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Introduction to Hosting

by Varun Singh

So you plan to get a website done. That's great. Now you will need to get it hosted somewhere. Web hosting is simply the process of keeping your website online so that people can visit it. In actual fact, a host is simply a server (a computer specifically designed for hosting) where your files are stored that is connected to the internet. Anytime some clicks your web address, the server will send whatever information that the user wants.

So with so many companies out there offering this service, how do you know what is the real deal?

Here are some of the normal stuff you can expect a hosting company to give you: Web Space, Network Transfer also known as Bandwidth, Email Accounts, Scripting or Supported Languages, Database and Control Panel.

Web Space is simply how much space that your hosting company is going to allocate to you for your website. So how much do you REALLY need? For most static sites, with some animations, pictures, etc, you will find that 100MB - 200MB is more then sufficient. Do note however that if you plan to keep your emails on the server, that's going to contribute to the space taken up. This email issue is easily resolved by clearing email every so often or to forward your emails to maybe your Gmail account, 3GB for free! If your site is going to have a database and pictures, you will have to consider getting more space. Just note however, if google can give 3GB for free, the price of web space should only cost so much

Network Transfer is how much information goes over the network. Using the internet is all about transferring information. Your very own internet account has a network transfer limit(unless its unlimited). Same rules apply with web space, if you have a static site, 500MB per month is enough, have an email account, add a Gigabyte to that number, databases and large files only require you to have more.

Email Accounts limited to 5 is actually sufficient for most users. If you have more employees then this and they all need to access their email, then you would consider having a plan with more accounts. The most common type of email account you will get is POP3. Post Office Protocol version 3 is simply a way to transfer emails from a server to your browser.

Scripting includes everything from PHP, JSP, ASP to Perl. These are simply server-side languages. They allow your site to be dynamic. A simple function like displaying today's date requires a scripting language. This allows your content to be unique to different viewers.

Database are a useful way to store information. If you have say 200 products to display, the only way to do it efficiently is to store it in a database. The information can be manipulated and displayed as you wish. It allows information to be categorized, eg. it can restrict to display products that just came in this month.

Control Panels allow you as a user to login to your website and make changes. Of course a working knowledge of HTML is recommended. The main control panel in use today for web servers is C-Panel.

About the Author

I work for Woodpecker Technologies as a Client Relations Exec. I try to answer questions that I face when meeting my clients, who are mostly small business owners.

Monday, May 21st, 2007