How to Research Web Hosting: The Lingo

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Finding a Web host
Photo by channah

You may notice that this post isn’t a list of the 10 best hosts or 5 host to beware of. The reason why is that hosting companies are constantly changing. They change their prices, their owners, the customer service, servers are added, they get more people hosting, and more. I want to show you how to research web hosting yourself, I want to give you the tools that I use when looking for hosts for my clients.

This is going to be a three part series. We will start with some basic lingo definitions so you know what you are looking at. Then we will look at the basic things you want to use to compare each host and I will give you a spread sheet to use to help you do this. Lastly I will teach you the main key in finding a good host, find outside reviews and opinions and we will talk about why this is important.

The Lingo

When you start looking for a host you may be overwhelmed with all the technical language being thrown at you. But I want to give you just some basics in the terms that you are going to see. This will also help you quickly glance through the hosting company’s lists of features and know exactly what words you are looking for and can skip the extra jargon.

Server
Dictionary Definition: a computer or program that supplies data or resources to other machines on a network

Basics: The server is where your website is going to be located. It is basically a computer used to “host” your site.

Disk Space
Dictionary Definition: (computer science) the space available on a magnetic disk

Basics: The amount of room you are using on the server. If you have a picture that is 100KB on your website you are using 100KB on the server to “host” your image.

Data Transfer (sometimes called bandwidth)
Dictionary Definition: Copying or moving data from one place to another, typically via some kind of network

Breakdown: Every time someone looks at your website they are transferring the data (your site) from the server to their computer. If 10 people look at your picture that is 100KB then you will be using 1000KB (or 1MB) of data transfer.

Gigabyte & Megabyte
I want to show you how to convert GB to MB this will help you when comparing Data Transfer and Disk Space. To make things simple we are going to say 1 GB = 1000MB. If you are very technical this is not exactly right but this works for looking at hosts and it’s a very long story to explain why it’s not perfectly right. To give you a few examples: 100GB = 100,000MB or 1,500MB = 1.5 GB. It’s actually pretty easy. If you need to know 1TB = 1,000 GB, but this term is not used that much.

I will be using some more technical lingo further along in this series that is not listed above but you really don’t have to know what they are to continue. If you are curious what something I mention is I would recommend googling the term or you can ask me in the comments!

Next Friday come back to read the second part in this series and get a little spread sheet I have created for you to use to compare individual web hosts!

Continue in the series:

 

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