Web Hosting Guide
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What is Web Hosting?
Assessment of Needs
Web Site Design
Domain Name Selection
Cheap Web Hosting vs. Budget Web Hosting
Windows Hosting vs. Unix Web Hosting
How to Change Web Hosts and Avoid Downtime
Web Hosting is the service of making ones web site visible for everyone on the internet. Simply put, your web site needs to be "hosted" somewhere to be seen by other viewers either via domain name or IP address.
When you get a Web Hosting account, you are given access to a portion of hosting company's web server. Once your account has been activated with your web hosting provider you simply upload your files using something like FTP or Microsoft FrontPage and your pages will be available for the world to see.
Many hosts, such as zeWEBHOST offer added features to our web hosting service such as email, web site statistics, backup and restore functions, pre-installed scripts and more. Today there are over 15,000 web host providers offering everything from affordable budget hosting services to high end managed and dedicated services. Being a leader in budget hosting means offering a comprehensive and reliable plan at a great price.
Making the decision to host a Web site requires a little information. This information will allow you to make the best choice when it comes time to sign up for your hosting account. Over 90% of all Internet Web sites can be classified into three categories; small, medium, and large.
Small Web sites are likely to have more static content. They usually contain only html files and images, though scripting languages (asp, php, etc.) can be used for these pages as well. Small Web sites might have basic database connectivity, usually using a Microsoft Access database. Traffic (the number of visitors) to a small Web site would be light.
Medium Web sites often start to involve more extensive scripting, making for a much more dynamic and interactive Web site. Web sites in this category might use a large amount of disk space for file storage, most likely for images. Medium sized Web sites might use a more complex database structure, like MySQL.
Large Web sites make full use of dynamic content, with most of the individual pages within this type of site being generated from scripts or a database. A more advanced database might be used, such as Microsoft SQL Server. Large Web sites might need a great deal of disk space on the server, possibly used for high resolution images or video files. The number of visitors this kind of Web site might receive is very high.
Designing a Web site can be a very complex task. While many people still write Web pages in a text editor and create graphics from image creation software like Adobe Photoshop, there are an increasing number of quality software tools used to simplify the Web Design process. Some of the more popular titles are Macromedia Dreamweaver, Adobe GoLive, and Microsoft FrontPage. Dreamweaver and GoLive are more flexible for those looking for professional design elements on their site, while FrontPage is geared more towards users without any Web design experience. If you're not interested in designing the Web site yourself, you should look into hiring a qualified Web designer to do the work for you. If you go this route, make sure you interview the designer and make sure they understand your vision of the completed project. Have them show you examples of their work, and get commitments from them on pricing and the time it will take to complete your Web site.
Domain Names come with various suffixes called TLDs (Top Level Domains). The most common TLD is .com, followed by lesser used .net, .org, .biz, & .info. These 5 TLDs can be used by any person or company in any country. Each individual country also has a unique TLD. The TLD for the United States is .us, the TLD for Canada is .ca, etc. When choosing a domain name, take your target market into account. If your customer base will only be in a certain country, you might want to purchase a Domain Name with that country's TLD. The most important part of your domain name is what comes before the TLD. You will want a domain name that closely resembles your company name, or the service or information your Web site will provide. For example, if your company name is Acme Hardware, Inc., a good Domain Name for you would be acmehardware.com. Don't be disheartened if your first choice (or even your first 10 choices are not available). Think of variations on your comany name, like acmehw.com, acmehardwareinc.com, or acmehardwareusa.com.
When shopping for a great deal on web hosting services, don't fall for price alone. Rest assured there are many differences between a budget host and just a cheap web hosting plan, Here's how:
State of the Art
zeWEBHOST utilizes all modern equipment and is located within a premium grade data center. zeWEBHOST has planned our network to reduce as many single points of failure as possible. The result is a fast and dependable service.
Space and Features
So many hosts offer a cheap web hosting plan these days just to get you in the door only to find the plan offers a tiny amount of space, no features, limited bandwidth and of course stiff overage penalties. zeWEBHOST is a budget web host. We don't offer an expensive hosting plan. This means our plans are loaded with features ranging from amounts of web space (300MB -1000MB) and powerful MySQL and Microsoft SQL 2005 databases connectivity along with a whopping 20-50 GB of monthly data transfer to free scripts, site backup/restore, spam filters, secure web mail and much more from the start. Part of being a successful budget host means keeping things simple - that's why you will find no catches, no gimmicks - just affordable and reliable hosting service.
Customer Service and Support
Budget or not. If zeWEBHOST could not provide a high level of support and service at the cheap rates we charge, we would have charged more. All zeWEBHOST clients have access to friendly and knowledgeable technicians day or night. In most cases customer service supports are handled in about a three hour or four. The only thing cheap about our web hosting is our prices.
The majority of web sites hosted on the internet are hosted on Windows servers. Windows hosting serves the needs of a rapidly growing group of powerful and complex web hosting sites and applications.
Other web sites use Unix servers. In most cases Unix plans slightly cost less than Windows hosting plans and come pre-packed with less features. But if you are planning to use something like Active Server Pages, .NET or plug into a Microsoft Access or SQL database, you're going to want to solid Windows hosting plan.
When It Matters - ASP (Active Server Pages), .NET or PHP
Many web sites are developed using more advanced scripting languages than basic html, most commonly either ASP or PHP. While it is possible to run either language on either platform, typically PHP is associated with Unix while ASP is associated with Windows. After all Microsoft is who developed ASP. There is also a more advanced programming language from Microsoft called .NET which pretty much also calls for a Windows platform.
When It Matters - Choice of full support for PHP 4.4.9, PHP 5.2.13 - or both!
Shared-hosting customers of zeWEBHOST have the choice of building Web pages, with powerful database options, using PHP 5.2.13, or enjoy the full support for PHP 4.4.9 Web pages.
zeWEBHOST has added PHP 5.2.13 support for those of its customers who want increased levels of interactivity, greater speed and enhanced usability features. However, since legacy PHP scripts may not run on the newest version of PHP, zeWEBHOST is committed to letting customers choose either version of PHP on any directories within their Websites.
By supporting both versions of PHP, zeWEBHOST makes it possible for customers to mix and match different types of Web pages, or, if desired, migrate gradually all their pages from PHP 4 to PHP 5.
When It Matters - Your Database of Choice
Another common reason one may choose a Windows hosting environment over a Unix environment is their use of a particular database with their web site. A very common Unix database is MySQL. Most Windows hosting users will typically use either Microsoft Access or MSSQL Server as their database.
zeWEBHOST Windows plans offer tons of great features and start as low as $10.80 per month.
Quite often many people tolerate less than great service from their hosting provider simply because it can be a real pain to move your site, your domain name and your email accounts without creating major downtime for you and your site visitors. Here's a general checklist to follow to ensure that you have the smoothest move possible, and hopefully with no down time.
Step 1: Get all of your files local
Using a basic FTP program or whatever development tool you may be using, download all current files used in your web site including graphics, html files, and anything else that may be used in your site. Most likely you already know this - but when you are copying down your files you want to keep the directory structure exactly as it is on your web server. If you built the site then most likely you already have all of this.
Step 2: Analyze your hosting needs and select a new host
Is your site just basic html or will you need a host that provides specific features? Depending on your site needs, select a host that can provide what you need. zeWEBHOST offers comprehensive plans to suit the needs to most web sites. Most hosts these days allow you to either handle the domain name change yourself, or they can handle it for you. Just so your domain name does not get switched faster than you can get your new files posted, you may want to handle the domain name change yourself.
Step 3: Get everything loaded to your new server
Before making the domain name change, go ahead and load up all of your site files to your new host using temporary login information most hosts provide prior to your domain name resolving to the new account. Although they won't really work yet, go ahead and set up all of the email accounts that are used on your domain as well. Be sure to create a "catchall" address just in case you forgot to someone - at least their email will not bounce.
Step 4: Initiate the domain name record change
Through whatever registrar you used to register your domain, initiate the name change. Technically speaking the only thing that really need to be changed in your record is the name server information. If your host has not already provided you with this information, just email their support and ask what their Name Server information is. It is also a good idea to update the technical contact on your domain name record to your new host, although that is not required.
Step 5: Monitor for the domain name change
Depending on who you used to register your domain through, you should get one or more emails confirming the domain name change. Once the change has been initiated it will typically take 24 - 48 hours for the entire world to see the change. This period is called propagation and is simply the time it takes for all the DNS servers around the globe to "catch up" and take note of your domains new location. Once propagation has completed its course you are free to safely cancel service with your previous host.
A note about the Propagation period: As mentioned before, it takes about 24 - 48 hours for the domain name change to propagate through everyone's DNS server. This means that during this time some people will get the new site, and some will still get the old site. As far as web surfing, that's really no big deal but can be tricky in regards to email. Depending on where an email is from, it may go to your new email server or your old server. To safeguard against losing messages, try creating 2 accounts for your email address, and use each mail server's IP address instead of the domain name in your POP settings. For example, if you are using mail.yourdomain.com as your pop settings, try replacing that with the IP address of your web site or email server. Creating an account that checks both mail servers insures you don't miss any messages during this 24 - 48 hour period.
With thousands of hosting companies to choose from, it's not an easy task to pick the company that will provide you with the best service and support. zeWEBHOST has the commitment to make your web hosting experience the best it can be. Our BASIC, PROFESSIONAL, and EXTREME hosting plans covers almost any function you expect your Web site to perform. Domain registration for the most common TLDs is offered at cut rate pricing. Our highly trained support staff are always ready to help with issues you might encounter. Don't take our word for it, see for yourself. To experience zeWEBHOST Advantage, order now.