Web hosting is basically renting server space and tools to manage your site. The hosting companies have the actual physical machines that your files are on hooked to the internet.
For most beginner websites you can get by with a hosting account on a shared server. What that means is that the “box” where your files are stored also serves up the files for many, many other websites. There are upgrades to that, but in the beginning, for a basic WordPress-driven site, shared will work.
Prices and services vary by company. Some companies specialize and only host WordPress sites. They tend to be very fast, very reliable, and comparatively expensive. (I’ve never used one.)
If your site gets very popular or grows to be a content-heavy site with a lot of traffic, you can upgrade your hosting account and/or move your site. Many times the hosting company will handle the whole move for you.
Unfortunately some companies tend to over-pack their servers, making them very slow. And some of them have bad service and horrible reliability. And others simply won’t work for WordPress very well.
I recommend a few different hosting companies.
- CDG Web Hosting Prices start at $19.95/year (yes, that’s my business!)
Small accounts, great for starting out with minimal cash outlay. Best if hosting email elsewhere.
- HostGator Prices start at $4.95/month paid annually – SAVE 30% with coupon code cdg30
I’m a reseller for them (see above). This site is hosted on HostGator.
- LunarPages Prices start at $5.95/month paid annually.
I have 2 unlimited accounts with them and have found them very reliable. My only complaint is they charge extra for cPanel.