Choosing a Web Host

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  • Introduction​

    To set up a website you need two things:
    1. Domain Name
    2. Web Hosting

    Domain Names​

    There are several low cost and adequate domain registrars that you can purchase domains from.

    Web Hosting​

    Web hosting can generally be purchased at a variety of levels:

    • Shared - Most small businesses and personal websites start off using 'Shared Hosting' where there are many sites hosted on a shared server.
    • Virtual Dedicated - 'Virtual Dedicated Servers' or 'Virtual Private Servers' (VDS/VPS) are usually the next step for sites experiencing growth or requiring extra features and allocate space for a server to run in a 'virtual' dedicated space.
    • Dedicated - 'Dedicated Servers' are the next step up and as the name implies are servers dedicated to hosting your website only and are priced accordingly.


    It is common practise for web hosts to charge based on a number of factors and configuration settings, these include:

    • Mangement - Is the hosting managed ie do you have access to support
    • RAM - How much RAM the server has
    • Storage - The amount of disk space you have
    • Bandwidth - How much incoming and outgoing bandwidth you will need
    • Hours Used - This is usually set at 730 and refers to the amount of uptime in a month (730 hours ~ 1 month)
    • cPanel - Often use of the software package cPanel will be charged as an extra monthy fee
    • IP Addresses - The number of IP addresses you have
    • MySQL - How many databases and users you can create
    • Backups - Will your data be backed up
    • Subdomains - The amount of subdomains you can create
    There are then optional extra features such as an SSL certificate that anyone dealing with secure content should consider.


    The benefits of using VDS hosting over shared hosting is that you can define which versions of software such as PHP and MySQL you will be using. Shared hosting often limits this to one particular version as it effects a number of sites, although some hosts do offer dual configuration.