Hosting is nothing more than a place where your website will be located. See it like an external hard drive that serves your website to the rest of the world. There are many companies that can provide you with these hosting services, but I suggest that first, you read forums and blogs about other user experiences for the hosting company that you are planning to choose. In that way, you don't fall into surprises like bad services, slow speeds and reliability problems. I chose a local company named Compbell.
(For people in Belgium, stay away from Telenet shared website hosting, I had terrible experiences with this company).
I chose for a shared Linux server, but this decision, depends on the tools and software you are going to install. (explained further in part 3)
Shared or Dedicated Server?
Most websites are on a shared server, which means that you share the same hardware/hard disk/etc. with other websites. This is cheaper in yearly costs and slower than a more expensive dedicated server where you have all the space and hardware for yourself. A dedicated server is only interesting for huge content websites or e-commerce.
While searching for the best hosting company, you also need to choose a domain name. If you are lucky, the name you want is still free; as in my case, the domain name "dirkbeckers" was still available. Optionally you can choose different extensions like *.com *.net *.org *.eu *.be and many others.
To be continued...