March 08, 2006Volume 5 Number 10 Issue 97
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Web Hosting Options

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Web Hosting Options

This installment of The Great Ideazine will deal with finding the right host for discuss what your options are so that you can find your “perfect host”.

A host is a server which provides a home for your website on the World Wide Web. Just as your computer contains all your files, so a host contains all the files needed to run your website. Why can’t you just keep all those files on your own computer? Because that would mean users would have to connect directly to your computer to see your website. Not a good idea—it wouldn’t be secure and it would make your machine run like a tired snail. With a host, you can simply upload everything you need to the server and your users can then connect there to see your site. It lets the site run faster and allows it to have all the security and extras it needs.

Selecting a host is the first important step towards building your Internet business.

As a side note, when I first started out, an old beater of a machine was turned into a server. I used Linux (free) and Apache (free) to run my server. Since my office was on a shared WAN connection, I needed only to register with a DNS provider (a friend, free) and my server was on-line. This worked very well and I added a second server and registered to provide my own DNS service. This was good for quite a while, but now my business has grown, and the time spent managing the server could be better spent growing my business.

If you have been following my server woes lately, you will know that all hosting companies are not the same *8>( Since I have moved my web sites from my own servers, I have found significant issues with external hosting companies and the script hosting services provided. I am now on my third external hosting company and have issues with all three. The current site for my newsletter script seems to be okay. Once Will Bontrager created a work-around for the server short-coming, the server seems much better. On previous servers, my list (about 25,000 subscribers) took about 70 minutes to send out my newsletter. The new server takes a touch more than half of that. I’ll keep your posted on how it works out.

Comparison of Hosting Options

Hosting services and companies vary from totally free, shared servers to large-scale dedicated machines. You’ll have to decide which is right for you and your business. To help you make that decision, study the following tables:

FREE SERVERS
AdvantagesDisadvantages
No CostSearch engines view free hosting services as inferior and sometimes do not include them in their index.

You must manage the server software and network.

Some free hosting services do not allow you to use a custom domain name.

The bandwidth is restricted and may cause difficulty for visitors attempting to access your site.

Because the service is free, some providers do not always strive for 100% uptime which could result in your site being frequently inaccessible.

Software availability is limited, and free hosts do not generally provide database options.

Disk space is sometimes limited; ensure that you are getting all the room you need.

Poor response time for support.

Very limited support

Cheap Web Hosting
AdvantagesDisadvantages
Low Cost
Server, software and network is managed and supported for you.Bandwidth restrictions
You can select a custom domain name.Shared processing power
Search engines don’t view you as second class if you have your own domain nameLimited software, or additional charges for software
Improved response time for support.
Uptime is improved.
Potentially limited disk space
Technical support is provided, generally 24 hours a day.

Web Hosting—Shared Servers
AdvantagesDisadvantages
Server, software and network is managed and supported for youMid-Priced
You can select a custom domain nameShared processing power.
Search engines don’t view you as second class if you have your own domain name
Improved response time for support
Uptime is improved and generally guaranteed
Technical support is provided, generally 24 hours a day
Generally offer a wide range of software options and configurable bundles
Improved bandwidth

Dedicated Servers
AdvantagesDisadvantages
Server, software and network is managed and supported for you.Expensive
You can select a custom domain name. Frequently a number of domain names are included in the packageThe cost is higher than any other option
You can select a custom domain name
Search engines don’t view you as second class
Improved response time for support
Uptime is improved and generally guaranteed
Technical support is provided, generally 24 hours a day
Generally offer a wide range of software options and configurable bundles
Improved bandwidth
Processing power is not shared


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Your choice of server will depend on how much money you have available at the beginning and how much you plan to grow in the future. In my opinion, for commercial sites, free hosting is a waste of time. Your users are going to get blasted with annoying pop-ups every time they surf to your page. It’s going to be impossible to get a decent position in a search engine. You don’t even get a real business URL. No one’s going to remember your Web address if they have to type www.freehosting.com/my_site. But it is possible to choose a cheap host at the beginning and move up as your business begins to bring in money.

Until next time…

warmly,
Jim Green

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