Tag Archives: web host

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).