You have an amazing idea for a personal website or a professional one, but then what? Every website on the web is hosted by a company (or sometimes an individual with a home server) that allows websites to be accessible on the internet.
Sometimes free web hosting in exchange for ad banners listed on your website are available. If you do not wish to go that route you need to think about what you really need in your provider. There are times that some may be confused when asked if they need shared or dedicated hosting. It’s actually pretty simple, you are either going to have your website on a server dedicated only to you, or you will be sharing a web server with other hosting clients. What about a VPS (Virtual Private Server), do you really need access to your entire server and do you want to be responsible for all the patches & upkeep or would you rather have your hosting company take care of that?
As it has been known in the past, some companies do not correctly limit the clients per server. Researching before committing can save you a hassle later. If you wanted to make some extra money and get into the field slower before growing your own hosting company (if you so plan to do so), you could opt for a reseller package that allows you to resell the space of your hosting company to other people looking for web hosting.
Do you know how much traffic you expect to get with your site each month (bandwidth), how large your webpage’s will be (disk space), are you going to need more bandwidth than expected if you plan to have numerous photos and videos on the site? These answers will allow you to pick the proper package for what you intend to start out with. No site will grow overnight unless your site happens to be Google, but each site can start out slow enough with a smaller package and if you need bumped up, most companies will allow this for a small fee (if any apply).
Right now not everyone on the web is computer savvy, so if you are one of these then there are hosting plans available for you. Many hosting places will allow for managed support on your website. And others will also partner up with a design company, so if you do not plan to have a general site (forum or blog only) and you do not wish to design the site on your own, they can help.
Many companies will have a control panel set in place for easy installs of popular web scripts (blogging scripts like WordPress, forum scripts like SMF or phpBB, etc.). Control Panels like cPanel are the type of panels that allow for the end user (you) to click a button, type in a couple of things (where you want the script installed directory wise, usernames, passwords) and its installed. Really, it’s just that simple.