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Web hosting is primarily an Internet service that helps organizations and individuals create their virtual presence on the Web. Simply put, and for the majority of people and companies, this means allowing their website to be seen by others around the world; some of these services are actually free. Hosting companies can have many servers which they use to store these files, with each customer having their own section for storage; a little like a draw in a filing cabinet.

Free Web hosting deals are great for those who want to 'dip their toes in the water' for example but the range of services available to them will be limited. There are many limitations to free web hosting services and they are not generally regarded as an option for serious web users as the amount of storage space is limited along with many other functions a web user may require.

Paid hosting packages vary enormously so don't be surprised about the difference in prices; the best thing to do is sit down and work out exactly what your primary requirements are and then check out one of these hosting comparison websites.

Initially, the majority of users decide on paying for a shared server with their hosting company. However, it is often a good idea to see if the company is reliable before this more costly option of a dedicated server is taken.


>> The Basics of Web Hosting

However, all this is academic if you haven't registered a domain name that you can use in conjunction with the web hosting and to send your files to. The term 'file' is a generic name for anything that is uploaded (the opposite of downloaded) to your website with the space allocated; normally not less than one half of a full gigabyte but these figures are always increasing.

The good thing about having your own Web hosting package and domain means that all your email addresses will contain your domain name in them and not that of the free service provider you may have been using previously.

People who are serious about their Internet presence will want to have their own identity and to prove the point; you will never see a company using someone else's domain in their email address. If you have a busy site with lots of visitors, downloads or video etc.

Insufficient bandwidth will cause problems as visitors will be unable to see your site if it has been used up and you have a few more days before it is re-set for the following month, so you may need to use another web host.

Of course this won't matter if you only have a basic website but as soon as you start adding large images, audio tracks, video footage and other big files, your bandwidth will be used up very quickly. You may have your own web host in your PC, but that can be too risky; the best option is to settle for paid web hosting, even if you're new to the Internet.