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Choosing Web Hosting Service

written by: Lucinda Watrous•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 2/14/2010

Choosing a web hosting service may be difficult for you, depending on the scope of the project, and your project budget. Here are some tips and tricks that will help you along the way to ensure that you have chosen the correct hosting service and plan for your project needs.

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    About Web Hosting Services

    To make a website live on the internet, you must first get hosting service. Hosting service is billed by the month, or annually, depending on the company you choose to go through. You may encounter a set-up fee if you do not purchase your hosting with a domain, or you do not purchase your hosting in annual installments.

    There are free hosting services to consider as well, but these hosting services will restrict your website more than they are worth, usually.

    This will help you get started with web hosting so that you will be able to compare web hosting services until you find the best one for your project. If you choose to hire a professional web designer for help, they may also be able to help you with this.

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    Determining Space Requirements

    Before you can choose a hosting company and hosting plan, you will need to determine the space requirements of your website. If your project is full of images, animations, and other storage space hogs, you'll need to consider that. Use the amount of space that the project takes up on the hard drive that you are storing it on to get a good idea of the space you'll need to host it. Have extra space in case you need to add elements to the website later, or if you plan on having users being able to upload files.

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    Determing Bandwith Requirements

    Web traffic means bandwidth. You need to be sure you have enough bandwidth to accommodate all the web traffic you get, or it will cause your website to go down. Your hosting plan will come with a comparable amount of bandwidth for the storage space you choose.

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    Hosting Features

    Before choosing a hosting plan, you need to look at the features it offers. Consider email addresses, SSL certificates (this is a must if you plan on having any sort of credit card transaction take place on the website), and what your website needs. Some hosting plans will include these things, and some will offer these features as add-ons for additional fees.

    Make sure that the hosting plan includes PHP and MySQL support if your website requires databases. Your website will require databases if there are any user profiles, or store catalogs present for use with the website. You'll also need databases if you plan to run a content management system such as WordPress.

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    Hosting Extras

    Many web hosting companies will offer incentives and extras depending on the service plan you decide to purchase. Some will waive a setup fee, and others will offer a free domain with the purchase of a certain amount of hosting. Consider these options when making your decision to purchase.

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    Once you have a better idea of what you need from a web hosting plan, you can then take sometime to compare web hosting services to ensure that you are getting not only what you need to execute your project smoothly now and in the future, but that you are getting the best deal for you money, too.