With so many web hosting companies competing for your web hosting dollar, the companies have had to stretch their imagination to come up with ways to convince you that their company is giving you the most for your money, and consequently, the most affordable web hosting package for you. The most typical way they”ve done this is to throw in a bunch of bells and whistles to create full ‘packages' so that you get everything you need – and a lot you don't – for one low, affordable price.
To the typical new web hosting customer just putting up a web site of his own for the first time, all the options available can seem like a bowl of alphabet soup: lots of letters with very little meaning. Let's take a look at some of the most common bells and whistles that you'll find in web hosting packages typically labeled as affordable.
Storage and Traffic Allotments
These are expressed in MBs and GBs – megabytes and gigabytes. They're the basic building blocks of all hosting plans. Storage is how much room you have to store files on the web hosting company's server. Traffic is how many bytes of data you can transfer to visitors to your web site.
How much do you need? It depends on what you're planning to use your web site for. Unless you'll be running a lot of applications, doing streaming video or audio, or running a very large, database driven web site, you don't need more than 1 GB of transfer allotment. Likewise, you can estimate the amount of storage space you'll need by taking a look at how much space your files take up on your computer. Unless you're planning to store a lot of images or large files, 20 MBs is more than sufficient for your needs.
You can find web hosting packages free that offer you 10-25 MBs of storage space, and for $3.95 and less per month that will give you 500 to 1000 MBs.
Free Domain Name or Transfer
Registering your own domain name can cost anywhere from $4.95 to $35 a year, depending on where you register and what top level domain – what's after the dot – you choose. Transferring your hosting from one web host to another will usually cost about the same. Free domain name savings: 50 cents to a dollar a month.
A sub-domain is a lower level directory in your main directory – except it goes at the FRONT of your web site name instead of after the .com. Some web hosting companies charge you to set each one up, or limit the number you can host on your domain. With the number of otherwise identical plans that allow you unlimited sub-domains with no setup fees, there's no reason to pay extra for them.