than their $7.99 / month counterparts.
To give you an idea of the differences, let’s consider two of the most critical features of any web hosting package: bandwidth and disk space.
Bandwidth is also called “data transfer” or “traffic”. So if you see any of those terms associated with a gigabyte or gb or GB value then that feature is actually bandwidth.
It sounds like a very technical term, but bandwidth is simply the number of gigabytes of data that your website is allowed to transfer from the web hosting server to your users in one month. A gigabyte is roughly a billion bytes of data.
You’ll want enough bandwidth to insure that all your customers can access your website without exceeding your monthly data transfer quota. These days you will see typical monthly bandwidth offered in the range of 300gb all the way up to unlimited!
For the average business website with a few thousand visitors per month and less than 100 average-sized web pages, 300gb is probably many gigabytes beyond what’s needed. But you may have spurts of traffic, so the extra included gigabytes of bandwidth can be useful to have.
Web space or disk space is the total number of megabytes or gigabytes a web hosting company gives you to hold the HTML and images that will be displayed on your website when your web pages are viewed.
As in our example above, if your website consists of 100 pages with just a few medium-sized graphics per page, then you probably only need 20 megabytes (that’s
, not gigabytes) of disk space. However, there are other website features like forms automation, photo hosting, data gathering, or blogging that can substantially increase your need for disk space.
Not to worry… because disk space is cheap for your hosting company, they can offer a lot of space for a low monthly rate. For example, even the least expensive paid hosting company offers 10gb of disk space, which is almost overkill for the typical small business website.
Of course, if you’re running a membership website or allowing your users to upload data or pictures, then you might need almost unlimited amounts of disk space. Fortunately, there are inexpensive web hosting packages that offer just that. In fact, many of the $7.99 / month hosting packages offer unlimited disk space (as well as unlimited bandwidth).
The best thing to do is to read reviews of hosting companies that you are considering and only pay for features that you’ll use. In the event you become wildly successful (and I hope you do), be sure your hosting company can grow with you. They should be able to offer additional features, like increased bandwidth and disk space, as you need them.