There are a lot of misconceptions about web hosting floating around online. Let's take a few minutes and bust the top ten myths.
1. Unlimited space and bandwidth are the best deals online!
False. Does the computer you're using right now have a hard drive that offers unlimited space? Does it grow in size each time you add a file or image to your C drive? Just as your hard drive has a limited amount of space, so do web hosting servers. Unlimited space and bandwidth do not exist.
If you choose to sign up with a web host offering unlimited space and bandwidth, be sure to read the fine print in the Terms of Service. There will be a catch that limits just how many server resources you can use.
2. If I use Windows on my home computer I need a Windows web host.
False. The operating system you choose for web hosting should be dependent only on your software needs, not on what your home computer is running. If you utilize the Windows MS-SQL databases from Microsoft, you'll want to go with a Windows based host. For most, even if you don't know Linux, you can easily host on a Linux machine.
3. It’s always best to go with a big web hosting company.
False. Small web hosting companies can and do offer excellent customer service. Because their client list is short, small hosts may be able to address your questions and concerns in only a few moments, as opposed to waiting hours for support with a larger company.
4. I can host my own website on my home computer for free.
Technically true, but not feasible. Some people do choose to host their own website using nothing more than server software and their home computer. Hosting your own domain and website from home can be done, but presents a few challenges:
You'll need extensive server knowledge in order to protect your home network and keep your site online.
Your ISP limits bandwidth. You can easily go over your allotted amount of bandwidth hosting at home, leading to overage fees and cancellation of services.
Being a web host is a full time job. You'll need to be available 24/7 to patch holes in your security, update software and monitor your home server.
5. Prepaid hosting is always a bad idea.
False. Some very reliable web hosts offer discounted plans to those who choose to pay for their hosting by the year. Find an established company with a good reputation and you may save up to 50% on the cost of hosting.
6. All web hosting companies have their own data centers.
False. In fact, very few web hosts own and operate their own network or data center. Most hosts rent, lease or co-locate servers in a data center far away from their actual location.
7. I must buy a domain name from my web host.
False. Many hosts do offer a free domain name with a paid hosting plan, but you can also purchase one yourself from a domain registrar. There are some possible disadvantages to getting a free domain name.
8. My website will never be offline.
False. Even the most reliable of hosts will need to perform server maintenance and hardware upgrades that will take your website offline for short bursts of time. Most hosts offer a 99.9% uptime guarantee. If you do the math, that .1% adds up to more than 8 hours of downtime over the course of a year.
9. Free web hosts offer the same as paid hosting.
False. Most free hosts put banner advertising on your website, suffer frequent outages and offer no real support.
10. If you're not a geek, you can't have a website.
False. Many a website has been started by people who didn't know any HTML, CSS or other coding languages. Today, point and click software makes it easy to install software, write blog posts, and setup a shopping cart.