More than Website Design - There are more folks buying web hosting everyday that have no Idea whatsoever about what they are buying. In this article TOD will try to give you a basic understanding of what makes up a web hosting package so you can make an informed decision when it comes to this important purchase.
If you do not like to read more than 100 words, here is the short version:
Before you choose your web host, make sure that:
- The hosting package allows you enough storage and bandwidth for the scope of your site.
- The hosting allows you to create multiple e-mail addresses for your domain.
- The hosting allows you to easily manage your account functions via a control panel.
- The hosting allows you to easily create FTP accounts for transferring files to and from the server.
- The hosting package allows you to"Add-On" domain names so you can run more than one site with your package.
- Upgrading to a better server is possible even a dedicated server if needed.
Before you sign up with an ISP, surf some other web sites on their servers, and try to get a good feeling about their network speed. Also compare the other sites against yours, to see if it looks like you have the same needs. Contacting some of the other customers is also a valuable option.
And here begins The "more than 100 word" version
There are 3 Basic kinds of hosting
Some ISPs offer free web hosting.
Frankly, whenever ANYTHING on the web is Free, it's because someone will be trying to sell you something throughout the entire experience. Web hosting is no different. Sites like GoDaddy specialize in selling to first time buyers who don't know Hosting. The GD experience is full of addons, upsells, special offers and so on. The control panel is like navigating a mine field of promotions and solicitations for additional features and products they are trying to sell you.
Free web hosting is best suited for small sites with low traffic, like personal sites. It is not recommended for high traffic or for real business. Technical support is often limited, and technical options are few.
Very often you cannot use your own domain name at a free site. You have to use a name provided by your host like http://www.freesite.com/users/~yoursite.htm. This is hard to type, hard to remember, and not very professional.
|Low cost. It's free.||No domain names.|
|Good for family, hobby or personal sites.||Few, limited, or no software options.|
|Free email is often an option.||Limited security options.|
|Limited or no database support.|
|Limited technical support.|
Shared (Virtual) Hosting
This is the most common Hosting you will run into. In 'Shared' hosting your site will essentially have neighbors (many other peoples sites) on the same server. Your experience will largely depend on how decent your neighborhood is, and your neighborhood will depend on the Landlord (in this case the server admins). The server admins don't allow and monkey business like spamming a ton of emails using your hosting account, and other activities that drag down the server and just everyone's performance. The Admin's rules are rules that you must be willing to follow as well. They are usually clearly stated and fair and should allow you to conduct your sites business without concern.
Shared hosting is very cost effective.
With shared hosting, your web site gets its own domain name, and is hosted on a powerful server along with maybe 100 other web sites.
Shared solutions often offer multiple software solutions like e-mail, database, and different editing options. Technical support tends to be good.
|Low cost. Cost is shared with others.||Reduced security due to many sites on one server.|
|Good for small business and average traffic.||Restrictions on traffic volume.|
|Multiple software options.||Restricted database support.|
|Own domain name or names.||Restricted software support.|
With dedicated hosting, your web site is hosted on a dedicated server.
Dedicated hosting is the most expensive option. This option is best suited for large web sites with high traffic, and web sites that use special software.
You should expect dedicated hosting to be very powerful and secure, with almost unlimited software solutions.
|Good for large business.||Expensive.|
|Good for high traffic.||Requires higher skills.|
|Multiple domain names.|
|Powerful email solutions.|
|Powerful database support.|
|Strong (unlimited) software support.|
There are also 3 types operating systems common to Hosting servers.
Windows hosting means hosting of web services that runs on the Windows operating system.
You should choose Windows hosting if you plan to use ASP (Active Server Pages) as server scripting, or if you plan to use a database like Microsoft Access or Microsoft SQL Server. Windows hosting is also the best choice if you plan to develop your web site using Microsoft Expression Web.
Unix hosting means hosting of web services that runs on the Unix operating system.
Unix was the first (original) web server operating system, and it is known for being reliable and stable. Often less expensive than Windows.
Linux hosting means hosting of web services that runs on the Linux operating system. It is very common to find shared hosting and dedicated hosting running Linux. This is ususally the choice if Windows is not needed to run specific applications like ASP.net. Linux operating systems are typically more secure than windows.
As a side note, you can run linux as an operating system on your PC (TOD runs Ubuntu) for free. Click here