If you run a business, sell a book, publish a blog or engage in a non-profit venture online, you need web hosting. A web host is a service which stores all the files related to your website, and serves them up to visitors who access your site through a browser. Because people might visit your website at any time of the day or night, your web hosting service should be up and running 24/7 without any drop-outs or failure.
There are a wide range of options when it comes to web hosting. Several companies offer hosting services. And many more resell these hosting services through private label, re-branded and affiliate relationships. While it may make sense at times to go through a middleman, most of the time it is best to identify hosting providers.
This is because you get access to better technical and customer support in case of problems, and often get cheaper rates. HostGator is one of the most widely known web hosting companies and offers a range of attractive plans to suit most needs. Depending upon your requirements, you may choose the right plan that is ideally suited to your budget and technical needs. A beginner might find a shared hosting plan best. Shared hosting means that your website will be placed on a server which is shared by multiple other accounts.
Even among shared hosting accounts, there are different levels. For example, the “Hatchling Plan” offered by HostGator lets you host one domain only for a very low price, with disk space and bandwidth being unlimited. As your needs grow and you build new websites or add to your online portfolio, you can upgrade to a higher level of hosting with a Baby or Business plan which is priced slightly higher but offers web hosting for unlimited domains with other functionality such as SSL (secure server layers), dedicated IP, toll free numbers for support and more.
Other advanced users may need more extensive hosting plans such as VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting, or even Dedicated Server hosting. These serve the advantage of hosting your website all by itself on a server. This means that your site will not share bandwidth with other sites hosted alongside. On a shared server, if one site grows busy and gets a flood of traffic, it slows down the server speed for all other sites hosted on the same account.
With VPS or Dedicated hosting, this problem is eliminated. Other benefits from dedicated hosting include the ability to configure the server according to one’s own needs, install a variety of scripts, and usually higher server space allocation and more bandwidth which avoids slowing down the website when traffic spikes.
The downside of dedicated hosting include security risks from hacker attacks which mean you must be able to adequately protect your server through setting up scripts and protection. Dedicated server web hosting is also more expensive, though the benefit you’ll get for the price far outweigh the cost.
To check and see which kind of web hosting is appropriate for you, and whether or not it fits into your budget, you can use the online tutorials and guides at web hosting service provider websites such as HostGator.com