Buying Web Space: A Beginner’s Guide

Would you like to expand your small business? Show off your artistic work? Share your ideas with others? Having a website can definitely help you grow your business, showcase your talent, express yourself, and meet new people. If you feel overwhelmed by the technical issues of starting your own website, this guide is for you. Buy Web Space Today was created to help beginners learn the basics of buying web space, building their website, and growing their online presence. The first thing you have to do is buy web space. You can accomplish this in the following 5 steps.

Step 1: Learn how it works

Websites are made of data—computer code, images, audio, video, databases, and more. If you’d like your website to be accessible to people around the world 24/7, you’ll want to store this data in a computer that’s connected to the Internet permanently. A web server is a type of computer that’s suited to this purpose. You could buy and maintain your own web server—which would be expensive and time-consuming—or you could sign up with a web space provider, also known as a web host. This is a company that hosts your website, i.e., lets you rent space on their web servers for a monthly or yearly fee.

In addition to web hosting, you’ll want to register a domain, which is your address on the Internet. If you owned a business called Sarah Jones Bakeshop, for example, you might want your domain name to be sarahjonesbakeshop.com. So while web hosting provides you with “land” on the Internet, domain registration provides you with an official address. Most web hosts offer packages that include both web hosting and domain registration.

Step 2: Determine your needs

Before you choose a web host, think of what you need. Here are some things to consider:

  • Disk space. How much disk space you need to store your data will depend on the nature of your website. If the website will be mostly text, you will likely need less than 10MB of disk space. If it will contain music, videos, or high-resolution images, you will need a lot more.
  • Bandwidth. Bandwidth is the amount of data transfer that your web host will allow you to have every month. Every time a visitor loads your website, the data transfer is subtracted from your total bandwidth. If you go over the limit, your web host might suspend your website until next month. When considering bandwidth, think about the size of your files as well as your anticipated number of visitors each month.
  • Customer support. Are you comfortable figuring out technical issues on your own? If you are, then this won’t be a huge requirement. But if you think you won’t be able to fix your website yourself if it malfunctions, good technical support is a must.
  • Email accounts. Most web hosting plans include email accounts, but some offer a limited number. Make sure to check. If you own a business, remember that you’ll want to give @yourdomain.com email accounts not only to yourself but also to your employees and business partners.
  • Programming languages, database systems, and other technical issues. If you’re looking to have a simple static website, you won’t need any server-side languages and databases. But you’ll need them for dynamic websites—blogs, forums, social networking sites, or basically all websites that you want to be able to update without having to edit and upload files from your computer. PHP and MySQL are the most popular programming language/database system pair, but there are many others available.

Other things to consider:

It would be useful to create a comparison chart to help you see the features of different web hosting plans.

Step 3: Decide on the type of web hosting

There are different types of web hosting:

  • Free hosting is generally unreliable in terms of server uptime, bandwidth, and company longevity. They also often place unwanted advertisements on their hosted websites. This is not recommended, unless you only have a personal website whose reliability and professionalism aren’t too important.
  • Shared hosting is the most common kind of hosting, where your website shares server space and computing resources with a few other hosted websites. This is recommended for anyone with regular needs.
  • Virtual private servers provide more guaranteed resources and better performance than shared hosting. It’s the middle ground between shared and dedicated hosting.
  • Dedicated hosting allows you to have a web server all to yourself, but still maintained by your web host. This can be very nice, but it’s expensive and difficult to set up. This is recommended for advanced users and websites which need a lot of computing resources.

Most individuals and small businesses choose shared web hosting. It’s an affordable solution that includes all the typical features websites need. You could always upgrade later if you want to.

Step 4: Choose your web host and hosting plan

There are lots of web hosts to choose from, and each web host usually offers several web hosting plans. Assess your needs and consider whether your potential web host and hosting plan will meet each of them. Look at the web host’s reputation, uptime, and customer support. Look at the plan’s disk space, bandwidth, performance, and additional features. If you’re not comfortable with manual configuration, choose a web host that will also do your domain registration for you. Compare, contrast, and choose carefully. If you’re in doubt, sign up for a month and try it out before committing to a long-term contract.

Just Host is a great choice; they have a good technical platform, uptime, and customer service. But there are many other good providers, and you can check them out here.

Step 5: Register your domain and get your web hosting

Register the domain you want for your website. Sign up with your chosen web host and pay for your hosting plan. If applicable, configure the domain and web hosting so that they work together. Congratulations! You now have a home on the web.