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Which Hosting Company is Right for You?

Jul 3, 2008
You must have worked very hard in creating your website, so don't let the work go in vain by adopting half-hearted efforts in getting the website online. You have three options to choose from in this regard. First, you can host the site directly on your computer, second is hosting it on a server, and the third option is to get a third-party host it. The first two alternatives are mostly used in practice and are good for people with a fast internet connection, and even for sites that are inclined towards businesses. Monitoring regularly is required for the maintenance of the web server in this case.

So the easiest alternative would be to use a web-hosting company. They are designed to put up your site using their server while you could access it via FTP to upload your files on the site. Web-hosting is of three types- free, paid and dedicated. Dedicated hosting is the costliest option available and is suitable only for sites that entail such attention. Your website is hosted by the company on their own server with their connection.

It is often found that people are inquisitive about the need or role of paid web-hosting as there is the option of getting this service free.

Then comes the two other options - free web hosting and paid web hosting. It is very normal if a question comes into your mind as to why anyone would pay for a service which he can get for free. There are many advantages which accrue to a paid web hosting.

Paid web hosting provides you with more number of features, like faster internet connection, good customer support, absence of irritating advertisements from the webpage, and also, as you are paying for the services, your needs will be taken care of.

There are some free web hosting companies which refrain from putting banners on your site, but they offer substandard services. In fact, many free web hosts have attractive features, but the low level of technical support is what pulls them down. A free web hosting package is good for entry-level webmasters. Web hosting companies offer certain features as mentioned below, but keep in mind that the list is inclusive and not exhaustive. But prior to that, you need to get friendly with a few terms:

URL/ Address- If you have a domain name, it's all right. Otherwise, you are in need of having a URL address. This is very important.

Space- as a web page most sites require very little space, and 5MB is adequate for a small site, which will take over a hundred pages. Most of the times graphics take up about 35KB of space, but if it is a graphics intensive site, or one featuring downloads, then you will need around 15-20MB. Unlimited space though offered by many web-hosts is not required as such.

Bandwidth/ transfer- this is a monthly affair, and accounts for the total number of files transferred from your site in a month. The best option being unlimited bandwidth. You need no less than 1GB per month for average sites.

CGI-BIN- This is of paramount significance as far as your dealing with interactive scripts like guest-books, counters is concerned. It provides you with the facility of remote hosting also bearing the banners from the site that live up to the task of presenting them.

SSI: This is a special function which channelizes the server for inclusion of a given thing on your webpage. It could be text, or any other thing.

My SQL/PHP/ASP Support- A database format like these is of immense importance in order to keep a database on your site. Interestingly enough, some key sites are generated by ASP.

Technical Support: Free hosts do not provide such a good technical support as paid hosts do. As you might know, monitoring the websites is constantly required, and upon encountering any problem, you might need technical support from the host, so this bit is an important aspect of a web host.

E- mail- It is always wise to have a POP3 mail service as it lets you receive any message from your web-host before they send it to you. Actually, it is very common to have such mails provided you have a domain name.

FrontPage Extensions- these are some extensions that you require if you employ Microsoft FrontPage to construct your web-site. You can also include FrontPage components in your site.

SSL/Secure Server: This is needed for ensuring safe facilities for ordering from your website.

Statistics/ Log Files- this section provides you with information about your users, like what files have been downloaded and which of the pages have been accessed.

FTP Accounts: Users get the option of downloading files by logging into an area of your website with anonymous FTP. Basically, File Transfer Protocol [FTP] allows you to upload files on your server.

About Paid-hosting: most free web-hosting can be upgraded to ad-free hosting for a minimal monthly fee and usually with better technical support. So you can search out a better web-host and dump those unwanted advertisements. It usually costs $5 to $75 per month, as compared to the dedicated servers which cost around $150 per month.

However, if you are opting for paid web host services, then you must ask them about a list of all the websites which they host. By doing this, you can contact webmasters of those sites and get first-hand information about the web host. Also, enquire about the technical support, since this is a very important factor as far as paid web hosts go.

Always bear in mind to go through all their terms and conditions. It is often seen that some free hosts do ask you for the ownership of the copyright of your page. This is an obstruction to advertise on your own website. So, be aware of all the restrictions to advance properly.
About the Author
Republished with permission from WebHostingMadness.com, a provider of web hosting company reviews, comparisons and detailed articles about web hosting.
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