A website can be used for various purposes, from promoting your products to just establishing yourself as an expert in a particular field. However, no matter what your goal is, if you intend to build a professional site then you will need a paid hosting account. In this way your site will be guaranteed to run properly and will not be filled with advertisements.
Hosting a website is not a difficult task. However, to choose what kind of hosting service that will fit your needs there are several things to consider. Especially if you are to build a professional site, you need to know things like the amount of bandwidth, the volume of disk space, the scripts, and other features that will be required by your site.
Another factor that you need to take into account is the platform to host your website. Generally there are two choices today, Windows and Unix/Linux. Some webmasters prefer Windows while others go for Unix/Linux. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks.
One of the advantages of Windows hosting services is that they usually provide tools to manage database easily. However, this does not mean if your site requires database then you have to choose only this hosting platform. Various scripts marketed today using database can still be used appropriately even if the users know nothing about database manipulation.
Using a Windows server also means you can utilize technologies like Microsoft.NET, Microsoft Frontpage and ASP. They can be very useful for those of you who want to enhance the functionalities of your sites.
Compared with Windows, Unix/Linux hosting services tend to be more stable. Due to its open source nature any bugs and holes will be fixed quickly. Hosting services that come with operating systems like BSD or Solaris are also likely to be more affordable.
In addition to that, there are a wide variety of tools available on the internet. Many are even available for free. Just notice that many scripts need to be hosted on a Unix or Linux server.
When all is said and done, it is up to you what platform is best for your site. Only you know your own objectives and requirements.