Domain names are formed by the rules and procedures of the Domain Name System (DNS). Any name registered in the DNS is a domain name. Domain names are organized in subordinate levels (subdomains) of the DNS root domain, which is nameless. The first-level set of domain names are the top-level domains (TLDs), including the generic top-level domains (gTLDs), such as the prominent domains com, info, net, edu, and org, and the country code top-level domains (ccTLDs). Below these top-level domains in the DNS hierarchy are the second-level and third-level domain names that are typically open for reservation by end-users who wish to connect local area networks to the Internet, create other publicly accessible Internet resources or run web sites. 

For more than a decade, Jeffrey L. Wilson has penned gadget- and video game-related nerd-copy for a variety of publications, including 1UP, 2D-X, The Cask, Laptop, LifeStyler, Parenting, Sync, Wise Bread, and WWE. He now brings his knowledge and skillset to PCMag as Senior Analyst. When he isn't staring at a monitor (or two) and churning out web hosting, music, utilities, and video game copy, Jeffrey makes comic books, mentors, practices bass and Jeet Kune Do, and appears on the odd podcasts or convention panel. He also collects vinyl and greatly enjoys a craft brew. You can a find Jeffrey online at jeffreylwilson.net, or send him a tweet at @jeffreylwilson
When it comes to server operating systems, Linux is typically the default option. Still, some services offer a choice of Linux or Windows hosting. If you have specific server-side applications that require Windows, such as SQL Server or a custom application written in .NET, then you need to make sure your web host has Windows hosting. But don't let the idea of a Linux host intimidate you. Nowadays, most web hosts offer a graphical interface or a control panel to simplify server administration and website management. Instead of typing at the command line, you'll click easily identifiable icons.
The hierarchy of domains descends from the right to the left label in the name; each label to the left specifies a subdivision, or subdomain of the domain to the right. For example: the label example specifies a node example.com as a subdomain of the com domain, and www is a label to create www.example.com, a subdomain of example.com. Each label may contain from 1 to 63 octets. The empty label is reserved for the root node and when fully qualified is expressed as the empty label terminated by a dot. The full domain name may not exceed a total length of 253 ASCII characters in its textual representation.[6] Thus, when using a single character per label, the limit is 127 levels: 127 characters plus 126 dots have a total length of 253. In practice, some domain registries may have shorter limits.
Established back in 1998, HostPapa operates three state-of-the-art data centers. Equipped with multiple GigE fiber connections to the internet backbone, the company built out seismically braced racks and cabinets, fully redundant Liebert HVAC cooling systems, a diesel generator that can run for weeks and a preaction dry pipe fire suppression system.
If you aim to have a web presence, you've got to have email. It's a convenient way for potential customers and clients to send you a message, Word document, or other files. Thankfully, most web hosts include email in the price of their hosting plans. Some web hosts offer unlimited email account creation (which is great for future growth), while others offer a finite amount. You, naturally, should want unlimited email.
The web hosting provider got bonus points for its policy of performing regular daily backups, even on the lowest-priced shared hosting accounts. Be aware, though, that the promotional price on the low-cost shared hosting does go up after the promotional period. That said, Bluehost offers 24/7 phone support, a 30-day money-back guarantee and SSH access for certain plan options.
Intercapping is often used to emphasize the meaning of a domain name, because DNS names are not case-sensitive. Some names may be misinterpreted in certain uses of capitalization. For example: Who Represents, a database of artists and agents, chose whorepresents.com[23], which can be misread. In such situations, the proper meaning may be clarified by placement of hyphens when registering a domain name. For instance, Experts Exchange, a programmers' discussion site, used expertsexchange.com, but changed its domain name to experts-exchange.com.[24]
Also known as a Virtual Private Server (VPS), divides server resources into virtual servers, where resources can be allocated in a way that does not directly reflect the underlying hardware. VPS will often be allocated resources based on a one server to many VPSs relationship, however virtualisation may be done for a number of reasons, including the ability to move a VPS container between servers. The users may have root access to their own virtual space. Customers are sometimes responsible for patching and maintaining the server (unmanaged server) or the VPS provider may provide server admin tasks for the customer (managed server).
Migration or transfer services are often free or offered at a reasonable fee. These services help move your existing site to the new hosting provider. They can save a huge amount of hassle. Just remember that the migration process is often automated, and may fit in with the host's processes and needs rather than yours. Not everything may migrate, and you may find the organization of the newly migrated site makes for harder maintenance in the long run.
In housing terms, VPS hosting is like renting your own apartment in a larger building. You're much more isolated than in the roommate situation mentioned above; it's still possible that a neighboring apartment could causes annoyance for you, but far less likely. In web hosting terms, Site A's traffic surge won't have nearly as much impact on Site B or Site C. As you'd expect, VPS hosting costs more than shared hosting. You'll pay roughly $20 to $60 per month.
GlowHost earned our kudos for its 91-day money-back guarantee. It's six days short of DreamHost's 97-day guarantee, but with these numbers, who's quibbling over a few days? The company also offers 24/7/365 phone support option and free cPanel offering for most plans. The company operates 18 data centers worldwide. Finally, the company garnered extra kudos by driving all its hosting services with wind power.
HostGator gained points for uptime monitoring and regular backups, along with free cPanel or Plesk. We liked that SSH is available for the more technically inclined site operators and that dedicated IP addresses could be purchased. We did take points off because it's sometimes difficult to tell what the price is once promotional plans run their course. That said, with a generous 45-day money back guarantee, there's a hosting solution for almost everyone at HostGator.
All of this infrastructure has been built out to support the a wide range of hosting services. The family-owned company gains points for understanding the importance of transaction security by offering free AutoSSL and Let's Encrypt SSL encryption for its plans. While the company offers sophisticated services for technically strong clients, it also has a Weebly web builder option to get you up and running quickly. 

You can also host your website on WordPress.com, but that's different from the kind of hosting mentioned above. WordPress.com uses the same code from WordPress.org, but it hides the server code and handles the hosting for you. In that sense, it resembles entries in our online site builder roundup. It's a simpler but less flexible and customizable way to approach WordPress hosting. It's definitely easier, but if you want to tinker and adjust and optimize every aspect of your site, it might not be for you.
4. HostGatorHostGator is our top choice on our 20 best web hosting companies list without a doubt. It specializes in website, VPS hosting, and dedicated services for over 9 million users so far. Their cloud-hosting packages are among the most affordable packages of this kind in the market, and yet guarantee 2x faster performance and 4x enhanced scalability, with a dashboard that is very easy to use. For WordPress users, HostGator offers built-for-speed plans with advanced security and free migrations, while VPS hosting users will benefit from full root access and scalable resources. A Dedicated Hosting package, on the other hand, will equip you with an end-to-end management package for ultimate performance, and a price scaled to meet your specific needs. What HostGator is best known for is providing a streamlined hosting experience, as a support team is there to assist you  24/7 and to guarantee the company’s impeccable 99.9% uptime. Plus, you can have your existing website seamlessly transferred to a HostGator location or use their handy Website Builder to create a brand new one. As a HostGator user, you’ll also be entering a millions-wide user community, and be able to exchange opinions with website owners worldwide. In case you’re not satisfied, you can rely on the company’s 45-days money-back guarantee.
For over a decade we’ve helped business owners, entrepreneurs, bloggers and digital enthusiasts make their online vision a reality with award winning web hosting services. For both personal and professional websites, we are the Canadian web hosting company you can rely on. We have the technology to ensure your site runs smoothly and we’re here for you every hour of everyday. Want to succeed online? Use HostPapa web hosting services to power your website.
5. HostwindsHostwinds is considered as one of the best web hosting companies, for not only does it provide 99.999% uptime, it also offers superb 24/7 customer support. It boasts of 100% satisfaction rate for its users with a solid 60-day money-back offer. Its two data centers in Dallas, Texas, and Seattle, Washington have modern architectural design tailored for maximum data protection with natural cooling systems and a redundant A+B power system.Hostwinds provides SSL certification, VPN, and Minecraft SSD server hosting, on top of its regular web hosting packages that offer business hosting, shared web hosting, Windows VPS, Linux VPS, and dedicated servers. Its network design has a redundant communication pathway that secures availability and continued access should there be a path failure. In addition, it has an automatic failover mechanism that reroutes to new system pathways, should a server or pathway be compromised. Hostwinds offers its enterprise-level service and tools for as low as $3.29/month.
I used godaddy for a few years but grew tired of constant price hikes not to mention how difficult it was to edit my site. My site was deleted when I canceled my subscription and I can’t use my web site name unless I want to fork over almost $200. I don’t need online ordering as I’m a small home bakery, I don’t need one email address let alone 10, I just want an online presence so customers can find me. However, I want to be sure I’m buying something I can work with easily. Any suggestions?
On the topic of dedicated hosting, many web hosting services also offer managed hosting. This type of hosting sees the web host act as your IT department, handling a server's maintenance and upkeep. This hosting option is something that you'd typically find with dedicated servers, so it's a business-centric addition. Naturally, it adds a few bucks to the hosting cost, but nothing that should break the bank if you have the resources for a dedicated server.
In housing terms, VPS hosting is like renting your own apartment in a larger building. You're much more isolated than in the roommate situation mentioned above; it's still possible that a neighboring apartment could causes annoyance for you, but far less likely. In web hosting terms, Site A's traffic surge won't have nearly as much impact on Site B or Site C. As you'd expect, VPS hosting costs more than shared hosting. You'll pay roughly $20 to $60 per month.
What sets the company apart is its first-year hosting price of less than a buck a month. The company's least expensive plan is a startlingly low 80 cents a month. This is the least expensive hosting program we've seen, although the price does go up after that first year. In fact, most of the company's plans increase after its promotional price expires.  

5. HostwindsHostwinds is considered as one of the best web hosting companies, for not only does it provide 99.999% uptime, it also offers superb 24/7 customer support. It boasts of 100% satisfaction rate for its users with a solid 60-day money-back offer. Its two data centers in Dallas, Texas, and Seattle, Washington have modern architectural design tailored for maximum data protection with natural cooling systems and a redundant A+B power system.Hostwinds provides SSL certification, VPN, and Minecraft SSD server hosting, on top of its regular web hosting packages that offer business hosting, shared web hosting, Windows VPS, Linux VPS, and dedicated servers. Its network design has a redundant communication pathway that secures availability and continued access should there be a path failure. In addition, it has an automatic failover mechanism that reroutes to new system pathways, should a server or pathway be compromised. Hostwinds offers its enterprise-level service and tools for as low as $3.29/month.
For over a decade we’ve helped business owners, entrepreneurs, bloggers and digital enthusiasts make their online vision a reality with award winning web hosting services. For both personal and professional websites, we are the Canadian web hosting company you can rely on. We have the technology to ensure your site runs smoothly and we’re here for you every hour of everyday. Want to succeed online? Use HostPapa web hosting services to power your website.
If you aim to have a web presence, you've got to have email. It's a convenient way for potential customers and clients to send you a message, Word document, or other files. Thankfully, most web hosts include email in the price of their hosting plans. Some web hosts offer unlimited email account creation (which is great for future growth), while others offer a finite amount. You, naturally, should want unlimited email.
HostPapa uses Solid State Disks (SSD) for data storage. For your website hosting, this means a much faster loading speed. If your server can display your website at lightning speed, this will contribute to the user experience on your site. This includes more time spent on site, more interaction, more pages visited, eventually getting you to the goal you have for your website, whether it’s selling something or sharing your expertise, etc.
The most basic is web page and small-scale file hosting, where files can be uploaded via File Transfer Protocol (FTP) or a Web interface. The files are usually delivered to the Web "as is" or with minimal processing. Many Internet service providers (ISPs) offer this service free to subscribers. Individuals and organizations may also obtain Web page hosting from alternative service providers.
20. ArvixeArvixe is one of the fastest-growing hosting providers in the world established in San Luis Obsipo, CA. It offers professional Linux and ASP .NET hosting (personal, business, reseller, VPS, and dedicated servers) with unrestricted disk space and data transfer, and an unlimited number of email accounts. You get to register a domain or build a website for free, and manage online performance from one of the easiest control panels on this market. The company prides itself with 99.9% uptime, and a 24/7 customer support team, automated setup, and a 45-day money-back guarantee. You can also acquire unique services, such as Forum, vBulletin and phpBB hosting, Blog & CMS hosting (WordPress, ExpressionEngine, and Movable Type Hosting), and Social network and Community Website hosting.

20. ArvixeArvixe is one of the fastest-growing hosting providers in the world established in San Luis Obsipo, CA. It offers professional Linux and ASP .NET hosting (personal, business, reseller, VPS, and dedicated servers) with unrestricted disk space and data transfer, and an unlimited number of email accounts. You get to register a domain or build a website for free, and manage online performance from one of the easiest control panels on this market. The company prides itself with 99.9% uptime, and a 24/7 customer support team, automated setup, and a 45-day money-back guarantee. You can also acquire unique services, such as Forum, vBulletin and phpBB hosting, Blog & CMS hosting (WordPress, ExpressionEngine, and Movable Type Hosting), and Social network and Community Website hosting. 
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