What is uptime?
Uptime is the percentage of time that a web site is working.  For example, if some host has an uptime average of 99.86%, this means that your site will be down for a total about 1 hour each month.  We monitor uptime of customer websites of many web hosts and we display this data on the host’s details page.  Some hosts also offer “uptime guarantees” but this is not as valuable as it might appear (see our gotchas page for more details).
How do I upload my site?
The main method of uploading files to your site’s account is by using FTP.  When you sign up with a host, you will probably get an FTP account that lets you access files in your account (usually ftp.yoursitename.com, your main account name and password).  Then you can use a built-in Windows or Internet Explorer FTP client, or some other software that supports FTP such as CuteFTP, WS_FTP, or Total Commander, to transfer files from your hard drive to your account.  If you don’t get an FTP account or if you prefer a Web interface, you can use your account control panel’s File Manager instead.  Yet another method is to use an SSH or telnet client software, such as SecureCRT, to upload using Zmodem protocol (sz and rz commands). All these methods will work fine, but we recommend using dedicated FTP programs as the preferred solution because these programs have the best user interfaces and support advanced options like setting file permissions and resuming aborted file transfers.
How do I pay for web hosting?
The methods of payment which are accepted depend on each individual host.  Almost everybody accepts credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard.  Vast majority of plans require periodic (usually monthly up to yearly) payments.
What is full-service web hosting?
“Full-service” can refer to a variety of services offered in addition to providing web space, transfer, and emails for a web site.  For example, it could be 24/7 toll free phone support, web design services, or web site content maintenance services.
What is domain parking?
Domain parking lets you cheaply reserve a domain name for future use and display an “under construction” default page on it.  You can register a domain and not park it anywhere but then your site will simply be inaccessible until you get a web host.  Some registrar let you park your domain for free.
Does it make a difference what type of desktop computer I use?
No.  This will only make a difference if you develop scripts that you want to use without changes on your web site.  FrontPage extensions can also be done on Unix (or Linux) servers.
What is shared (virtual) web hosting?
Shared (or virtual) web hosting is the most fitting way of hosting for 99% of web sites.  It means that a web hosting company will have one or more servers (computers constantly connected to the Internet that run a web server software such as Apache or IIS) that will be running multiple web sites (it will be shared).  Unless a web site is exceptionally busy or requires a lot of bandwidth, this is the least expensive way to get a real web site.  You can still have your own IP address with virtual hosting and the site won’t look any different to users.  Other options are dedicated, co-location, or doing it yourself web hosting.  In those options you have the whole computer to yourself and you can do things like install your own software.
What is a domain name?
A domain name is a sequence of letters and numbers which determine the address of your site.  This site’s domain name is “WebHostingRatings.com.”  You need to register a domain name before your web site becomes accessible at this address.
What is a domain registrar?
A domain name registrar is a company that manages the registration of domain names. When you buy a new domain name, you are buying it “from” a registrar (that is — you are paying the registration fee to a registrar).
What is web hosting?
Web hosting refers to the process of publishing a web site so that it is available to the world on the Web. Paid web hosting also involves getting a domain name and not having forced ads displayed on your site.