One of the first things you need to go global is a web hosting
package, you'll have to sort out what type of hosting
you need. Do you opt for free hosting or a paid web host?
Can you manage with shared hosting or do you need dedicated
hosting? Perhaps the price benefits of shared hosting with
some of the characteristics of dedicated hosting is for you so
look at a Virtual Private Server (VPS) package. Do you
want a Linux web server or a Windows web server? There are so
many choices and variations on a theme that trying to make your
choice can be bewildering. This feature was written to help you
in your decision making process
by offering an unbiased and informed run down on the ins and
outs of web hosting.
What is web hosting?
Whenever you visit a web site what you are actually seeing is
web pages that are stored on a web server. Each web server
is assigned an IP address which, is a special number made up of
four parts (called octets) that is used to identify a particular
device on the internet.
-- (four octets comprise one address.). Every domain name that
you type or click on is translated to an IP address, the internet
sets up a link between your browser and the web server assigned
that IP address. Your browser then request a particular web page
from that web server and the web server then transmits the data
that makes up the web page back to your browser. You can just
type in the IP address into your browser address bar and the link
will me made but who can remember all those numbers.
A web page is usually made up of text and graphic images. Sometimes
there are other elements designed to enhance the page in some
way. Each web site is usually made up of many web pages, all of
these pages need to be stored on a web server so that online users
can access them through their web browser.
A web server is just a computer on which web sites can be hosted.
The web server is connected to the internet through a high speed
connection and by using special software it can serve web pages
to user’s browsers as they are requested.
If you are planning to put your own web site on the internet
you will to have it hosted on a web server (or create your own
web server to host you web site, but that is beyond the scope
of these pages). Once you have signed up with a company that operates
web serves and uploaded your web site to the web server it is
available to be viewed on any computer in the world with an internet
connection and a web browser. A company that provides the web
servers to host your web site is called a web host provider.
They own and maintain web servers with the purpose of hosting
web sites. You rent space from these companies and in return they
will maintain and service the servers.
There are different types of web servers with different features.
The main types are: --
Shared Hosting, also knows as virtual hosting usually
has many web sites sharing one web hosting server and one IP address.
The number of web sites is determined by the size of the disk
storage and the amount of space each user is allowed. The resources
of the web hosting server (disk space, computer processing power,
memory and bandwidth) are shared by many web sites. This way
a web hosting provider can afford to offer shared hosting at a
lower price than dedicated hosting and other options. Although
your web site is located on a shared hosting server, your files
are still secure and can not be interfered with by anyone else
who also has their site on that web server. On the negative side
- if there are any really popular web sites (or for that matter
several web sites being accessed at the same time) you would have
to accept reduced server response time. Also, with shared hosting
your web site shares its IP address with all the other web sites
on the web server
Virtual Private Server Hosting (VPS) is a variation
on shared hosting, with some of the characteristics as shared
hosting but giving the user more control over how your web site
is hosted, A VPS web servers resources are still shared between
the clients. What makes this variation different is that each partition on the server’s hard
drives is given its own IP address and generally, there are a limited
amount of users on each server,
ensuring that you get a good share of the server's resources.
Dedicated Hosting is where one server (or more) is used
by only one customer who rents the web server for the duration
of the hosting period. The customer may opt to host one or more
web sites on their server(s) and may modify the disk space, computer
processing power, memory and bandwidth to suit their needs. Dedicated
hosting typically costs around 10 times more than shared hosting
and is generally used by high
traffic and important web sites.
Co-location hosting. Whereas with dedicated hosting,
the customer rents the web server, with co-location hosting the
customer actually owns the web server hardware and rents rack
space with a secure data centre. The web server is housed within
the web hosting provider’s secure data centre. Therefore the customer
has full control over their web server and also reaps the benefit
of 24/7 server monitoring and maintenance provided by the data
centre. Typically co-location hosting costs around 10 times more
than dedicated hosting, depending
on the monthly bandwidth and rack space required.
Having reached your decision on the type of web server you will
need you will be faced with another choice. What operating system
is best for you?
Operating systems are software that allow various functions
of a web server run on, much like Windows or Mac OS
used on the majority of home and office computers. Basically there
are 2 choices, Linux or Windows
Linux is a derivative of UNIX. Its use of hardware resources
is efficient and it is a very stable operating platform that is
extremely well suited to meet your web hosting needs. It handles
the serving up of web sites and e-mailing, additionally, there
are many free utility applications available on the Internet.
Experienced webmasters and novices alike
find that Linux is a robust and stable hosting platform.
A Microsoft Windows server provides a suitable platform
for serving up web sites, files, and streaming media, it was designed
to integrate with other Microsoft applications such as Access,
Cold Fusion, ASP, .Net, and Microsoft SQL and there is a large
amount of commercial applications available. You should choose
a web server running a Windows operating system if you are using
specific applications that require Microsoft Windows to run.