There are few Web hosting services I can recommend based on real experience. Hostmonster is the one I recommend for straight forward Web site hosting. There are several nice choices when you want a big VPS or a dedicated server. For your first Web site, save time and money, use the Hostmonster service.
The cost per month is down there among the cheapest but the service is still excellent and professional. You can run multiple small sites using the Drupal multisite feature. You get all the right control features you need for your first site. The next competitor in this field costs several times more without giving you any great advantage.
After a few years when you manage several sites and one starts to expand rapidly, you will move up to a VPS then eventually a dedicated server then, a few years later, a cluster of servers. A good VPS costs eight times as much. Do you really want to pay out a lot of money each month and commit to a 12 month contract for no immediate advantage? It makes sense to experiment and learn on Hostmonster until your site starts selling product or, for Web developers, you get a customer willing to pay significant ongoing charges.
Hostmonster provides cPanel to manage your Web sites, Database, email, and everything you need for your first Web sites. cPanel looks a bit too much work at first but most of it is rarely used. You learn a few options to get started then learn the other bits only when needed.
When you set up your account and access cPanel, the top of the screen has a section titled Partners. Skip the partners list. Almost all of them can be replaced by a better option. Most of them should not be used until you know more about managing Web sites. Contact us for explanations and alternatives before signing up for the partner services.
Promotional is the section after Partners and advertises the same partners. You can skip the same expenses by investigating the alternatives before signing up.
Use the preferences section to keep your contact details up to date and change your password whenever there is a chance someone watched you typing in your password.
Use the mail section to set up email accounts. Do not worry about spam and everything else. You will have a few weeks before spam hits. Get the email accounts working first.
Set up your file access next. You can use the File manager or FTP. Backup can wait a few days. When you do set up backup, make sure it includes the database.
The next section contains various logs. Check the error logs during the building of your site. Check the access logs and statistics after you release the site to the public.
Security is important and you will add security when you add a shopping cart.
The domains section lets you add additional domains. Web site developers will use one or more test domains for each domain they develop. Domain names are so cheap that you will register domains just for quick tests. There are better ways to register domains when you want more than the one included with the Hostmonster account. I will add links to better ways.
As an example of registering various domains, suppose you wanted to set a up a site named example.com. You could register example.com and example.net. Example.net could be the base domain for the hostmonster account and example.com could be added using a multisite feature. In the future you might want to move to a different service. You could register example.org as the base for the new service then add example.com using multisite. Example.net would remain for a while in case you have to quickly move back. multiple domains give you extra flexibility.
Hostmonster provides MySQL and PostgreSQL out of the box. Both choices cover more than what you need. Experienced Web site developers beginning a huge project might choose PostgreSQL. Almost everybody else will choose MySQL.
Software / Services
The SimpleScripts button leads you to Drupal and some other options for those rare occasions when Drupal is not the best choice. Almost everything else is irrelevant.
The advanced section contains the cron control panel and you will eventually use cron.