Monday, May 26, 2008

Web Hosting Basics

What is a Web Host?

A Web Host is simply a company that provides you with server space for your website. This includes all of your web pages, graphics, scripts and files.

When your web address is typed into a browser, your web host is being contacted to locate and display the requested page.

Free Vs. Professional Web Hosts:

All Web Hosts are not created equally. There are a number of free hosting services available on the Internet. However, if you're designing a website for business purposes, you should NEVER host your website with a free host.

In order to establish credibility, you must be willing to invest in your own domain name and professional web hosting. Websites hosted on free servers are not taken seriously and will suffer a serious loss of business.

Your visitors may feel that if you don't have your own domain, you may not be a credible company. They'll simply take their business elsewhere.

Not only is professional credibility a great reason not to host with a free service, but many Search Engines won't even index a site hosted on a free server.

In addition, free hosting services don't need to have a reason to shut your site down. You may get up one morning, try to access your site and instead of your site loading, you may receive an error message. There goes all your hard work, your website, your traffic, your Search Engine positioning, your customers -- all gone.

Free hosting services aren't interested in your business or how hard you've worked to design your website and create a steady stream of traffic. Their main concern is their business. That's why they're doing it. They display banner ads on every site they host.

If you're serious about your business and you have a sincere desire to succeed, having your own domain name is a must. It's not a luxury, it's a necessity. Businesses using the free services are not taken seriously. Having your own domain name is just as important as a professional looking web site. They go hand-in-hand.

The cost to register your Domain name ranges from $9 - $35 per year, very reasonable and well worth every dime.

Selecting a Domain Name:

When trying to select a good domain name, there are many factors that need to be taken into consideration.

Try to select a domain name that contains your most important keywords, as some Search Engines place relevancy on them.

Although there are many new domain extensions available, .com or .net is still the best choice.


Keep in mind, it's usually best to select a web host prior to registering your domain name. Most quality web hosting companies will register your domain name for you.


- Try to select a domain name that contains your most important keyword.

- Try to select a domain name that will be easily remembered.

- Try to avoid using abbreviations or anything that will be difficult for your visitors to remember.

- Try to keep your domain name as short as possible.

Take your time and select a quality Domain name that will grow with your business.

Selecting a Web Host

When selecting a professional web host, your first consideration should be the company. Check out their background. Talk to some of their customers and ask them if they've been satisfied with their service.

- 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?

- Do they require a long-term contract?

- Do they charge set up fees?

- How is their customer support? Test them.

- Do they provide you with free access to a secure server for order processing?

- Do they offer shopping cart software to process your orders?

- Do they provide you with an online Web Site Manager?

- Do they provide you with an online support manual?

Ask for references. Talk with some of their customers and ask them if they have been satisfied.

Here are some basic features you should look for when selecting a web host:

- 24/7 reliable tech support

- Your own domain name (

- At least 10GB of monthly transfer (traffic)

- A minimum of 20MB - 50MB of server space

- Unlimited true POP email accounts -

- Unlimited email aliases

- Email forwarding

- Unlimited auto responders

- Your own unrestricted CGI-Bin

- Access to SSL Encryption for secure transactions

- MySQL Database

- Perl

- htaccess password protection

- Server Side Includes (SSI) support

- Design (and upload to) your site using Netscape or other HTML editing software

- Microsoft FrontPage Server Extensions for those utilizing FrontPage

- Unlimited free access to your server via FTP/Telnet

- Easy access to your log files

- Statistics on visits to your site

- Referral Program

When selecting a web host, you must look at the entire picture prior to making your decision. You may find a host that charges $5.00 - $15.00 a month to host your site, however, their technical support may be poor, or your web site may be slow or down a lot.

A lower monthly payment may look appealing, but how much is it actually going to cost you in lost sales? Most likely much more than the amount you'll save.


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