You have determined what kind of a site you want and who is going to develop it. The next step is to find a web host provider. Make a list of what you want from your WHP and the cost. Here is a list of possible requirements:
Cost of domain registration.
Cost of linking other domain names to your website.
Cost of email service for your domain name. Does the WHP have a limit on the number of relays or maximum bytes transferred. What is the cost of purchasing more relays?
Cost of the ‘economy’ website. What is the maximum memory size? What is the maximum monthly bandwidth?
Does the WHP provide for an SSL certificate and at what cost?
Does the WHP have a program for scaling up your site if you outgrow the ‘economy’ maximums?
Does the WHP have customer support? At what cost?
Is the web server operating system – Linux or Windows ? Winows OS-s use the scripting language ASP, Active Server Pages and .NET. Linux servers use the language PHP – (originally Personal Home Page but now is PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor, which is a recursive acronym).
PHP is free but not part of the GNU GPL because PHP is trademarked. Windows Server 2008 and beyond now supports PHP. In general Linux web servers have lower hosting costs than comparable Windows servers. It is possible that the developer you chose to build your site will only work on one type of system.
Expect to pay $20 a year for domain registration. Managed web sites can be had for as little as $50 a year. For $120 a year you can get a shared web hosting site with email. An SSL certificate is about $150 a year.
There are different kinds of web hosting programs.
Shared Web Hosting
This strategy has possibly hundreds of domains housed on one web server. All the domains share one IP address. The web server uses the domain name to determine which files and folders to use. A database server and a SSL certificate server are also placed on the same machine. Shared Web Hosting is very cost effective but all other domains could be adversely effected if any one of the other domains unfairly consumes more machine resources than others. The benefit of shared hosting is economy. The cost of the machine and IP connection is shared amoungst all the participating sites. The provider should group clients according to their resource consumption. A competent provider will place hundreds of low consumption sites on one machine, and mix higher bandwidth users with high database consumers, minimizing bottlenecks on specific machines. Shared hosters are constantly moving clients around their servers in a never-ending balancing act of resources and usage. Don’t forget that built into the hosting fee is the cost and depreciation of the machine and software, system operation, maintenance, data backup, and recovery.
Dedicated Web Hosting
If you have a large, active web site, such as a profitable eCommerce site, you may want to move to a dedicated host. The hosting provider places your site on its own machine, and optionally your own IP address. Your application has full use of a single web server. Dedicated hosting is pricey. compare this expense against you otherwise accessing the contractual bandwidth, cost of a machine, server software, and manpower consumed in operation, maintenance, data backup, recovery… AND lost uptime when a problem will occur, most likely outside your normal business hours. See Murhy’s Law.