What is a Web Host?
According to Wikipedia, a web host is “a type of Internet hosting service that allows individuals and organizations to make their own website accessible via the World Wide Web.” Web host services run the gamut from small, local companies who serve only a few clients, to large, multi-national companies who serve millions of clients. Regardless of their size, all hosting companies have one thing in common: They all provide you with space on the hard drives of their web servers where you upload your website’s files.
Free or Paid Hosting?
This debate rages on in the Internet marketing community. On the one hand you have those who advocate spending as little money upfront as possible until your business actually begins to make money online. This is the approach I recommend. On the other hand there are those who say you “get what you pay for” and free hosting is unreliable. I beg to differ. There are several very reliable free web hosting companies that have excellent uptime records. I use and recommend 000WebHost.com; their free hosting package boasts 99% uptime and they have all of the features that are necessary to set up a successful Internet marketing website or blog.
What Features Do I Need?
This is the question I am asked most frequently by newbie Internet marketers. My answer: It depends. If all you are going to do with your Internet marketing website is set up a few informational pages and a contact page, then you don’t much at all–any free web host will do. If you plan to set up a blog, multiple sales pages, newsletters, etc., you are going to need a full-featured hosting package. At minimum, you will need a package that includes plenty of storage space for your website files and graphics, sufficient data transfer volume to keep up with your traffic, and one or more email accounts.
For hosting your own blogging platform such as WordPress or Drupal, you will need PHP scripting language and MySQL database support. Also, many of the useful software tools and scripts that many Internet marketers use require PHP and MySQL to function. Most web hosts, including the one mentioned above, support this, so you shouldn’t have any problem in that department.
Finally, you will need to have access to your host’s server. All web hosts offer some type of graphic interface into your web space so you can configure and maintain your site, the most popular being cPanel. CPanel hosting is the de facto standard for most hosting services these days and there is plenty of information and training available free on the web.