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The 3 Key Numbers When Buying Web Hosting - Price, Bandwidth and Storage

Jul 11, 2008
There are 3 numbers all web hosting companies use in their marketing - it is the price, the bandwidth you get and the disk storage you get. Let's look at those 3 numbers closer so that you can get the best deal when shopping around for web hosting.

Price sounds straight forward, but it isn't that easy to always figure out what one will actually pay for hosting. Most hosting companies list the price for hosting in dollars/month, even if you really pay for one or several years in one go. So a common price would be $5.95/month if you sign up for 2 years - that means that you will pay $142.80 directly when you sign up (24 months x $5.95), and then another $142.80 again in 2 years etc. This means that the per month price can often appear much lower than it is when push comes to shove. Since the hosting company wants you as a customer for a long time you usually get a better deal the longer you sign up. Signing up for 1 or 2 years usually gets you quite a good deal. Some web hosts also charge a one time setup fee to activate your hosting. Especially this is common if you want to pay per month since they want you to sign up for at least one year.

There is also one cost in hosting that is usually a bit hidden until you really have to pay, and that is the cost for a domain (ie a .com or .net address to your site). Many hosts overcharge for this and don't tell you that you need a domain until you are halfway through the signup process. If you are on a tight budget it is worth shopping around for cheaper domains, you do not have to buy the domain from the same company you buy the hosting from. A .com domain shouldn't have to cost you more than $9/year.

Bandwidth is also known as Traffic or Monthly Bandwidth Allowance. It is the amount of data you are allowed to move to and from your hosting account, it is usually counted in Giga Bytes per month (GB/month). This includes all the data you upload to your web site and the data each of the sites visitors needs to download to their browser to see the site. Normal web sites need a very small amount of Bandwidth. Photos, big images, videos and big files (such as software downloads) take a lot of bandwidth, other files requires basically no Bandwidth even of you have quite a popular site. So unless you are hosting a photo sharing site or similar you need not to worry about the Bandwidth of your hosting. Just a couple of GB/month is more than enough. The way it works is usually that you get X GB/month included in your hosting, and if you use more than that you have to pay a bit extra for what you used. So if you notice that you go over the alloted Bandwidth a couple of months in a row you might want to upgrade your hosting plan to one that comes with more Bandwidth.

Storage can also be called Disk Space, Web Space or Disk Storage. It is the amount of data you are allowed to store on the web hosting company's servers, it is usually counted in either Giba Bytes (GB) or Terra Bytes (TB). Just as with Bandwidth you do not need very much unless you are going to host a huge amount of photos and if you use to much you need to pay for the extra space you use. For even a very popular page 10 GB or so is more than enough, and unless you are hosting 100 bus loads of Japanese tourists worth of photos you will never ever need to go as far as Terra Bytes. Any host that markets that they have Terra Bytes worth of storage just bets on that less than 1 customer in 10.000 will ever come close to using that amount of disk space. If you really have a need for storing that much data you should look at hosting aimed at big Enterprise customers, and then the price will really go through the roof.
About the Author
WebHostNinja.com is a web hosting price comparison site. There you can search and compare offers from many different web hosting companies, to find the cheapest hosting that has the features you need. It is also a great place to find discount coupons to save money when you buy hosting.
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