| Hosting Articles
|Web Hosting - Beginers Guide
This is a beginners guide to web hosting that should outline several of the basic components of what web hosting is, why you need it, and many other general questions you might have.
Choose A Host
Choosing a web host can be daunting even for fairly computer savy people. This areticle will cover some of the things you should consider when making your decision.
Dedicated servers. What are they and why would I need one. All will be explained in a brief article. We touch on several things you should know about going dedicated.
Resseller Hosting has become a very popular type of hosting and for many good reasons. Find out the good, the bad and all the other info you should know about reseller hosting.
Everybody likes free but how can they offer free hosting? There are many things you should consider before deciding to go with a free hosting account. You'll be glad you read this.
Make A Website
So you've got your hosting account and your ready to put your ideas on the world wide web but how do you go from hosting to a website? We explain basic website making.
| All Hosting Related Articles
| Web Hosting - Beginers Guide
|Web Hosting - Beginers Guide
For a web site to be made available on the Internet, it has to be hosted on a web server. This is where web hosting comes in. It's just like renting property. There are plenty of companies that will rent you space on a web server. The wide range of services start from free hosting to buying a server for your sole use. You could spend thousands of dollars a year on web hosting alone.
Choosing a host is not an easy task. There are so many features, services and options to consider. The most important factor is making sure that the host you choose will provide everything that you need. Read through Web Hosting Explained and then use Web Host Directory to select the right host for you.
What domain name?
Every website needs a domain name. If you are a business, you ideally need your own domain name. If you are working on a personal homepage, a domain name isn't as important. Some people judge the quality of a website by it's domain name. To get your own domain name click here!
What types of web hosting plans are there?
Web hosting plans range from free personal homepage hosting to large global corporate websites. Read on for the low down on the different packages.
Free Non-Virtual Hosting
If you need somewhere to host a personal web site then choosing a web host is a much-simplified task. There are plenty of free hosts that will host your website at no cost to you, giving you space in a directory under their domain, e.g. 'www.thehost.com/yourname/'. The catch is that you may have to carry some banners or mention the free hosts name somewhere on your site. Check out some of the leading free sub-domain hosts here
Free Virtual Hosting
If you are on a tight budget but want to have a web presence then free virtual web hosting is what you are looking for. You will be able to host your website with your own domain name such as 'www.yourname.com', or a sub-domain such as 'yourname.thehost.com'. The compromise is you may have to display your hosts adverts on your website.
Virtual web hosting allows you to host your website using a domain name of your choice e.g. www.yourname.com. You will be given a certain amount of web space, measured usually in Mb on a server you share with other people. This gives a professional image and will allow you to change hosts with minimum hassle.
Dedicated Server Hosting
A dedicated server is one whereby you rent the use of a whole machine. This can be used to host one or more of your websites. Because you are renting the use of a machine, you have increased control over what software will be installed on the machine. You can even specify the set up. The major benefit is that this allows increased traffic to your sites. You could alternatively co-locate your own server at the host's data center who can look after it for you.
Reseller Web Hosting
Reseller web hosting plans allow you to be a web hosting company yourself. In fact, many web hosting companies themselves have a web hosting company host their server. Some web hosting companies provide a service where small companies can resell web space on their servers for a small fee. You may wonder why go with the smaller company rather than the big. Well the smaller companies may add on certain features to make their plans more attractive and provide more services. Resellers can sometimes be better. The important things to consider are support, reliability and competitive pricing.
What's the most popular type of hosting plan?
Virtual hosting is the most common plan purchased. It allows people starting a serious business or money making web site to get online at a low cost to begin with, and they can increase the services they require as their website grows. A typical virtual hosting plan can range from $10 to $30 per month, depending on the features that you require.
What hosting plan do I need?
Before choosing your hosting package, you should identify what your needs are. With all hosting plans, there will be some facilities that you need and some offered to you that you don't need. Make sure you focus on the essentials that are required to launch your website. You may want all the nice extras but will you use them? It's also a good idea to try and pick a host that will allow you to expand and increase your plan as and when your website grows. If you want to start selling online, an additional e-commerce option for an extra fee will be easier and quicker to implement than looking for and transferring to a new host.
To begin your search, you can browse the web hosting directory and a number of featured hosts, or search directly for hosts who provide the services that you really need. Good luck!
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| Choose A Host
|Choosing A Host
How to Evaluate a Web Host
Choosing a host for your web-site is no small decision. Once committed to one, it will become very difficult to move your business elsewhere – not to mention the damage that can be done to your business if you make the wrong choice. This makes it very important to “get it right the first time”. Find out as much as you can about your prospective host before making any decisions.
When evaluating your host, you will obviously be considering price. But price is, of course, not the only important factor. You will also need to take into consideration
Let’s look at each of these in turn:
- the speed and reliability of the servers and hardware,
- the features the host offers and whether these mesh with your own requirements, and, of course,
- the quality of their support services.
1. Speed and Reliability of the Servers and Hardware
The speed and reliability of your host’s servers will depend on several factors, including the quality of their connection to the internet, bandwidth, and the availability of back-up systems in case things go wrong. Here’s a checklist of points to consider when checking out your prospective host’s servers and hardware:
Look for a host who can provide:
- A T3 Connection (or better), close to a primary internet backbone.
A T3 connection is approx 30 times as fast as a T1 connection. Smaller hosting providers – for example, the proverbial "garage operations" --- will often use T1 connections, with no backup at all. They may be very cheap – but, be careful here, you can get what you pay for!
- Effective Bandwidth Management
In addition to having a fast connection to the internet, your host should be able to manage how its available bandwidth is used . As a guide, it should typically not be using more than 50 percent of its bandwidth.
- Backup Systems
If there is a systems, network or power failure, the last thing you want is to lose your data or to have your web-site go down for a long period. Good hosts will have back up systems in place to guard against this.
- Regular, daily back up of your data
- Backup power supplies
Look for an uninterruptible power supply system (often referred to as "UPS") - a back up power generator available in case of emergencies.
Do they have more than one connection to the internet, in case one of their connections goes down.
- An “Uptime” Guarantee
These typically state "We guarantee 99% (or 99.5%) uptime".
Here’s a sample of the kind of information that the web host should be supplying - this one taken from the web-host Interliant ( http://webhosting.interliant.com ) :
"Our Internet connectivity is supplied by three separate diverse backbone providers: UUNET, SAAVIS and Goodnet. If one of these lines goes down, traffic is automatically routed through the lines that are still online. Our data center is supplied by multiple redundant power sources - centralized automatic UPS system with a battery-powered backup system. The batteries are also connected to three diesel power generators in the event of a power outage to the building."
As well as checking out the reliability of the servers and hardware you will also need to evaluate and compare the features provided by your host.
A full range of hosting features can be viewed on SelectWebHosts.com's “advanced search”, which compares hosting providers on both price and features. This is an excellent facility for comparing features when choosing a host - but to make the best use of it, you will need first to prepare a list of features you require.
Here’s a checklist of things to consider:
- Shared or Dedicated Server?
Depending on your requirements, you may be better off with a dedicated server than a shared server. Dedicated servers are typically used in cases where there is a high level of traffic, there is a strong need for security, or the user wishes to run their own customised software and applications rather than the standard ones supplied by the host.
For more information on available dedicated server providers, check out SelectWebHosts.com's “dedicated server” search page.
- Compatibility with Existing Software and Skills
Is your host’s server, software and support services compatible will the skills and software that you (or your design team) are using? If, for instance, you are used to working in a Unix environment, then it probably makes little sense to choose an NT host.
- Flexibility and Room for Growth
You do not need a database solution now, perhaps, but you may need one in the future. Similarly, a shared hosting arrangement may be fine for you now, but what if your traffic levels explode, and you need one in a years’ time? It is much easier to remain with one host than to change. So, when choosing a host, keep in mind your possible future needs, and whether the host will be able to accommodate them.
3. Support and Service
Once you have checked out the reliability of the servers and hardware, and located a host that provides the features you want, the final task is to evaluate the quality of their support services.
Most hosts now promise 24/7 support as a standard feature -- but, do they really live up to that promise? It will be a good idea to find out before committing to them! Here’s a checklist of things to consider before making that all-important decision
- Quality of existing customers
What is the quality and calibre of the sites currently served by this host? If they generally host high-calibre commercial clients, then, if you are running a commercial web-site, they may be a better bet for you than if they mainly host, for instance, or small businesses with 2 or 3 page static web-sites. (There may, of course, be cost trade-off here.)
- Opinions of existing customers
A host may boast of its popularity, the fact that it hosts lots of web-sites. However, the most “popular” are not necessarily the best -- they may just be the ones with the largest advertising budget!
Indeed “popularity” can be a double-edged sword -- support resources may more thinly spread, and bandwidth may be squeezed as a result of the numbers hosted.
So don’t go on numbers alone. Get in touch with some of the host's existing (or past) customers, and ask them what they really think of the service and reliability of their host.
The last thing you want is for your host to go out of business. So try to get some idea of how stable they are. Number of years in business is sometimes (not always, of course) a good indicator.
- Support and Responsiveness
Try asking the support staff a few technical questions of the type you anticipate you will be asking when you host with them. Then monitor how quickly and efficiently they respond.
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| Dedicated Servers
For people, companies or organizations who are looking for the most dependable web hosting solution for their mission critical operations, dedicated hosting will give them what they need.
Dedicated hosting isn't the right solution for everyone, and does have some drawbacks, but it has many more advantages than shared web hosting.
When a customer purchases shared web hosting they are on the same web server as hundreds and sometimes thousands of other websites. This can have a negative affect on performance and uptime. When you start using dedicated web hosting your website will be the only website on that server. Dependability is the number one reason people choose to go with a dedicated web hosting solution. Most dedicated hosting packages allow you to have multiple websites on one server, so if you have sister companies, separate divisions, other companies you have relationships with you can share server resources with them, usually with out making major performance sacrifices.
However all of this extra dependability and hardware does come at a higher price. Shared hosting packages run from $2 a month through about $50 a month, with most being less than $20 a month. The most bare bones dedicated hosting packages will start at $80 a month and range as high as several thousand a month. Most people find they fall in the $200 to $500 month range for dedicated hosting solutions. When looking at hosting packages there are two major areas you should be concerned with managed or unmanaged servers and hardware configurations. With an unmanaged server the customer is responsible for software, security and other maintenance that the server needs. Selecting an unmanaged server can often save you quite a bit of money over the year. However unless you or someone on your staff is experienced with maintaining a server this is usually not a good idea, and will cost you and money down the line. The next thing you have to consider is hardware for the machine, what size disks will you need, how fast does your processor have to be, how much bandwidth do you need and so on. When making these decisions plan for where you are today and where you plan to be in 18 to 24 months from now. You want to make sure you allow for future growth, but you don't want to overpay for resources you are never going to use.
By Eric Fazio - Webhosting-Advisor.com
Do You Need A Dedicated Server?
Perhaps you are wondering what dedicated servers are for, and whether you need one. Or perhaps you already know you need a dedicated server, but are stuck when it comes to choosing a host.
Whichever way, here are a few guidelines that may help you in making your decisions:
- Do you need a Dedicated Server?
When renting server space from a host, you basically have two options - to rent shared server space or to rent a dedicated server. With a shared hosting arrangement (often referred to as 'virtual hosting'), your web-site shares server space with other web-sites. If you rent a dedicated server, on the other hand, you get an entire server and network connection to yourself.
Shared servers are less costly to rent than dedicated servers. They usually require a lower level of technical skills too, because the host does most of the server administration. This is why shared servers are usually the best choice for entry-level web-sites or for small businesses whose web-sites do not have high traffic levels.
While shared servers are the most cost-effective option for small web-sites, they are not necessarily a good option for large, "mission-critical" or high-traffic web-sites. For these a dedicated server may well be necessary.
Dedicated servers are more expensive to rent than shared servers, and they also require a higher level of technical skill to operate. However, if you are making thousands of $$ a day from e-commerce and your business would fail if the server went down for a day or more, then you should seriously consider renting a dedicated server. Here's why:
Server Response Times and Site Traffic Management
The server response times on a shared hosting arrangement depend on what is happening with the other sites hosted on the server. Your own server response time will be affected by service interruptions on another site - for instance, if another site suddenly receives an unexpectedly high level of traffic. These interruptions will be outside your control on a shared server. With a dedicated server, on the other hand, you alone are responsible for managing, and planning for, traffic levels and other events that may affect server response times.
Flexibility and Software
With shared servers, you will have limited access to the operating system, and software applications will be limited to those, which are provided by the host. If you want to be able to install run your own advanced, customised ecommerce or database applications you will probably need a dedicated server.
As your site grows, your traffic grows and your applications become more demanding, you will need to upgrade your server. If you are using a shared server, your upgrade options will be limited. Your host will usually allow you to increase the amount of disk space available to your site -- but that is all. You will not be able to upgrade the hard drive, Ram processors, platform or software applications yourself. When you are using a dedicated server, you can do all of these things.
Information on a shared server is likely to be less secure than information on a dedicated server. A dedicated server can also be provided with its own firewall. If you are storing highly sensitive information on your server, this increased security will obviously be a high priority.
- Choosing a Dedicated Server Host
So, assuming you really do need a dedicated server, how then do you go about choosing the right host? Here are a few of the factors you will need to consider in making this choice.
Obviously, your choice of platform will depend to a large extent on the types of applications you are using and the skills and knowledge you already possess. The two most well known operating systems are Windows NT and Unix (which includes the Linux, and Solaris platforms). Windows NT, the more expensive option is regarded as the most user friendly and easiest to install, especially for those who use Windows on their PCs. Unix is cheaper, but there is usually a much steeper learning curve for those who are not familiar with the more arcane Unix environment.
Most dedicated server providers will allow you to choose your level of data transfer, usually in gigabytes per month. Usually, you will be paying for this, so you do not want to purchase more data transfer than is realistically needed. This can always be increased as needed.
If you run a site, which is constantly being updated, you will need to back it up frequently. This can be a hassle. Many dedicated hosting providers will provide a back up service for you - usually for an added fee, but the convenience may be worth it.
Your server will need to be monitored constantly to prevent service interruptions. Check to see that your host can provide such monitoring, and how frequently it is done (eg every 5 mins), and what measures they use to deal with problems, which are detected.
As mentioned, running a dedicated server does usually require a greater level of technical knowledge than shared hosting. However, those who lack technical expertise may still be able to operate a dedicated server --- if the host offers some form of web-based automation to simplify the process of managing a server. Check to see if your host can offer such automation (if you think you may need it).
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| Resell Hosting
1. What a Reseller Does
A hosting reseller purchases hosting services from a provider, and then sells these services on to their own customers for a profit.
This profit may take the form of a sales commission - for instance, 10% of all hosting services sold goes to the reseller. In this case, the reseller acts as an agent for the hosting provider. Alternatively, the reseller may purchase the services themselves at "wholesale" rates and then sell them at higher, "retail" rates. In this case, the reseller adds value in some way to justify the higher price. For instance, they may add web design services, or arrange to set up the web-site and email so the customer does not need to do this themselves.
There are many types of reselling arrangements. Here are some of the most common:
Shared Versus Dedicated Servers
- The "affiliate" arrangements, where the reseller places a link on their web-site (or in their email) to the host's web-site and is credited for all leads originating from that link. The reseller provides very little in terms of added services and support and is essentially sales agent for the provider. If you are more interested in making sales than in providing service or the technical side of hosting, this may be the option for you.
- The reseller sets up his own web-site to sell the hosting services and receives a commission for all sales brought to the host. An example of this may be a web-designer who resells hosting services as a 'sideline'.
- The reseller purchases the host's services wholesale and then sells them to his customers for a profit - often without letting his customers know that he's selling someone else's services. (This is sometimes referred to as reselling under a 'private label' - the reseller uses their own company's name rather than that of the hosting provider).
A reseller also has the choice of whether to resell shared hosting services or to rent a dedicated server.
Shared servers are less costly to rent than dedicated servers. They usually require a lower level of technical skills too, because most of server administration is done by the host. This is why shared servers are usually the best choice for entry-level web-sites or for small businesses whose web-sites do not have high traffic levels. If you plan to resell to such businesses, then you should probably be looking at reselling shared server space.
As for dedicated servers, you will need more technical skills to run a dedicated server and the initial cost of rental will be higher. However, dedicated servers can offer the reseller a couple of important advantages over shared hosting arrangements:
- Customised applications - With a dedicated server, you can provide customised applications for your customers. For instance, if one of your customers wants to run Oracle, but your host does not provide this as a standard application, then you will be able to install this yourself on a dedicated server. This 'customisability' can be particularly important if you are catering to customers who require specialised applications, or if you are catering to larger customers, who require a dedicated server to manage their traffic loads.
- Profit margins - Resellers who use dedicated servers will normally be doing much of the administration and servicing of customers themselves. As a result, profit margins will generally be higher. (Note: Dedicated servers usually require a higher monthly rental than shared servers, so will only be more profitable if your customer base is sufficiently large enough to cover the increased costs of renting the server. If you are just starting out, and expect to be servicing just a few, small customers while building your customer base, you may be better off using a shared arrangement to begin with.)
2. Choosing a Provider
Once you have decided upon the type of reselling arrangement that best suits you, you will then need to choose a suitable provider. Here is a checklist of factors to consider when choosing a provider:
- Reliability - Your reputation as a reseller will hinge upon the reliability of your provider. If your customer's "mission-critical" site goes down and it needs to be dealt with urgently, for instance, you will not be well served by a provider whose policy is to respond only every 24 hours. Check your host out for reliability and speed of response to service requests.
- Credit for Sale - If you are acting as sales agent, you need to be sure your host has a reliable way of tracking and crediting all referrals to you. Would you prefer to be paid once for each sale, or would you prefer a residual commission arrangement, where you get paid at regular intervals so long as your customer keeps using the host's services? Would you prefer the host to bill your customers directly, or would you prefer to bill your customers yourself and thus obtain the higher profit margin that usually comes with this? These are just a couple of ways to decide how you would like to be paid.
- Scalability - If you are just starting out reselling hosting services, you may want to pay for only a few domains at a time, and provide a very basic range of applications. However, as your business grows, the number of sites you service will increase and you may also need to increase the range of applications you can provide your customers. Does your host provide a relatively hassle-free way to upgrade? For instance, could you move easily from a shared server arrangement to a dedicated server without needing to change hosts?
- Level of Service / Automation Required - At the one extreme, your host may provide all of the technical service, support and billing for your customers. Your main job is to refer the customers to the host and collect the referral fees. At the other extreme, you may run the server and bill your customers yourself. The basic guideline as regards service and support is that the more you provide, the greater the profit margin there will be for you. Many hosts provide automation to streamline administration or to make it easier and more accessible for those who are not technically inclined. For instance, a web-based control panel may be available to help you set up email and web-based services for your customers, so you do not need to know how the underlying operating system works.
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| Free Hosting
What's On Offer - An Overview
You are running a business. Perhaps you want to test the waters before shelling out large sums of money to set up your commercial web-site. Or perhaps you simply want to save as much money as possible. Whatever the reason, you have probably at some stage seriously considered using a free web host. If so, then you this overview may go at least some of the way in helping you make your choice.*
All of the hosts surveyed below offer virtual domain hosting, email, and (approx) 20-40mb storage space, along with some version of online forms processing ability (eg through Frontpage extensions or cgi-scripts). Most require banner advertising be placed on users' web-sites, though they do also allow users to upgrade to banner-free hosting for a fee.
These, then, are the commonalties. Now to the differences. What sets these hosts apart, and why would you choose one over the other?
It really depends on your priorities….
If you are seeking support and the opportunity to network with others, your first choices would probably be hypermart.net or bizland.com
Hypermart.net is an "all rounder" [www.hypermart.net], which offers a very full range of site hosting features., including cgi and Frontpage support. It also has a wide range of free support facilities and web-tools.
Bizland.com [www.bizland.com], like hypermart.net, bills itself as a community as well as a web-host. Bizland also provides a free shopping cart.
If you hold a foreign (non-US) domain, then Netfirms (www.netfirms.com) should probably be your first point of call. Netfirms can host any country specific domain name.
If your priority is to set up an online shopping cart and merchant account, then look closely at freemerchant.com [www.freemerchant.com] , which specialises in providing shopping carts for small business merchants. Freemerchant.com also allows users to attach free shopping cart functionality to their existing web-sites. It does not require banner ads -- a big plus. On the other hand, the reliance on templates for developing sites can limit the ability to customise the design of one's site
All of the hosts we have mentioned so far are Unix-based. If you, on the other hand, prefer working in a Windows environment, then atfreeweb.com [www.atfreeweb.com] is seriously worth considering. Notable features include support of Active Server Pages and Frontpage extensions.
Free Hosting - What to Watch Out For
We have looked at some of the benefits of using a free host, and listed some of the important players in the free hosting market. In this part we will list of some of the major drawbacks of using a free host for your business.
- Limited Support
Your free host's primary source of income will be their advertisers, and this is where their primary loyalty will lie -- not with the user. In addition to this, many free hosts have lots of users - after all, they need a big user base to support their advertising! So, whatever support services they do offer will probably be thinly spread. These two factors - primary focus on advertising revenue along with a large user base -- mean that you will probably get less support from them than you will get from a host for whom users are the primary revenue source.
- Unreliability of Software and Servers
Servers may be slower due to the numbers of users hosted, or simply because top quality servers are not a high priority. Email may be unreliable. In such cases, you the user will often will have no rights or recourse.
- "Fishooks" in the Terms
Many free hosts will limit your use of their servers in ways that could present problems, and in some cases will even terminate your account if it is not used. As an example, hypermart.net's terms state that:
"HyperMart-hosted Web sites are subject to removal if there is no activity (hits or edits) on the site for fifteen (15) days. HyperMart reserves the right to delete any site it deems unacceptable for any reason without prior notice. "
So if no-one visits your site, and you do not edit it, in a 15-day period, tough luck, your account will be removed! This will not do your business any good! And, of course, you have very few rights here - again, the primary loyalty of these free service providers will be the advertiser rather than you, the user.
So, study the host's terms of service closely!
- Limitations on Use of Web-Space
Most free hosts require that a banner ad be placed at the top of each page on your web-site, and you will have little control over what type of ad is placed. The content of the banner ad may clash with the image your web-site is presenting; and, of course, if obtaining advertising funds of your own is a planned source of revenue, then obviously this banner be a problem for you!
Free hosts will often rule out certain types of trading altogether. For instance, if you plan to resell web-space, or host a banner exchange, you will not be able to use hypermart.net, as its terms of service rule out these uses of its servers. Similarly, if you plan on gaining a large part of your revenue from affiliate programs, or commissions gained from selling other merchants' products, then freemerchant.com is not for you, as it explicitly rules out creating links to affiliates.
In conclusion, if you are running a mission-critical site, free hosts are not the best places to go. (But, then, you probably knew that already!) However, if you are simply testing the waters or experimenting with a site to see whether your business idea works before fully committing to it, then by all means, try a free host - but keep your eyes open!
* Note: Because there is such a huge selection of hosts to choose from, I have been somewhat selective: reviewing only the better-known hosts, or those who can offer something unique which 'sets them apart from the crowd'.
For more Free Hosts try here: Free Hosting
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| Make A Website
|Making A Website
The description of this article can be placed within this spot.
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