Creating your own website can be an enjoyable, enlightening, and potentially lucrative endeavor. Your site will give you a platform where you can share your knowledge and opinions with others, provide information about any topic under the sun, create communities and connect with others, market a product or service, and the list goes on. And through the process of creating and promoting a website you will learn valuable information about HTML, search engines, and the Internet in general that will aid you in your other online interactions.
After you have decided what kind of website you want to create and are ready to take your project online, you will need to select a web hosting provider. Web hosting companies provide the server space, storage, and Internet connectivity you will need to have a website on the Internet. While it is possible for you to host a website on your own computer, for most people this isn’t practical, desirable, or worth saving the less than $10 a month most web hosting companies charge.
When you purchase a web hosting package, you are essentially renting a space on the web host’s network. The amount of space you get depends on what type of service you purchase ranging on a portion of a single server (a server is just a computer designed for providing information to other computers), to a server all to yourself (something you probably won’t need unless you are creating a company website), to a cluster of servers (something you definitely won’t need until you have many thousands of people visiting your website). Along with space, you also get a connection to the Internet so people can view your website online (referred to as bandwidth), as well as different tools to help you create and manage your website depending on the web host.
When choosing a web host, people will often times look at price and secondarily consider storage space and bandwidth. For this reason, it is little surprise that web hosting companies highlight these parts of their service. Especially for a first time website owner, however, storage and bandwidth should not be your biggest concern. Odds are that just about every web host out there is going to provide you with far more space and bandwidth than you’ll need or even be able to use because of other restrictions such as CPU usage.
For your first website, unless you already have a good background in web development, it is probably better to look at features of a web hosting service such as their tools, tutorials, and customer service. If you are new to the web, the last thing you are going to want is a web host that merely provides you with an FTP address and credentials, and leaves it to you to do the rest. You’ll be better off with a service that has online file managers, easy setup of blogs and forums, detailed walk-throughs, website templates, accessible customer service, and other features to help you get started.
Congratulations on getting started with your first website. Even if the only people that visit the site are you and your mother, it will be a worthwhile learning experience.