The Web Hosting FAQs section is designed to answer all your questions related to web hosting. Whether you want to get some advice on choosing a host, have some questions in your mind about hosting types or you come across some unfamiliar hosting terminlogy, the Web Hosting FAQs section is your one-stop guide to solve all your questions, queries and misconceptions. Choosing the right web host is very important because the success of your online business is directly related to the quality of your web host. And it's also imperative that you should be aware of your hosting requirements and features you need. This is possible only if you're familiar with web hosting terminology such as ASP, PHP, Perl, CGI, SSL, SSI, ColdFusion, MySQL and so on.
Shared Hosting, as the name indicates, refers to the practice of hosting a web site on one partition of a physical server, which may be divided into hundreds or even thousands of partitions. This is the simplest form of web hosting and also the cheapest. The number of partitions on the physical server depends on the particular web host. Each partition is used by a different customer. Shared Hosting, therefore lets a customer share the resources of a single physical server with many other customers. These resources include disk space, bandwidth, processing power, memory etc to name only a few. Hosting many accounts on a single server therefore reduces the associated cost and allows the web host to offer a lower price per month which may range anywhere from $5 - $20 per month.
These are two major hosting platforms. Web hosts provide either Linux-based hosting services or Windows-based hosting services. A web host who deploys the Linux operating system on its physical server is called a Linux web host where as one whose physical servers use the Windows operating system is called a Windows web host. You should use a Windows web host if your web site has been built using Microsoft applications such as ASP or will run Microsoft applications like Microsoft Access or Microsoft SQL database. ASP can also be run on Linux with an Apache Web Server and both commercial and free solutions are available for this, ChillySoft being a commercial software. However, there are certain stability and reliability concerns related to the use of ASP on Linux and therefore very few web hosting companies like Lunarpages are offering this feature currently. Linux web hosting services are generally cheaper than Windows web hosting services.
Virtual Private Servers (VPS) are the most advanced step in server virtualization technology and were developed by Web hosting companies to satisfy the needs of an increasing number of web hosting users requiring more flexibility, custom configurations, root access etc. Virtual Private Servers therefore provide the features usually reserved for a dedicated server at a more affordable price. Each web hosting account has its own operating system which gives the user more administrative privileges including management of features such as FTP, e-mail etc without affecting other users on the same physical server. Virtual Private Servers also allow root access which is required to compile custom applications and to change the ownership attributes of files and folders.
Dedicated server hosting is simply renting an entire web server from a dedicated web hosting provider - you don't share the server with anyone. You can load any kind of application you require such as e-commerce payment engines or database applications. You can control the levels of security too because you can choose to add extra features which are not available on Shared Hosting. For example you decide whether your server is protected by a firewall and how often your data is backed up, if at all. Unless you take up a managed solution or a more comprehensive service level agreement, you are fully responsible for the maintenance of your dedicated server, so you will require some technical expertise or resources. You should select dedicated server hosting if your web site requires customized options, secure information and a high number of visitors or complex applications i.e. e-commerce, dynamic content, database and multimedia applications.
Obviously, the difference lies in the degree of administrative privileges and in the amount of system resources available to the user. The Virtual Private Server allows for increased security and control within an isolated operating system, however it is still considered "shared" because the processor and memory resources of the same physical server are shared by all the users. Whereas in case of a Dedicated Server, you have 100% control of the resources of your own physical server. So you are completely independent with all administrative rights.
Co-location means you store your own server at a facility of a co-location provider. A co-location provider provides an internet connection to your server and allows you physical access to your own server when you need it. If you do not already have one, some companies offer to build a server for you. Colocation should be used by power users that need custom hardware/software configurations, multi-server clustering, and access to specific data centers/uplinks.
The key difference between dedicated servers and colocated servers is that in a dedicated environment, the server itself is owned by the web hosting provider, whereas in a colocated environment, the server is your own.
A Managed Hosting solution should be taken by someone who wants the power of a Colocated or Dedicated Server and the convenience of Shared Hosting. In a Managed Hosting environment, the Web host manages your Dedicated or Colocated server. The Managed Host procures, configures, installs, and maintains the necessary servers, firewalls, and other devices that the customer's architecture requires, including the operating system, and any backend database and server support required to make the site functional. Once configured, the Managed Host connects the server to the Web via its own network, where it is monitored on a 24 hour basis. In essence, a Managed Host takes on the responsibility for maintaining your infrastructure: if a hard drive fails, the host replaces it; if a server dies, the host swaps it; if there's a spike in traffic, bandwidth is increased.
To acquire your own URL address on the Internet, you need to register your domain name. Usually registrations cost money anywhere from $5/year to $35/year. However, if you intend to register your web site as well as host it on the Internet, then a better option is to sign up with a web host like WebHostingPad or FatCow which offers a free domain name with its hosting package.
An IP address is usually of the form 205.66.270.53 and is assigned to every web server. A shared IP means that a server with an IP address holds multiple domain names. Such a domain is accessible only by its URL address because there is no unique IP address associated with it. On the other hand, if a domain name has a dedicated IP address set aside for it, the domain is accessible by both its URL address and its IP address. Usually dedicated IP addresses are used for large web sites or secure e-commerce web sites. The benefits include a private SSL certificate instead of a shared one, the ability to set up one's own domain name server and anonymous FTP access in some cases.
Disk space is the size your website can be. Every single "char" on your website has to be stored somewhere on your web host's server. Each "char" is one byte, and a megabyte (MB) is roughly one million bytes. HTML pages are usually very small, but it is the extra images, scripts, and even databases that can take up large amounts of disk space.
Bandwidth/Transfer is the amount of data the server will allow your site to send in a month. Transfer is usually measured in gigabytes (GB) - billions of bytes. Once you go over your monthly limit, your web host may either shut your site down for the remainder of the month or can charge you overage.
Domain parking refers to the process of adding additional domain names to a hosting account with all of the domain names resolving to the account's index page. For example, say you have cats.com parked to your main account at pets.com. This would mean that anyone who goes to cats.com would automatically go to pets.com. There is no actual hosting involved with cats.com.
Uptime refers to the percentage of time that your web site will be viewable. No host can provide 100% uptime. Even the biggest and best multi-million dollar sites go down from time to time due to various unforeseen circumstances. At present, the industry benchmark for uptime is 99.99%. If your web host server is down quite often, your site will not be available which will leave a bad impression on your web site visitors resulting in a drop in sales.
A control panel is a very important part of a web hosting package. It lets users administer and control all the aspects of their web site including FTP, e-mail management, database configuration, web site statistics, bandwidth usage, disk space usage and do a lot more with a simple point-and-click interface.
FTP stands for "file transfer protocol". An FTP account entitles a user to upload files to a web server from a local computer. The user is assigned a unique login ID and password to log into his/her FTP account. You need more than one FTP account if you have coworkers working on your web site project at different locations. But if you want the general public to access certain directories on your web server, than what you need is an anonymous FTP account with "anonymous" as a login ID and password.
A Database is a structured collection of data. It may be anything from a list of products on your site or the large amounts of information in a corporate network. To add, access, and process data stored in a computer database, you need a database management system.
A specialized programming language for sending queries to databases is the SQL (Structured Query Language). Most industrial-strength and many smaller database applications can be addressed using SQL. Each specific application will have its own version of SQL implementing features unique to that application, but all SQL-capable databases support a common subset of SQL.
Subdomains are used to divide websites into different sections. Usually the subdomain is a descriptive name placed before the main domain. For example, Yahoo has several subdomains for their website. The finance section is under the subdomain finance.yahoo.com and their shopping section has the subdomain shopping.yahoo.com. Subdomains can help a lot towards increasing your search engine rankings because for specific directories within your web site, you can define subdomains pointing to them.
Autoresponders are an excellent way of replying to e-mail automatically. for example, if your customers send you an order form, you can set up an autoresponder which will reply to their e-mail instantaneously thereby confirming their order. A second application of an autoresponder can be that you are away from your office or your work location and want to send a reply to an e-mail automatically saying "I'm away from home and will be contacting you shortly".
There are a handsome number of web hosts that provide great web site creation tools. One such great web host is Hostgator which offers the "Soholaunch Website Builder" for free with all its web hosting packages. The software makes it easy for people of all experience levels to build and maintain a great looking website. However, if you want to use your own web site creation software, a professional and extremely easy tool is Adobe Dreamweave CS5 which does not require you to have any knowledge of HTML and is very user-friendly with a simple point-and-click interface.
To sell merchandise on your web site, you will need to choose a web host such as WebHostingPad which has e-commerce functionality included in its web hosting packages. Or you may want to host your web site with a web host that provides a specialized e-commerce hosting package such as 1&1. With e-commerce functionality, you can incorporate shopping carts like paypal, OS commerce and Miva Merchant which have the ability to accept credit cards.
SSL is short for "Secure Sockets Layer", a security protocol developed by Netscape which encrypts data to safely transmit confidential information, such as credit card numbers. If you want to use e-commerce features on your web site, it's very important that you choose a web host such as WebHostingPad that provides an SSL secure server. This means that when your customers input their credit card numbers, they will be securely transmitted to your e-commerce software without any fear of interception or hacking.
We have 527 guests and 18 members online