Posts tagged Web Hosting

Web Hosting Types

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When starting a website it's important to get the right kind of hosting for your particular site.  If you choose the wrong kind, you could lose traffic due to downtime, server overload etc.

Let's look at the different types:

Free Web Hosting

Free web hosting is great for the obvious reason that it's free. If you are just starting out, free hosting can be a great no risk option. Free hosts will usually have a pretty small limit on space and bandwidth, so once your site starts becoming bigger or getting more popular you'll definitely need to upgrade.

Shared Web Hosting

Shared hosting plans are the best option for most websites out there. Shared Hosting is usually packed with features and will only cost a few dollars a month. You'll get much better support than on any free plan. If your site has small to medium amount of traffic, shared hosting is for you.

Reseller Hosting

Reseller hosting is great for web designers who want to host client's websites for them. The cheapest reseller hosting accounts will usually cost in the $15-$30 per month price range. They allow you to create separate web hosting accounts and control panels for each customer and divide up your resources between these accounts.

Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting

This is when a hosting company divides up it's server between a small amount of customers. Each customer's account acts as a separate server, and each customer will have root access to his/her own server.

Dedicated Hosting

Dedicated hosting is for high traffic corporate/business sites. An entire server is dedicated to one customer, and the customer has full control over that server. You can get either managed or un-managed dedicated hosting. With managed hosting, the hosting company will take of the technical side of things like security and software updates, and thus will cost a lot more.

Overselling Explained - so much for so little

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In order to gain a little more money off of each server they own, some web hosts may oversell the available space or bandwidth.  For example, if a hosting company has one server with 250 GB of space and they have 25 customers who each have 10 GB hosting plans, the host is not oversold, because there is enough room for the full 10 GB to be used by each customer.  Now, what happens if this company gets a 26th customer.  It seems as though they need to buy a new server in order to fit this customer.

But then the host has a brilliant (but not so honest) idea!  They notice that even though each of their customers accounts guarantee 10 GBs of space, they are only on average using 2 GBs each. This means they could easily fit the new customer on this server, because the chances of all the customers filling up their 10 GBs completely is low.

How does this affect you?

Overselling often results in:

  • Slow page loading times.
  • Hosts complaining to you when you are using a lot of space (even though you are within your limits).
  • Hosts suspending or disabling your account with no refund.

It's a good idea to stay away from oversold hosting. If you see a host offering hosting packages that just look way too good to be true - it's because they are too good to be true.

The Myth of Unlimited Hosting

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While looking for a suitable web host, you probably stumbled upon a hosting company that claims they offer you unlimited space and bandwidth, for only a couple bucks a month.  Seems like such a great deal at first!  But think about it - If I told you I went down to the store and bought myself a new hard drive with unlimited space, would you believe me?  That's how silly this unlimited hosting is.

These companies like to write a lot more about what "unlimited" really means in their acceptable use policies (AUP).  For example, look at this part from an AUP of an unlimited host:

"You understand and agree that shared server space is for business and personal website operations purposes only and not for unrelated data storage."

I've had a bit of experience with these unlimited hosts.  Even if I'm not violating the AUP, they like to send me emails asking how each and every file on my account is related to website operations.  They actually wanted me to explain for each file and there were hundreds of them.  If you start using a lot of space, they try to catch you doing something wrong, so they can reduce the amount of space you are taking up.  They also like to complain that your website is using up too much CPU on the server and claim that you need to upgrade to one of their dedicated servers that cost $100/month or more.

Overall, it's not a good idea to go with an Unlimited host.  They hide behind the fine print and don't offer honesty to their customers.

Can you host a website on your home computer?

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Probably at some point or another you had the idea to just host your website on your home computer so you could save some money — I know I have. It is an interesting idea and you will definitely learn a lot, but should you do it?

How much work will it be?

It will probably take a while to figure out how to setup Apache, PHP, MySQL and anything else you might want. Also, you'll need to spend some time securing your server, so you are not at risk of being hacked. And if something doesn't seem to be working right, there's no 24/7 support to turn to. On the other hand, it could be a great way to learn more about web hosting and how it works.

Can your ISP handle it?

Your probably thinking "Well sure it can, I've got a super ultra high speed internet connection." The problem is, your download speed doesn't really matter for hosting. What is really important is your upload speed. Everytime someone visits your site, your site will have to be uploaded through your connection. Visit a site like SpeedTest.net to test out your upload speed. If you've got a high speed connection, you want your upload speed to be the same or better than your download speed. If not, your site is going to seem slow to anyone with a high speed connection. In addition, some ISPs have a rule that says you are simply not allowed to host websites through their connection.

How much will you actually save?

Where I live, energy costs between $0.17 and $0.30 per Kilowatt hour depending on the time of year and time of day. That means, if you have a 300 watt computer (which is pretty standard) you are paying (300 * (24*30)) / 1000 * $.17 = $36.72 a month at least! These days you could get a real quality hosting plan with high uptime and 24/7 support for only $5.95 a month. That means it's actually cheaper to pay for a hosting plan. Granted, you would have your computer on some of the time anyway, but even so, the savings is huge!

The Bottom Line

If you're the adventurous type and want a challenge, then go for it! It could be a great learning experience! But if you just want the hard stuff to be taken care of for you, want to save money and want help an email away at anytime of the day, then a quality hosting plan is the only way to go.

How to start a website

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Step 1: Domain Name
The first thing you need in order to start a website is a domain name. A domain name will be the URL of your website. For example, the domain name of this website is atomicpages.net. AtomicPages will allow you to add in a domain name with the purchase of your hosting account for only $11-$15 per year if you don't already have one.

Step 2: Hosting
Next you need a hosting account. A hosting account is a place on a remote server somewhere. This server will send out your website to a computer whenever someone visits it. AtomicPages offers affordable hosting plans on our Hosting Plans page. Our Standard plan will be suitable for most websites.

Step 3: Create Your Website
Once you have hosting and a domain name, you just need a website to put there. You have two options here:

  • Create a website by yourself. If you already know about web design this should be easy for you.
  • AtomicPages will setup a website for you at an extremely affordable price. Our prices are a small fraction of what other web design firms may charge. See the Services page for details.

Step 4: Keep your Website Updated
Once you have your website up and running you need to keep it updated. You once again have two options:

  • Keep your website updated by yourself. You may need a little knowledge about web design in order to do this.
  • AtomicPages will manage your website for you at an affordable price. See the Services page for details.
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