Insiders Guide to Web Hosting
Copyright 2006 Geoff Morris
A good friend of mine just could not get her head around the concept of web hosting. She likened it as to some ethereal computer somewhere up in the clouds, with an intimately massive hard disc. Well, in many respects, her concept was partially right.
Web hosting is a business that provides servers or computers for your website to actually reside in. It allows users all over the world to be able to access your website. There are a number of ways you can use web hosting.
One of the methods is to do web hosting on your own. This method allows you to have total control over your website and be able to have control of all hosting services you require.
The biggest drawback for this hosting method is it is very expensive and can be very difficult. It requires a lot of technical skills to do web hosting. Unless you have the money and technical skills required, it is highly recommended that you turn to one of the many hosting services provided by reputable hosting providers rather than doing it on your own.
But if you are determined, you can host your websites on a desktop computer. The disadvantage in doing this though is that all files and accounts on your personal computer can be exposed to security risks, such as hackers.
In order to prevent this you need to install costly software called a firewall and this in itself can prove very time consuming as well - these firewalls sometimes block the very things you want on your computer!
Aside from that, the amount of time you need for web hosting leaves you little time to attend to other business - not a good idea.
Another web hosting option is free hosting. Free hosting can be good if your website is a personal one. Also, if the web hosting features are secondary considerations for you.
There are some disadvantages in using free web hosting though
1. fact that you cannot use customer service,
2. the number of selling banners on your site,
3. uptime is not guaranteed and others...
If you are running a business, it is a huge disadvantage to have no uptime guarantee considering the fact that you are relying on the business site to generate sales or provide necessary info about your products.
Paid web hosting is another viable option. But you need to consider the web hosting costs before you sign the dotted line. You also need to know beforehand what features are you exactly looking for to prevent paying for costs of features that you do not really need.
When choosing a web hosting service, there are a number of things you should look out for:
1. Does the service offer an easy to use control panel. i.e. is it easy to upload your files and so forth.
2. Has it got a stats counter, so you can see what activity is going on on your web sites.
3. Does it support your actual applications. Some sites may only offer Linux, which may not run some applications.
4. Does it offer good levels of technical support
5. Does it run an Affiliate Program ( so if you are happy, you will recommend it, and make a few bob)
6. Does it offer a high percentage of Up Time. i.e do they have a good reputation. You dont want your sites down rally for any time at all. Time is money.
7. Does it offer a fixed number of domain names, or sub domain names, or is it pen ended?
8, What volume of bandwidth can they offer you, or do you have to pay more over certain volumes of downloads per month.
9. Based on personal experience, if you go for a branded web hosting site ( i.e. an affiliate of a large organization (like GoDaddy for instance) make sure that the affiliate is not going to go belly up, or walk away with your money. Check that you are covered at least in some extent from the main web server organization, I once lost all my hosting on such a service provider during 2005, which cost me dear in lost business and relocating dozens of my web sites to another host.
10. Make sure the service is within your budget.
This is not by any means an exhaustive list. There is a Blog on my main site I see the Author Bio Box) if you would like to add any other comments.
Web hosting services could cost you for as low as $10 to as high as $5,000 a month. The cost will depend on the disk space, data transfer, features you add and whether or not you require a dedicated server.
Dedicated server refers to web hosting a single companys web site only. Dedicated servers cater for large companies with complex features in their websites. That would justify their huge monthly charges of $5,000. Chances are you are not looking to something quite that big - not yet anyways!
Payment schemes for paid web hosting are monthly, semi-annually, annually or once every 2 years.
Small companies can use shared server services so as to minimize the costs. $5,000 a month web hosting fee is definitely way too much for individuals or small to medium-sized companies. Shared servers serve the same purpose and are much more affordable.
Most paid web hosting service has money back no questions asked guarantee. They also assure you of 99% uptime. In cases where they were not able to maintain a 99% uptime, some reputable web hosting service will reimburse you an amount equal to the number of downtime minutes.
Web hosting can be a simple or complicated process depending on the kind of features your website requires. Whether you opt for a free or paid web hosting service, the decision would boil down to personal preference and necessity.
Getting on the web can be a profitable and enjoyable experience, I hope this article has helped clear up any issues you had with web hosting information.
Geoff Morris has been in Internet Marketing for some years, and has been coached by some of the top gurus. Visit his On Line Web Hosting Research web site for ideas on Web Hosting facilities at http://www.hostingonlineguide.info