Web Hosting - a guide for beginners

Published: 14th July 2011
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So you're looking for information about web hosting and what it has to offer or you might not know much about web hosting? There is no shame in not knowing this information. Everyone has to start at the beginning at some point. On that note, lets start learning about web hosting.

First, what is web hosting and how does it work?

Web hosting is the company's practice of providing space and bandwidth on a high-powered computer server connected to the Internet at very high speeds. Hosting companies maintain large networks of high-powered server computers in a physical location known as a data center. These computer servers are connected to a very fast, and generally unnecessary, internet. The data centers have the primary and backup power, a fast connection to the Internet, and a security monitoring staff.

The web hosting companies offer a portion of the disk space and bandwidth available to a customer for a monthly fee. Once the client is signed, they can upload files to their personal space on the Web server and the information will be visible to anyone who is interested on the Internet. The monthly fee for the web hosting company charges is far less than what it would cost to run a server of your own home or data center. This is why these companies exist. They provide all hardware, software and other technical requirements for you.

Types of web hosting

There are many different types of web hosting offers, but the three most important are shared, reseller, and dedicated. Each type of hosting for a different purpose.

Shared Web Hosting

Shared web hosting is the most popular form of hosting. Shared hosting is a part of the disk space and bandwidth you through the web hosting company in a high-powered server. There are many other sites hosted on this server and the hosting company is probably a good number of these servers in a large data center. The resources of the server are shared by many other sites are assigned to that computer.

Shared web hosting is the best form of web hosting if you are looking for a good price and no more than a few thousand visitors per day to your site.

Reseller Web Hosting

Reseller web hosting is a popular, inexpensive solution for starting your own web hosting company. There are two types of reseller hosting, private label and retailer of services.

The private label is the best kind of reseller plan because it allows you full control over the websites of your customer. A private-label reseller plan is the full monthly payment of web hosting customers, but the dealer must pay a monthly fee to the larger space for the reseller hosting company. The more hosting accounts a private label reseller can sell the higher the profit for them. Private-label hosting allows you to host websites much more than if you use shared hosting for each. This is a great solution for someone who many sites they need to host on a location to save money.

The retailer plans to sell the regular services of web hosting plans of a larger web hosting company, but you get a reduced price for providing customer and earn a monthly fee for as long as they remain a customer. This plan does not allow the control of the customer websites and you only keep a portion of the potential monthly income.

Dedicated web hosting

Dedicated hosting is the most powerful and cost effective solution to hosting a busy website without resorting to buying your own equipment and pay hundreds of dollars per month for fast connections. Dedicated hosting consists of single server hosting with no one else on that computer. This provides the best of configuration options. Anyone who has a busy website dedicated hosting is the necessary choice.

Web Hosting Considerations

Wondering about all the other information provided in web hosting plans? In this section, I will explain the main considerations when choosing a good web host.

Price

The price of web hosting services is one of the most important. There are many hosting companies out there with cheap hosting plans, but they may be lacking in other areas. Do not let the price of a hosting package fool you. There are a number of hosting companies out there that high prices and other features are just as good. Price may be one of the major decisions of a web hosting plan, but there is much more to consider when choosing a quality web host.

Disk Space / Storage

Disk space is the amount of physical storage to give you a web host to store your web files. Hosting companies these days have plans with disk space is usually measured in terms of gigabytes, but some are still offering plans in the megabytes of storage. Depending on your needs for file storage, you may need more or less. In general, the more space available, the better.

Bandwidth / Data Transfer

The amount of available bandwidth can make a big difference in choosing a quality hosting plan. In general, the more bandwidth a hosting company makes available to you, the better. This means you can support more traffic to your website as your business grows. Be wary of web hosting companies that limit or unlimited bandwidth offer. Although many of these offers are legitimate, there are some out there who impose their bandwidth in the hope that the average user will not be much use.

Customer Support

In any business, it is very important to exceptional customer service. Web hosting is no exception. Many of the hosting companies are available throughout the day and night in case you have a problem with your website, but there are some that are only available certain times of day. If your website is in the middle of the night when they are unavailable, it means lost revenue for a company. You must ensure that the web host you select is always available for support.

Money Back Guarantee

Most web hosting companies will provide a thirty days money back guarantee. Some will have a long but be wary of those who offer no money back guarantee. I would not buy web hosting services from a company that does not offer at least a 30 days money back guarantee unless they are proven to be a leader in the industry and an excellent reputation.

System

An operating system is software that the interaction between the computer of the user and the physical hardware of the machine controls. An overwhelming majority of all websites on the Internet run on the Linux operating system. Linux is generally much more stable than Windows. Stability is critical in running a website. For this reason I prefer to host my web sites on the Linux operating system. Some sites have specific requirements that only the Windows operating system requirements, but there are alternatives to these requirements.

Backup

A good web hosting company will be a regular schedule for backing up data on all web servers. The more the data is supported, the better. At the very least, a web hosting company to backup site files per day.

Control Panel

The control panel is the contact for the site administrator will have between the server and host their own device connected via the Internet. It is essential to have a well organized and easy to use control panel interface. My favorite panel is cPanel, which is one of the leading web hosting control panels out there today. Plesk is another, and many will face their own control panel for you to make use. Most web hosting companies will provide a link to a demo of the control panel with their hosting plans. The control panel used is a matter of preference, but it should use.

E-mail

Email is an essential part of communication on the Internet. Most web hosting companies that will give you more email addresses and emails for more space than you will ever need to keep. What you should watch out for companies which opted for a bit harsh for their e-mail accounts and offer only a small number or a small amount of message space.

Uptime

Uptime is a term used to describe how frequently the average site hosted by a company online. No company can be expected to provide an exact 100% uptime. This is impossible due to issues such as hardware, software and power failures. The vast majority of businesses are very good with an uptime, and guarantee them. It's still a good idea to be aware of the uptime placed by the company. If not at least 99.5%, it's probably not worth hosting with that company.

Statistics

As a webmaster, it's nice to know how many visitors you've had, where they come from, how long they stay on your site, and how much bandwidth they used. This information is collected by the web server and is placed in a log file. A statistical software package can read this data and provide meaningful information to the webmaster. The information gathered from these logs can be very valuable in a better service to viewers of the website.

FTP

FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. It's a way to quickly upload or download many files to and from a Web server. Most web hosting companies will allow their customers to access their web hosting account via FTP. FTP is very useful and is a nice feature to have in paying for a web hosting account.

Scripting

Since the World Wide Web began, many scripting languages ​​have been created and evolved into the dynamic and interactive environment we enjoy today. A script language is a way of adding functionality to a website, whether to calculate numbers or information to load from an external database. Scripting languages ​​have made electronic commerce possible. Some of these languages ​​are PHP, ASP, JSP, Coldfusion, VBScript, JavaScript and Perl. I will not go into details in this article for the sake of complexity. If you know how to use these languages, you should know what to look for in a web server for them.

Databases

A database is a place for data that can be used in many different ways to save. Databases are used on the Internet for applications such as shopping carts, message boards, and product catalogs. The more databases of web hosting provider allows you to make most applications you can bet on your web server. Databases are used by more advanced web master, but the information is freely available online should you be interested.

Conclusions

Web hosting is a very difficult decision with the thousands of hosting companies out there. It is crucial to a plan that fits your needs and ensure a good hosting company. I hope this article was useful in making your decision about which company to host with. Happy Hosting!

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