Anybody can create a presence on the Internet. Building a web site can be as simple as using a word processor, but once you have the website you need a way to publish it on the World Wide Web. This is where web-hosting comes into picture.

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A web host rents you disk space and provides all the services necessary for others to see your web site on the Internet. Barring technical problems, a web host operates 24×7 so that anybody in the world can access your web site at any time.

There are thousands of web hosts to choose from so choosing an appropriate host can be a difficult task. The prices range from free to hundreds of dollars a year. Hosting companies can offer a number of services that can be confusing to a novice. It is very important to have all the knowledge about web hosting so that you can easily understand the different services offered by the different web hosting companies and make a right choice.

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Now comes Free or Paid web hosting?

There are plenty of hosting companies that provide free hosting, so why bother paying for it? The old adage ‘You get what you pay for’ is just as valid in the electronic age as it was 100 years ago. In web hosting, when you pay nothing you sometimes end up with nothing.

Most free web hosts offer limited services. Even though they are not charging you to host your website, they still need to make money. They often do this by placing advertising on your site. You probably won’t have any control over what kind of ads show up – it’s a matter of take it or leave it.

In addition, free hosts may restrict the content you place on your site. You may not be allowed to sell things or have certain content such as videos or music. Finally, your web site could simply disappear overnight. New companies that offer free hosting pop up almost everyday, but they also vanish with astonishing regularity. When your hosting company vanishes, your web site goes with it.

Shared vs. Dedicated Hosting

If you are starting a web site for personal reasons or have a website where you do not expect excessive traffic you can save quite a bit of money by choosing shared hosting. Shared hosting means that your entire account, including your web page, email and applications is hosted on a server with others accounts.

If, however, your web site really starts picking up hits or has a lot of high bandwidth content such as flash applications or streaming content, there is a good chance that the information will not get to the recipient as fast as they are used to or will bog down other clients’ web pages on the shared server.

The upside is that you always can start with a shared server and if you (or the web hosting company) determine you need to move to a dedicated server, the migration process is simple and easy to accomplish.

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