Choosing a hosting package can be a bit of a headache. Here are a lot of criteria to consider when making your decision: the location, windows or linux, shared or dedicated, free web hosting, blog platform and research.
Many Europeans are tempted to get a web host in the United States where you can get some pretty good deals, but as someone who has web hosting both abroad and in my own country, I can advise you to go with a web host in your country. The customer experience you get is much better, especially since their working hours are day to you so you can solve a problem in the morning and get it resolved within a few hours, instead of waiting for them to come to the office.
Linux or Windows?
Linux servers are always cheaper, so if the cost is a problem, go with Linux. Apache Linux servers often come with php and mysql preinstalled, giving you a rather powerful set of tools if you want to develop your site to something bigger that requires the use of a database. The advantage of joining a Linux server is that such extensions are actually free to install, so web hosts will often provide them by default or at the very highest rate you receive a very low set fee, but you do not have to worry about software fees. If the cost is not such a problem, my advice would still be with Linux because more than two thirds of the servers are actually Linux so you can find more online support for them if you do not specifically know how to use Windows tools like ASP and do not want to learn a new language php.
Shared or dedicated server?
If its your first damn in web hosting and youre not entirely sure how to create a website or how to market it, then a cheaper shared server is probably the best option. However, if you have a good idea of what you are doing, you have a marketing campaign to drive traffic to your site or you have plans on several other sites, a dedicated server that serves as your hosting hosted hosting or serving as a shared hosting hub for everyone Your websites are the solution.
Research your web hosting company
Before logging in with a hosting company, check them. Enter their name and review the first pages with results on Google to see what problems people have had with them and more importantly, how these issues have been addressed. The decisions character is that all servers will go offline from time to time, but how a hosting company deals with this is crucial: The basics you should look for is an online helpdesk with a ticketing system and a phone number if things really get wrong.
If possible, get your domain name from your web host. I know you can save a few dollars by going elsewhere, but then you need to figure out how to target it to the right server, which could be your first barrier when setting up your site. If you do not know what youre doing, choose the easy way and get them from the same company. Even if you get them on separate occasions, a mouse click should be enough to target the domain name to your server, as opposed to tracking down the DNS numbers and so on.
Why not a free host?
Whether paying for web hosting or not a choice based on your server requirements. If you plan to use any type of serverside technique, such as URL redirection, php, MySQL, you need a web host. However, if you put a lot of pages together for your family to see, a simple html website hosting the free web space provided by your ISP should be enough thats what my cousin does and it works quite well.
I just want a blog
There are really 2 pages on each website: design and content. If youre happy to use a design tool without focusing on content, you can use the free blogging tools available from many companies, from MySpace to Blogger. If you want to start with a design tool without having to customize it, its worth getting your own server and installing an application management software like Wordpress or Joomla. This way you can quickly configure your site, but you will be able to change the look as you learn how to customize the templates and maybe even do your own. And of course, if you want to design your website from the start, as Ive done here, you want your own server.