What is Web Hosting?
Web hosting is a service that allows organizations and individuals to post a website or web page onto the Internet. A web host, or web hosting service provider, is a business that provides the technologies and services needed for the website or webpage to be viewed in the Internet. Websites are hosted, or stored, on special computers called servers.
When Internet users want to view your website, all they need to do is type your website address or domain into their browser. Their computer will then connect to your server and your webpages will be delivered to them through the browser.
Most hosting companies require that you own your domain in order to host with them. If you do not have a domain, the hosting companies will help you purchase one. This is our business at Compugoal Computer Services
Types of Web Hosting Services
There are various types of web hosting services available to host your website. Before signing up for web hosting services, it is important to understand what kind of service your website needs, the kind of server you or your business needs, your budget, and what type of services the web host offers.
Hosting options available are:
• Website Builders
• Shared Hosting
• Dedicated Hosting
• Collocated Hosting
Website builder services is a type of hosting service that caters to beginners who need to host a website, but lack the technical skills and knowledge to build one. Website builder services typically provide you with an online browser-based interface to build your website, and also host the website for you without any additional setup.
In a shared hosting environment, your and other website owners shared one server. This includes sharing the physical server and the software applications within the server. Shared hosting services are affordable because the cost to operate the server is shared between you and these other owners. There are, however, a number of down sides, such as being slower.
In a dedicated hosting environment, you have the entire web server to yourself. This allows for faster performance, as you have all the server’s resources entirely, without sharing with other website owners. However, this also means that you will be responsible for the cost of server operation entirely. This is a good choice for websites that requires a lot of system resources, or need a higher level of security.
In this type of hosting, you will purchase your own server and have it housed at a web host’s facilities. You will be responsible for the server itself. An advantage of this type of hosting service is you have full control of the web server. You can install any scripts or applications you need.
Which Web Server - Linux or Windows?
The truth of the matter is these two web server platforms are functionally equivalent, it all depends on what are your hosting needs, and what are you most comfortable with.
Both platforms differ in cost, ease of use, versatility and stability. Windows costs more than Linux.
Linux Allows for running scripts written in PHP, Perl, Python and other Unix-originated languages. It usually supports MySQL and PostgreSQL databases.
Windows Allows for running ASP scripts and utilizing .NET and other Microsoft technologies. It supports Microsoft SQL Server and Access database.
If your website does not require any scripting support, you should choose Linux hosting because they are more economical. However, if your website needs scripting and database support, you should choose the platform that supports the technologies you use.
Features of a Hosting Plan
The basic features of a hosting plan include:
All hosting accounts offer a certain amount of disk space that you can use to store your web files. It is recommended that you have some sort of estimates on what you need for various tasks. How much space willyou need for your emails, web files, databases, etc. By breaking down your usage, you can better estimate how much space you should go for.
Email accounts are a common feature of hosting, especially if you are hosting a domain. There are three main types of email accounts: POP3, forwarding, and aliases.
• POP3 accounts are the traditional inboxes. You have space on the server to store your emails, and at the same time, you can use an email program to download your mail. Each login and password combination usually equates to one account.
• Forwarding mail accounts are useful if you are employing the service of another company to filter your emails for you. Rather than storing your emails on your mail server, emails are redirected to another email address.
• Aliases accounts are similar to forwarding mail accounts. Some hosts allow you to setup a catch-all alias, which is often used to collect emails sent to addresses not recognized by your mail server.
After you have created your web pages on your computer, you need to transfer those files to your web server. The files are transferred to the server by use of FTP.
Can I host my website on my personal computer?
Yes, you can. But before you do so, there are limitations you need to take into consideration:
• You should know how to setup a WWW server software on your computer. This is a software that allows Internet users to access the web files on your computer.
• Your Internet service provider supports you running websites on your home computer. You will need to investigate your bandwidth quota.
• Your computer has to stay on at all times. Each time you turn it off or reboot, your website will become unavailable.
• Your website will load slowly as home internet connections are not designed for serving web pages.
Shared or Dedicated?
Before you make a decision, you need to understand what your hosting needs are, as these hosting services differ in terms of performance and price.
In a shared hosting environment, several websites are put on to a single server. This way, the web host can reduce its cost, and services will be cheaper. Limitations include limits on storage and bandwidth, and the performance of your website is largely affected by the needs of the other websites, as you will be sharing the same server resources. This hosting service is ideal for websites that do not require a lot of bandwidth, disk storage or CPU consumption.
In a dedicated hosting environment, your website is the only one hosted on the server. Because you are not sharing server resources with other websites, your limit is that of the server. This hosting service is for people who plan to run a very popular website, requires a lot of disk space or run scripts that requires more than average CPU consumption.
Searching for a web host
Before you begin your search, analyze your needs. What features does your website require? What features are good-to-have? And what features are critical?
Things to think about:
• What programming language will you be using?
• Do you need a database?
• Do you need email addresses?
• Do you have a domain name?
• How much bandwidth do you expect to use?
• How much disk space do you need?
• What is your budget?
Once you understand your needs, look at your selection of web hosts:
• Do they offer fast connections?
• Do they have a back-up system in place to protect your data in case there is a power outage?
• Do they require you to make payments in advance? Who processes these payments charges, the company itself or a third-party payment gateway?
• How is their customer support? What is their response rate? How knowledgeable is their support staff?
• Do they provide you with an online website manager or an account control panel?
• Do they support you with an online support manual, knowledge base, tutorials?
The basic features you should look for when selecting a web host:
• 24/7 reliable tech support
• Your own domain name
• Sufficient monthly transfer (traffic) and disk storage for your website needs
• POP3/Webmail email accounts, email aliases and autoresponders
• Scripting support as your website requires
• Unlimited free access to your server via FTP
• Easy access to your log files
• Referral program
Shopping Cart and eCommerce
A shopping cart is a software used in eCommerce to assist visitors to make purchases online. Upon checkout, the software calculates the total of the order, including shipping and handling, taxes and other parameters the owner of the site has previously set. The shopping cart typically provides a means of collecting the shopper's payment information.
Some shopping carts strictly allow for an item to be added to the basket to start a checkout process (such as the PayPal shopping cart), other shopping carts actually provides additional features that the merchant can fully manage the online store.
Shopping cart softwares consists of two main components:
Storefront The area of the website that is accessed by the visitor.
Administration The area of the website that is accessed by the merchant to manage the online shop.
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