If you’re looking for webhosting, you might have been led to think that all hosting is the same. There are dozens and dozens of hosting companies, and most of them offer very similar products. The truth is that only the qualities are usually similar. The actual quantities of what is offered tend to vary greatly depending on your goal with hosting. You can read more about hosting plans here, but the following are some things to keep in mind before you make any purchases; understanding these will let you better make choices about what you’re actually going to get for your money.
The first thing you’ll need to look at is disk space. Disk space determines how much storage you’ll have access to, which can bound how many files you’ll be able to hold on the server. This is something you either need to worry about a lot, or not at all: most uses of web hosting won’t care about disk space at all. Decide whether or not it’s a concern, but be careful; higher-end plans that are sold generically may boast “infinite disk space” without expressly mentioning an imposed cap beyond a certain usage point. You’ll want to read your ontract very carefully to determine how much you’re really getting if you plan to use more than five hundred gigabytes or so.
Next is bandwidth. Bandwidth is a stickier issue. Some lower-end plans only allow for a certain amount of bandwidth a month. Some relatively-inexpensive plans boast infinite bandwidth. Much like disk space, “infinite” doesn’t always mean “infinite at this price.” Bandwidth is much more likely to have a cap after which you’ll be charged, sometimes quite a lot, for additional bandwidth. Be sure you know what you’re getting into and understand what will happen to your site if you exceed your bandwidth cap. Sometimes access restriction is better than massive overage charges.
Finally, you’ll want to look closely at your e-mail requirements. Most hosting has e-mail built-in, but e-mail hosting is very fickle in scope. Web hosts don’t want their services used for spam purposes, so the e-mail services they offer tend to have very tight constraints that won’t always be part of the advertising. Again, look for the particular details before you pull the trigger on a hosting plan, and make sure it will suit your day-to-day needs. Web hosting doesn’t have to be complicated, but it will always require you to do your due diligence.