Web Hosting FAQs - Virtual Web Hosting

Q: What is Virtual Web Hosting?

A: A web hosting provider hosts your Web site by placing it on a computer (also called a "server", since it "serve" content up to Web surfers) which are designed specifically to host Web sites. Servers are directly connected to the Internet backbone on fast communication links (much like phone lines, only these lines are bigger, and carry digital data, instead of voices). Your Web site will reside on one of servers at a web host's facility, yet you can view it and work on it from your own PC. This is virtually like having a computer of your own, hence the term Virtual Web Hosting.

Q: What features should I look for when choosing a web host?

A: The more you know about what you need, the easier it will be to use HostSearch to find the right web host for you. For starters, you should determine the following:

  1. Do you want a shared or dedicated server?
    Depending on your requirements, you may be better off with a dedicated server than a shared server. Dedicated servers are typically used in cases where there is a high level of traffic, there is a strong need for security, or the user wishes to run their own customised software and applications rather than the standard ones supplied by the host.

    If you do not have a big site that will be receiving a lot of traffic, then shared should be fine for you.

    For more information on dedicated servers, check out our article: To Share or Not to Share? On Dedicated Servers. Or search for a dedicated server:

  2. Are you a good match?
    Is your host's server, software and support services compatible with the skills and software that you (or your design team) are using? If, for instance, you are working in a Unix environment, then it makes little sense to choose an NT host.

    With all hosting plans, there will be some features that you need and some offered that you don't need. Be sure to focus on the essentials that are required to launch your website. You may want all the nice extras but will you use them? It's a good idea to choose a host that will allow you to expand and upgrade your plan as and when your website grows. If you want to start selling online, for example, an additional e-commerce option for an extra fee will be easier and quicker to implement than looking for and transferring to a new host.

  3. Are You Flexible and Can I Upgrade?
    You may not need a database solution now, perhaps, but you may need one in the future. Similarly, a shared hosting arrangement may be fine for you now, but what if your traffic levels explode, and you need one in a years' time? It is much easier to remain with one host than to change. So, when choosing a host, keep in mind your possible future needs, and whether the host will be able to accommodate them.

Q: How much space and bandwidth will I need?

A: For a small site with not so much traffic, not so much. Your needs in this case can be met with 10 to 100 MB of disk space and 1 to 10 GB of data transfer per month. (Be aware that movie and sound files will eat up a lot of disk space and bandwidth.) If your web site is text-based, you needn't worry about this technical stuff - text takes almost no space at all - not even really big font sizes!

If you're planning to sell something online, look for a provider who can provide you with a commercial web solution such as Shopping Cart software or a secure online payment system. Choosing a large web space with a high bandwidth allowance is a good idea in this case.

In this category, 50 MB of disk space or more is advisable. Bandwidth allowance really depends on how many visitors you're expecting and how well you promote your web site. For most sites, 5 to 30 GB should suffice.

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