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?
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:
- 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:
- 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.
- 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