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Find Your Host

Friday, March 31st, 2006 by | Filed Under: Using The Internet
 
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Find Your Host

So, you want to make your own Web site. You’ve done a lot of thinking about it and you’re just ready to take the plunge. You’ve got ideas in your head for design, layout, etc., so what do you need to do next? The simple answer would be to find a Web host, so here are some guidelines on what you will need and what you should do.

You will first need:

  • A domain name
    You can buy a domain name (i. e. yourcompany.com or yourname.com) for about $9.00 per year from a domain registrar like GoDaddy.com, for example.
  • A web host
    That’s what this article will talk about. You’ll learn the whos and whats, etc. of Web hosting.

  • Some time and motivation
    With these two things, you’ll be amazed at the results.

Once you have your domain name, you’re ready to find a host. Here’s the who, what, why, where, when and how of hosting (in a slightly different order).

What
A web host is a company that hosts Web sites (see why for an explanation of what Web hosting is). Many also provide domain registration (see the bullet point about domain names above), as well as, some other services such as Web site design.

Some Web sites provide Web hosting for both businesses and individuals.

Why
Without a Web host, your Web site cannot be seen by people on the Internet. To put it as a metaphor, a Web host is like an office for your Web site. The domain name is the address, but there’s no point of having an address if there’s nothing at the address. So, the address plus the office makes your Web site a functional one. A host is an essential element in getting your Web site up and running.

This florist has taken advantage of the Internet and Web hosting to gain additional business and provide information to its customers.

Who
Most Web hosts fit into one of these categories:

  • Large Budget Hosts
    Description: Large budget hosts provide features that are generally best for beginners. They provide helpful tools to build your Web site and affordable pricing. Typically, the support at large hosts is not top notch, but again, suitable for a beginner.
    Best for: Beginners
    Examples: 1&1 Internet, iPowerWeb, Yahoo, GoDaddy


  • Mid-sized Budget Hosts
    Description: Mid-sized budget hosts are smaller companies (typically with 20 to 50 employees) that host quite a few Web sites, but not nearly as many as the large budget hosts. Good mid-sized budget hosts provide support that is far superior to their large host counterparts, but they typically don’t offer as many tools and features.
    Best for: Beginners who are willing to explore, intermediate expert users
    Examples: Dreamhost, HostGator, Site5, midPhase


  • Reseller and Dedicated Hosts
    Description: Reseller and dedicated hosts are usually best for people with a lot of experience in hosting and the Internet. Reseller hosts allow users to resell hosting services and dedicated hosts allow users to actually own and operate their own servers.
    Best for: Experts
    Examples: Rackspace (Dedicated), EV1Servers (Dedicated), Idologic (Reseller)

Among other categories, there are also small hosts and specialty hosts. Small hosts are rarely good for beginners since their support and service can often be sporadic. In addition to that, it’s hard to tell which small hosts will be successful and which will fail, so there’s the added risk of losing your money and your Web site.

1&1 Internet is one of the largest and most established hosts in the industry.

Specialty hosts usually don’t fit a beginner’s needs since they are almost always targeted to a specific niche, such as blog hosting. However, hosts that specialize, for example, in hosting the Web sites for florists, can be a good idea for less experienced users.

Where
By having a Web site, you expand your company’s reach to all over the word. Anyone with Internet access will be able to visit your Web site, and if it’s setup to do so, shop at it. A Web site is an excellent way to provide your customers, friends or family with information, pictures and whatever else you can imagine.

Web hosts are based all over the world. Some are based in California, others in Tokyo. A host’s geographic location rarely has any affect on your Web site unless you have a high traffic Web site that caters to people in a specific location.

When
The hosting industry is a fairly established Internet industry. There are clear market leaders and hosting services are provided by even the largest companies such as Yahoo and GoDaddy. More established hosting companies appeared in the mid to late 90s and newer ones are created daily. Typically, it’s best to stick with a company that is at least a few years old and has an established reputation.

Rackspace is a Web host that has been around since 1998.

How
Now the question is, how do you get started? It’s not that hard, really. First of all, select a host based on your needs and skill level (see the list above in the “Who” section). After signing up, you should be ready to go within a day or so (normally less) and you can start designing your Web site.

~ Douglas Hanna

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