Category Archives: Web Hosting

Learn about web hosting, and get some SEO friendly advice.

Web Hosting and Development

If you’ve ever browsed the World Wide Web and wondered how you could stake your claim on the Internet, like the millions of others that have done so already, then web hosting can provide you with the services to do just that. The Internet is a great way of sharing information and it is possible for you to take a portion of the web and make it your own. This article introduces the term “web hosting” and provides some useful tips for web development once you’ve obtained some web space.

What is the World Wide Web? The “World Wide Web” is the network of computers from all over the world that communicate with each other using the HTTP protocol, a language that allows the transmission of web documents. Be careful as this term is not synonymous with the “Internet” because it is defined as a network of networks, where the computers communicate with protocols other than HTTP. The web is what you see on your Internet browser, the web pages complete with graphics, sound and other information. All this has got to come from somewhere, and this is where web hosting comes in.

Web Hosting The information that you see from your web browser is contained in web pages. These web pages are kept on computers called web servers. Web hosting is about the storage of the web pages so that people can access them. It is possible to host your own websites yourself but the reasons stopping most people doing this is that there are issues to consider with having the right hardware and software to successfully host your web pages. Your web pages will take a certain amount of space, users will need to download each page to view them and your Internet connection needs to be fast to offer good performance to your viewers. Using specialised companies that offer web hosting capabilities on their web servers will take most of these worries away from you but you will need to choose wisely and weigh up the costs and your needs. In addition to having access to a web server, you will also need to register a domain name (for a cost) that uniquely identifies your website.

What Web Hosting Can Do For You The most basic service that web hosting offers is that it exposes your web pages for others to see. The other services are: email capabilities that allow for email to be received and sent from your server; database capabilities that allow for large amounts of information to be updated and accessed on the web; and dynamic content which allows for users to interact with the web pages you’ve made.

Website Development Poorly designed websites will most likely turn away users and harm the credibility of the information it contains. Thought should be put in on the way it looks and the way you intend your users to interact with the content. It is also recommended for more complex websites, a structured development process should be followed. Here is a guide to the logical steps of web development: · Requirements Analysis: What is the purpose of the website? What content should it contain? · Design: How should the pages be linked? What structure should they take? How should the pages interact with the user? · Implementation: This step is the actual coding of the websites in accordance to the previous websites. · Testing: Does the website do what it should? · Maintenance: Is the information on the website up-to-date?

Some useful hints for web development below are taken from software quality aspects but they apply to the development of websites as well. They are described in terms of web development:

Reliability: Is the website reliable? Do faults allow for the system to continue running? Robustness: How does the website respond to incorrect input? Performance: How fast does the web page respond to user’s actions? Is it efficient in processing requests and inputs? Usability: Is the website easy to navigate and understand? Maintainability: Is the website easy to change? Can new functionality be added? Portability: What software requirements does the website require? Will this limit the amount of potential users? Understandability: How well do you understand the website you’ve developed?

When designing your website, keep these quality aspects in mind as they will help you develop pages worth visiting. How to choose the way to host your website is half of the problem, the other half is to create a website that people would want to visit and come back to. Knowledge of producing a good design can help you get the most out of your creations.

Criteria of Choosing an Ideal Web Hosting Company

This is your ultimate guide to finding an ideal web hosting company. Before we talk about what it takes to be a cheap and good quality web host, let’s get to the fundamental first.

What is a Web Host?
A web host is a service provider that places your web site on a computer which is connected to the internet. The term for this ‘computer’ is called a server.

A web hosting provider will typically have a fast connection to the Internet and they may host thousands of web sites on many servers. The web host essentially rents out space to you so that you can get your website up on the world wide web.

With a well-managed web host, you can free yourself from worrying the up-keep of complicated server technology and proper technical maintenance. That’s the whole purpose of the web hosting companies. You should leave the technical work to web hosting professional while you focus on your own internet business.

Let’s begin…

Feature Offered
The features that web hosting companies are offering are getting quite standard nowadays.

The followings are some of the common features you’ll see in most web hosting plans:

  • Control Panel
    Control Panel is an interface where you can access your site on the web server, allowing you to set-up and subsequently update and customize your web site. Though cPanel is by far the most popular control panel, some hosting providers customize their own so that they can up-grade and expand it at will.
  • Diskspace
    A vast majority of sites that don’t have tons of graphics, sound and video clips or downloadable files easily fit in 50 MB of disk space. You should always leave yourself some room for growth or check if the host has a bigger plan in case you need to upgrade.
  • Bandwidth
    Bandwidth is the amount of data transmitted or received through a unit of time. In web hosting, bandwidth is consumed when visitors make requests for files on your web site and download them to their personal computers.
  • Email Account
    With POP3 email accounts you can check email from Outlook, Netscape Mail, Eudora or any other Email software.
  • Scripting language
    As all our top 10 listings are using Unix and Linux platform, php, perl and CGI are the languages we are talking about here. It is best to choose a host that supports the latest version to maximize the latest web technologies for the fee that you pay.
  • Database
    If your web site is going to store a lot of data that should be dynamically accessible (like user accounts, stock prices, maps, Interactive news, message boards and forum etc.), you’ll need to look for an account that offers a database. MySQL is a powerful and most popular database program that runs on the Linux operation system. It is able to handle million of entries all at once. Its flexibility and speed allow you to also store logs and pictures. MySQL is designed to scale well under heavy traffic conditions and is ideal for database-intensive or e-commerce-enabled Web sites.

Customer Service/Support
No matter if you are an expert or a novice in web hosting, you need a web host with good customer support system. What is the criteria of an excellent customer support? Let us explain.

  • How big is the knowledge base? 
    This is particularly important for those who want to search for quick answer without seeking direct assistance from customer support staff. Due to the huge database, normally it’s searchable. Some web hosting providers will even make your life easier by making a video tutorial guiding you step by step in setting up your new account. Very useful for beginner.
  • Responsive customer service staff.
    If you are too lazy to find the answer out of a big pool of database, get the direct answer from someone who knows it. Direct customer support comes in a few forms. 
    a. Email supportb. Phone support: Normally, sales and technical support uses separate phone line. A good phone support staff knows what your problem is and answers with relevance. 

    c.Web Host like Lunarpages and Globat even have live chat support. However, it’s not how many support channels that are available but how responsive it is of the staff. You can find out th ehosting reviews and ratings of each of our Top 10 Cheap Web Host.

Price to Disk Space / Price to Bandwidth Ratio
Are you paying too much for your Web Hosting Plan?
Having done the research on hundreds of web hosting companies, in general, we’ve come to this conclusion: the more disk space and bandwidth you are getting, the more expensive is the monthly price.

To help you understand which price is competitive enough for you to take up the offer, we have categorized 5 different price range. For each price range, a score of maximum of 10 is assigned. To understand the concept behind this, please refer to the details here.

Popularity
A web host might have the best feature offered, unbeatable customer support and reliability in place but without an effective marketing plan, it will go bust too. Let’s face it. If a web hosting provider does not have sufficient members and steady growth of new members, it’s very difficult to survive in this highly competitive industry.

We judge the popularity of a particular web hosting provider by looking at the number of awards won, the reviews of other websites and the Alexa traffic ranking.

All the hosting providers listed on our Top 10 Cheap Web Hosting Directory are among the top 40,000 most visited websites in the world.

Reliability, Speed and Uptime Guarantee 
Nothing can hurt you more than this: your visitors come to your web site only to find that it’s not accessible. You lose credibility and possibly even a sale. If your web host does not guarantee at least a 99% uptime, leave the web host now!

To ensure maximum uptime, installation of redundant back-up systems is essential. Each web host has their own management systems to minimize downtime. “Redundant” means that if any of the Internet connections get interrupted, the alternate Internet connection will take over.

We use Alertra software to monitor the uptime of each of our top 10 web hosts.

As for speed, even though routing, web server set up and local area networks play a part in determining the speed of a site, the main concern of how fast your site is depends very much on the types of network connections.

Many hosting providers still connect to the Internet through T1, or T3 connections. This is not the case for our top 10 hosts- they are using OC (Optical Carrier) lines.

A T1 line will offer data transfer rate of 1.5 Mbps (megabits per second), while a T3 line can supply data transfer rates of 43Mbps. OC-1 refers to a circuit that transmits 51.85Mbps. Higher levels are multiples of that speed. Ultra-High Speed OC3 and OC12 lines offers 155Mbps and 622Mbps respectively. Some hosting providers have connections to major internet backbones at the speed of OC48 (2488Mbps) and OC96 (4976Mbps).

A Beginners Guide to Web Hosting

What is web hosting? Whenever you visit a website, what you see on your web browser is essentially just a web page that is downloaded from the web server onto your web browser. In general, a web site is made up of many web pages. And a web page is basically composed of texts and graphic images. All these web pages need to be stored on the web servers so that online users can visit your website.

Therefore, if you plan to own a new website, you will need to host your website on a web server. When your website goes live on the web server, online users can then browse your website on the Internet. Company that provides the web servers to host your website is called web hosting providers.

A well-established web hosting provider sometimes hosts up to thousands of websites. For example, iPowerWeb is a popular web hosting company that hosts more than 300,000 websites. For that reason, a web hosting company need many web servers (essentially, these are computers) to ‘store’ the website. And all these web servers are connected to the Internet through high speed Internet connection and housed in a physical building called ‘data center’. In order to guarantee all the web servers are safe, secure and fully operational all time, a data center is a physically secure 24/7 environment with fire protection, HVAC temperature control, virus detections, computer data backup, redundant power backup and complete disaster recovery capabilities.

What are the different types of web hosting? There are different kinds of web hosting companies out there with different characteristics. The main types of web hosts can be organized into the following categories:

Shared Hosting

In shared hosting (also known as virtual web hosting), many websites are sharing the space on the same physical web servers. Depending on the web host, a physical web server can hosts a few hundred to even thousand of different websites at one time. You may wonder if a physical web server is shared by so many websites, will the performance of the web server deteriorate? In fact, web servers are usually equipped with high-end powerful computer, therefore it can support up to a certain number of websites without any problem. But when the web server is overloaded and exceeded the reasonable number of websites that it can support, then you will begin to experience a slower response from the web server.

However, a reputable and experience web hosting provider will constantly monitor the performance of the web server and will add new web servers when deem necessary without sacrificing the benefits of the website owners. Since a physical web server is shared (diskspace, computer processing power, bandwidth, memory) by many websites, the web hosting provider can therefore afford to offer a lower hosting price. For the same reason, websites on the shared hosting would have to accept slower server response time. Typically, shared hosting plans start at $5 – $20 per month.

Dedicated Hosting

In contrast to shared hosting, dedicated hosting assigned a specific web server to be used only by one customer. Since a dedicated web server is allocated to only a single customer, the customer has the option to host single/multiple web sites, modify the software configuration, handle greater site traffic and scale the bandwidth as necessary. Therefore, dedicated hosting commands a higher premium and typically starts at $50 per month and can range up to $200 – $500 per month. As a result, dedicated hosting is regularly used by high traffic and extremely important website.

Co-location hosting

In dedicated hosting, the web server belongs to the web hosting providers and customers only rent the web server during the hosting period. While in co-location hosting, the customer owns the web server hardware and only housed their web server within the web hosting provider’s secure data center. In this way, the customer has full control over their web server and simultaneously benefit from the 24/7 server monitoring and maintenance provided by the secure data center. Depending on the monthly bandwidth and rack space required, typically co-location hosting range from $500 – $1000 per month.

Reseller hosting

In reseller hosting, a web hosting provider offers web server storage to third-party (i.e. reseller) at a discount price, who then resell the web server storage to their customers. Typically, resellers are web consultants including web designers, web developers, or system integration company who resell the web hosting as a add-on service to complement their other range of services. Commonly, resellers can receive up to 50 percent discount on the price of a hosting account from the web hosting provider. And resellers are allowed to decide its own pricing structure and even establish its own branding (in other words, reseller setup its web hosting company on the Internet and start selling web hosting plans under its brand).

To the reseller’s customers, the reseller is the web host provider. In cases when technical problems such as server down and access problem arise, the resellers will have to correspond directly with the actual web host provider. Due to the communication process taken place between customer to reseller and from reseller to actual web host provider and back and forth, undoubtedly problems will take longer time to resolve. Unless you are running your own personal website or non-profit website and willing to take the risks of poor support from the reseller, reseller hosting is generally not a good option.

However, the web hosting market today is filled with resellers that sell lowest price web hosting plans. So, how do you tell between a genuine web hosting provider from a reseller? You don’t judge by the availability of toll-free number alone because some web hosting providers even offer their resellers with their own toll-free number for co-branded technical support. When the reseller’s customer calls the number for technical support, the web host uses the reseller’s name so the customer thinks that the support is coming from the reseller directly. Likewise, don’t be fooled by the professional designed website alone because it is extremely easy to create a professional looked business website nowadays.

In general, resellers can be distinguished from their hosting price and company information. In most cases, a genuine web hosting provider has solid company information where they publish its financial background, offices and data centers. In contrast, resellers usually do not have solid company background (here is just an example out of thousands out there). Moreover, the hosting price by resellers is generally below $5 per month. So, why settle for resellers when you can find genuine web hosting providers offering superb quality web hosting at the hosting price ranging between $7 – $10 a month.

Therefore, you should not strive to find the cheap web hosting companies without first considering the quality of the service and support provided. Don’t expect to find any top-level support if you choose to pay only $2 or $3 per months for your web hosting plan. On the other hand, by paying just slightly more for your hosting plan, you can now discover a list of low cost yet high quality web hosting plans to host your important website.