When I started my first site I didn’t really know very much about being a webmaster let alone web hosting. I began, as many do, by using a free hosted site. I chose geocities at the time because it was available and was what I found offered. Naturally, I was very put off by the ads running down the right side and squeezing my content. I then changed to Bravenet and though I didn’t like the banner ads at the top at least it was better than having that ugly strip down one side.

It wasn’t long before I realized that this supposed ‘free’ hosting wasn’t actually free. The ads displayed are determined by the content on the page. In other words they directly compete for your targeted traffic’s attention and aggressively work to direct them away from your site and to their affiliate.

Often the ads shown on these free hosted sites include gaudy flashing banners that detract from the appearance of the page. These image ads make it nearly impossible to achieve a uniform and natural look to your design. One day there is a huge flashing red and green banner, the next there may be a yellow and blue banner.

People may choose a free hosted site thinking that they are good for beginners and a way to have the opportunity to work with a website and learn. If you are serious about running a website and you would rather own and control the entire site yourself you need your own domain name and your own hosting account.

Owning your own domain name is much easier than you may think. Registering a new domain name used to be quite expensive, but these days you can register your own domain name for less than ten dollars per year.That’s much less than one dollar per month to own your own domain.

Once you obtain a domain name you will need to secure hosting. Hopefully, you did some research and looked at a few hosting companies already and have an idea of which one you want to go with. When you do a search for web hosting companies you will have no problem finding many different web hosts to compare. Remember that the cheapest hosting plan is not necessarily the best. In the long run you will want a web host that provides quick and useful responses to any tech support issues and one that provides the options and features that you need.

It is also important to know what type of control panel the web host uses. You definitely want to get cPanel. cPanel is probably the most popular and useful website control panel available. Managing files and working with things like MySQL is very easy. A lot of people also like the Fantastico scripts that are included with cPanel. You can install scripts like WordPress and PHPBB with very little more than clicking a few buttons. Fantastico automatically sets up any MySQL databases and tables that are needed. Fantastico has 30 different scripts available at no extra cost above your normal hosting.

The first time I bought hosting was from a very well known company (I don’t want to name them here as I am using this for an example and not as an attack). When I decided that I wanted to learn to use MySQL and php I discovered that my host didn’t allow any of that unless you paid them ten bucks extra per month. They were already charging me eleven dollars and I had seen many web hosts offering more features for less money. It wasn’t long before I moved my site to a different server.

For several years now I have had a website hosted with the same web host. Their rates start at less than half what I was paying that ‘big’ company, and you get everything you need including MySQL, CGI, PHP, Perl, ftp, WYSIWYG editor, templates, scripts, sub-domains, and many more features.