|There are so many web
hosts competing for your business. It
can be completely overwhelming, and
it would take you a month
to check out every single web hosting
company to determine
which one would be best for you. If
you arent a hosting
expert, youll usually find the
jargon so complex that you
dont even know what you need or
dont need. With hosting
prices ranging from free
to hundreds of dollars a month, it
might seem impossible to determine which
host plan is the best
deal for you.
To clear some of the
confusion, you should figure out the
requirements for your specific site.
Different sites have
different needs. If your site is basically
just for information
and has less than twenty pages, you
wont need the same hosting
plan as a complex shopping site, or
a site that runs dozens of
MICROSOFT FRONTPAGE, HTML, PHP, ASP,
Some hosts are very
limited on the type of programming
you can use. If you are new to creating
web sites, you might
find a program like Microsoft Frontpage
much easier to use.
Its a WYSIWYG program, which
simply means, What you see is
what you get. The program allows
you to make the pages like
you would documents, and the program
fills in the HTML to make
the site appear like you set it up.
You will need to make sure
that your host offers Frontpage
extensions. Some hosts charge
more for this service, but you can
(and should) usually get this
included in the basic price.
All hosts support
pure HTML, but you will probably need
or ASP capabilities. PHP somehow stands
Preprocessor, and it is a scripting
language used within HTML
to create dynamic pages without having
to use miles of HTML
code. ASP stands for Active
Server Pages, and they usually
use ActiveX scripting. Both PHP and
ASP are similar to and can
do everything CGI scripts can do.
PHP is usually preferred to
CGI scripts because it is compatible
with so many more databases.
ASP is preferred to CGI by people
who are more familiar with
you plan to use, you should make sure
your host not only allows you to set
up your pages in that
language, but that they also offer
technical support. The
smartest move is to find a host that
supports all of the
possibilities, especially if you plan
on learning different
scripting or want to outsource parts
of your programming.
Because you will want the ability
to collect and organize
information from your visitors, its
important that the web
host also offers database capabilities
that work with the
DIFFERENT FEATURES AVAILABLE
Space usually accounts
for the biggest differences in pricing
web hosts. The trick here is not to
get the minimum amount of
space you need. While it might seem
like you wont need so much
space right now, you want to be optimistic
and plan on expanding
your online capabilities. After all,
companies that are not
online dont have a chance of
growing in this high tech age.
Multiple domain hosting
is a newer feature offered by some
hosts. In the past, you had to have
separate accounts for
different domain names. For example,
if you are a corporation
with different subsidiaries that each
have domain names, there
wasnt a good way to integrate
all of your sites. Now you will
find multiple domains at one site
such at http://Maxmillian.net.
You can host three domains under one
corporate account for
$14.41/month. This works out to $4.80
per site per month with
4Gigs of space to share. These kinds
of hosting companies allow
you to manage everything from one
account, and to keep your
separate domain names. This is a lifesaver
for busy webmasters
of larger companies.
Some hosts now offer
free domain name registration. Getting
free domain name as part of your hosting
plan is a good deal.
Even though prices of registering
domains have come down a lot
in the past few years, it is still
money and time saved
especially if the plan is inexpensive
SO WHAT TYPE OF PLAN SHOULD YOU
SPACE TO GROW
Whatever hosting plan
you choose should include plenty of
space to grow. Even if right now you
only have more of a
brochureware site, you
will want the capability to grow.
more and more visitors are getting
high-speed connections, many
of the slower-loading features that
were annoying in the past
are now commonplace. You can make
your site more exciting by
adding some dynamic features and making
it more interactive.
It means less interaction time spent
with your staff, a more
informative site, and it just looks
better. More advanced sites
reflect well on your business, especially
if your business
is anything remotely technical. Better
easy-to-navigate sites make visitors
feel that your business
is more competent.
You might want to
choose a plan that offers subdomains.
arent familiar with subdomains,
they are just domains within
your domain. A good example is Yahoo.
If youve ever been to
their site, you will notice they are
organized and divided with
subdomains appearing before the domain
in the address. For
example, games.yahoo.com will take
you to the games subdomain
and mail.yahoo.com to the email section.
Subdomains make things
more organized, easier for you to
manage, and easier for your
visitors to navigate.
You will also want
email accounts in your plan. When
have your own domain name, your business
is instantly more
respectable. The same is true for
email accounts. It is much
more professional to have email addresses
You want every worker who will be
corresponding with customers
to have their own email account. You
also want a large number
of email aliases. An email alias is
simply an email address
that goes to a different account.
For example, on your
customer service page, you dont
want to show the email as
not very professional looking,
and theres a chance it will
change. Instead, you can have an
email alias such as email@example.com
goes to firstname.lastname@example.org
so Susan can take care of the
customer service problem.
There is no reason
why you shouldnt be able to
service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If a host simply provides
email customer service, keep looking.
No matter what your level
of expertise, you will at some point
need customer service.
When your site is not available, you
lose money and appear
unprofessional. Be sure to get live
24/7 support (best) or
at least 24/7 phone support available.
TRANSFER OF DATA
Hosts limit how much
data can be transferred to and from
site every month. While you might
not think you will use that
much data, you still want room to
grow especially when most
hosts charge big if you go over the
limit of your plan. Big or
unlimited amounts will be one less
thing for you to worry about.
Whichever type of plan you choose,
if you choose a good host,
they will help you figure out your
specific needs and provide
a lot of support to help you with
every aspect of your site
design and maintenance.