There is not much point in having a website or blog if it isn’t going to be available to other people online. Web hosting is basically a service that stores all the data from your site, and delivers the requested information when anyone online tries to access one of your pages. If you choose shared hosting, you can usually expect your website to be stored on a large server in a data centre. There is also the option of dedicated web hosting where you have your own server, but this is only really practical if your website has millions of visitors a month.
Two of the most important considerations when choosing web hosting would be bandwidth and storage space. The easiest way to explain bandwidth would be to say it is the amount of traffic that is going to be allowed to access your website. So, if your bandwidth is one gigabyte for a month, your website is only going to able to handle demands for data up to this amount. This might be fine if you only get a few visitors every day, but if your website is popular, you could soon use up all of your bandwidth.
Your web hosting storage space is the amount of data you are allowed to store on the server. If you only ever have written content on a basic blog, you are probably not going to need much space. The problem is that if you want to have photos, video, and audio files, you may need much more space. If you only plan on having a small website, you might get away with one gigabyte of storage space, but anything more ambitious than this, and you are going to need more.
Cloud hosting is big news at the moment, but there can be a bit of confusion as to what it actually involves. It basically means your data is stored on a network of computers rather than limited to just one machine. This can be useful because it means there is plenty of capacity for your website to grown, and you only need to pay for the resources you are using at the time.
If you have a website, you are going to need some form of web hosting. If you have no plans to turn your site into a business, and you don’t expect there to be much traffic, you can probably get away with free hosting. There are likely to be restrictions involved with this type of deal such as a limited selection of website themes and only a modest amount of bandwidth and storage space. You may also be expected to allow free advertisements on your site as part of the deal – few things in life are truly free.
If you want to approach blogging or website ownership in a more professional way, you are going to need to arrange your own hosting. Shared hosting can be a good place to start if you only have a small amount of traffic, but as your audience grows, you are going to want to consider dedicated web hosting or cloud hosting.