Basically a web host is like the cyberspace equivalent of an apartment landlord. They provide spaces for you to rent and set up your site, and you provide the content. A cheap apartment may be cheap, but it may turn out to be a construction horror that will leave you regretting the day that you signed that tenant lease. The same is true for cheap web hosting services. A lot of cheap web hosts abound online and it takes true grit and diligence to weed out the cheap but unreliable web hosting services form those that can actually be of use to you. You may think that you have found out the perfect web hosting services once you have seen their really low rates, only to discover that they cannot really meet your needs. If you are low on money chances are you would look for a cheap but reliable web host. Most web masters who are starting out need smaller data space, and so they would naturally turn to cheaper web hosting sites. Why waste precious dollars on a large web hosting space that you won't need, right? If you are like most people who are starting out small, you want web hosting service that is affordable (a.k.a cheap) and reliable. Most people would opt for a shared web hosting service if they are concerned about the costs and if they are just starting out. A shared web hosting service is one which provides for multiple sites. Essentially many websites 'live' on one server which is connected to the internet, just like multiple tenants live on one apartment building. The websites that share the server share in the cost of maintaining the server and ensuring that their sites are secure, which means lower cost for each web site. If you are planning to build a site you need to know that you are working with a web host that you can rely on, a company that is dedicated to making your site what you want it to be. Find a reliable host by asking around and doing your research. Do not be content with one or two attractive testimonials. Get opinions preferably from people you know, and see if the positive reviews outweigh the negative ones. One of the best ways to know if a website, cheap or not, is legit or not is to look at the way they do business. Ask around and see which ones do transactions in a professional manner, which services have a good track record when it comes to up times, preferably one that has very rare record of glitches and unexplained outages. Your web host should help create your web site's reputation as one that is consistently available online 24 hours a day, especially if you are earning through this website. Glitches for hours at a time can rob you of valuable income and drive away customers when they begin to see that your site is not reliable. If your web host goes down for more than 24 hours, that is a good sign that you should bail. Going and staying down for more than 24 hours is not a normal thing, and if this happens with your web host, you better start looking for a new one.