Getting web hosting
If you are starting off web design and you quickly realise it is something you would like to pursue a career in, buy hosting as early as possible. You can get free hosting on various websites but generally these sites lack certain features that you need to make a very fast site and sometimes the URL's will be very long or can be sub-domains. Having a domain up early on is important. For all the time your domain is active online you gain credibility within the eyes of search engines. Another benefit of getting hosting early on is you will learn how to use a hosting control panel which you will need to do if you are setting up a website for a client. Depending on the hosting you buy the control panel for your domain can be fairly simple or very complex. There’s a wealth of options usually from things like setting what version of PHP you want, managing your database, setting up sub-domains, to things like renewing your services and setting up email accounts. You can buy domains for very little these days and put them under one hosting account and have multiple website sunder one hosting account allowing you to easily manage a portfolio of websites. Hosting prices can go very high depending on the traffic and security you want for your website. Dedicated servers can be very expensive running into large figures per month and if your buying one of these you can be guaranteed you will need an SSL certificate and various other security measures.
Good website hosting
Like any business you deal with hosting providers should come across and professional and unreliable. You should also definitely get hosting within your own country. The language barrier can be just too much when dealing with hosting within another country or hosting that has support outsourced to foreign countries. If you’re hosting ever slips to a standard where technical support is hard to deal with or get resolved move to another hosting provider. The same goes for the uptime for your website. If you experience constant problems or downtime on your server and they don’t seem to be able to get a grip on the problem just move. Hosting companies just like other company can see their standards of quality slip, when that happens move to something better. There is plenty of competition and hosts available. And remember cheaper doesn’t always mean better, just like anything in life, with hosting you get what you pay for.
Website hosting cost
Setting up a website is really just a case of buying hosting and building the website. If you are building the website yourself you can offset pretty much all of the cost and just pay a small amount per year for hosting. If you are not dealing in any sort of transactions within your site you can get good hosting and an SSL certificate for about £200 per year. A half successful website running advertising can easily cover this cost multiple times over.