Also visit www.whreviews.com for some info on what to look for in a host, basics include a money back guarantee, uptime, server speed, support, pricing, storage & bandwidth and location etc..
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A dedicated server:
You have the whole server (computer) to yourself. In most cases, you will be responsible for updating server software, security, and general server management; but there are companies that will do this for you for an additional cost.
You are one of sometimes hundreds of websites on a dedicated server leasing space.
The analogy i like, and others have used would be an Apartment building.
Dedicated servers = The whole building
Shared Hosting = Individual Apartments
Now that you got explanations of what Dedicated hosting and Shared hosting is, you have to see for yourself if you actually need the whole compauter just towards your own web site.
It would depend on how popular your web site is, how much traffic (data transfer) it requires and how much resources it consumes.
For example, it would be more appropriate for Amazon.com to be hosted on a dedicated server becuase their online store requires lots of resources to ensure satisfying operations. While some small local online flower shop might be satisfied with a shared hosting.
When looking for a good host, first decide what you need in terms of space and bandwidth (data that will be downloaded by your visitors off your web site every month) and what your budget is. Then look for hosting offers that satisfy your request.
Some of the things that you should look for in every host:
- support services (real 24/7)
- time in business (check the whois information on their domain name)
- number of clients, ask for a few paying clients you can talk to
- contact a host of your choice yourself, ask a bunch of questions and see how they respond.
Ignore companies that offer "unlimited" resources.
Look for a host that is friendly towards new web masters. That will make you experience much better when starting out. There are many great web host and just as many bad ones. Ask some questions before sending any money. Purchase web hosting one month at a time till you are certain you like the web host.
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