There’s a lot to know about Web hosting, and this guide will help you understand it all. We’ve rounded up everything that you need. Not sure why you need a Website? Why you need a Web host? Want to know what it’s all about? This is the place to start.
What is a Website?
- Essentially, a Website is a way to present yourself online. Your Website is a place on the Internet where anyone in the world can visit whenever they want to find out more about you, ask you questions, give you feedback, or even buy your products. Think of the Internet as the world’s biggest trade show, and your Website is your booth.
What is a Domain Name?
- Your Domain Name is your address on the Web. Just like people use your phone number to call you on the phone, your Domain Name allows people to access your site on the Web. Clever, simple, or easy to remember Domain Names are most desirable as they can play a large part in attracting visitors to your site. Most Domain Names end with “.com”, but other extensions such as “.net” and “.org” are also available. In addition Domains can be used with your e-mail accounts allowing you to send and receive e-mail under your own domain name.
Why do I need a Website?
- In the 90’s having a Website was a vanity. In the Millennium having a Website was trendy. Today having a Website is a necessity. People are using the Web for everything from researching schoolwork to buying dinner. It’s quick, it’s convenient, and you never need to leave your desk. Even people who prefer to shop off-line are researching products on the Web. These days when people are trying to find you, the first place they look is on the Web – and if they don’t find you, they will probably find someone else!
What can a Website do for me?
- Your Website can be used for a large number of tasks such as: Making public announcements, providing support to your customers, receiving feedback from your visitors, sharing/distributing files and images, and, of course, selling your products.
- Those might not sound impressive, but don’t forget that you’ll be able to do those things for people around the world at any time of day or night. You have the potential to become a household name 10,000 miles away.
How does a Website work?
- A Website is simply a collection of files that reside on a computer connected to the Internet. When someone visits your site, they are actually contacting that computer, and that computer (called a Web server) gives the visitor the files they want to see. It sounds very simple, but most normal computers don’t have the power or the software needed to constantly respond to all the requests made by all the visitors to a site. And even if they did, they’d need an extremely fast connection to the Internet to keep up with all the requests. Most people don’t have the resources to run a server, and that is where Web Hosting comes in.
You know what a Website is, but what is a Web Host?
What is a Web Host?
- To have a Website on the Internet you first need to have a Web server. Unfortunately, owning a Web server can be very costly and requires technical expertise that most businesses don’t have. This is where Web Hosts come in. Web hosting companies provide the equipment and other technical resources that you need without the headaches that come when you have to do it yourself.
- Think of a Web Host as the landlord of building. A landlord rents out storefronts to various businesses. Each business decorates and runs their store differently, and doesn’t worry about the maintenance of the building. In a similar way a Web Host rents out space on a Web server, (or entire Web servers), to various businesses. Each business builds their own Website and never has to worry about the maintenance of their Web server.
- In other words, the Web Host provides the place on the Internet where your Website lives. It’s a lot cheaper than buying your own server, and you don’t have to hire the technical staff to take care of it.
What kind of Web hosting should I choose?
- Shared Hosting: Shared hosting offer clients the ability to host their Website on a powerful, professionally managed server, at a low monthly cost. Shared hosting servers provide individual Websites with redundant connectivity, 99 percent uptime and 24/7 monitoring. Shared hosting provides a cost-effective way for entry-level Webmasters to maintain a reliable Web presence without extensive technical resources.
- Virtual Private (VPS) Server: Virtual Private Servers (a.k.a VPS hosting) combine the flexibility of a dedicated server with the economical prices of shared server hosting. VPS Websites reside in private and protected areas on a shared server and maintain an independent set of applications, allowing the client to share the expenses of hardware and network connections while maintaining a secure allocation of RAM and CPU.
- Dedicated Server: Dedicated servers are a single computer fully devoted to the needs of one customer. They allow for faster access to information and provide the customer with greater flexibility to add advanced database and e-commerce applications. As the customer does not share RAM, disk space or a connection to the router, dedicated servers provide customers with the most advanced Web hosting solutions. Dedicated servers provide high levels of security, connectivity and scalability, to support high volume and mission critical Web-based applications.
What is the procedure for building a Web Presence? In this part of the Web Hosting Guide we explain the process you need to follow, from start to finish, to establish a successful presence on the Web.
Choose a Domain Name for Your Site.
- The first thing you need to do when establishing a Web presence is decide on a Domain Name. Choosing the right Domain Name is very important, as it directly affects how easy it is for potential visitors to find your site. Try for something that’s easy to recognize, easy to remember, and to easy to guess. For example, if your business is “Bob’s Beach Balls” then “bobsbeachballs.com” would be a good Domain Name since it’s logical, easy to remember, and easy to spell. It’s also a good idea to think of alternate Domain Names in case the first one you think of is already taken.
- If you are not planning on building your Website right away, you might still want to consider registering your Domain as soon as possible. Thousands of Domain Names are registered every day, and there’s no guarantee that yours will still be around when you decide to build your site.
Select a Web Hosting Plan That’s Right for You.
Most people start by browsing through a DataPacket hosting plan. We offer a plan for everyone, but it’s not always easy to decide which one is for you. Here are some tips to help narrow down your choices:
- If you plan on using Microsoft SQL Server databases, or need ASP.NET hosting, consider the Plesk hosting plan.
- If you plan on using PHP applications and MySQL databases, consider a cPanel hosting plan.
- If your Website is mission critical to your business, consider a Clustered hosting plan.
- Consider the Web hosting plans if you’re an individual. Consider the Reseller hosting plans if this is for a business with multiple domains and Websites.
DataPacket has Website consultants dedicated to helping you establish your site. You can contact them anytime and they can help you decide on a hosting plan, answer any questions you might have, and even walk you through the order process.
When you have decided which Web hosting plan best meets your need, click on the buy button on that plan’s page to start the ordering process. Placing the order is easy and your site will be running in a matter of hours.
Build and Publish Your Website.
- Building your own Website can be very gratifying. There are currently a lot of software packages available, such as Mobirise that make creating and publishing your Website relatively quick and painless. DataPacket supports the use of most Website design and publishing tools.
Promote Your WebSite.
- To really succeed on the Web, you need more than just a Website. You need “traffic” – a steady stream of visitors coming to check out your products, services, information, and everything else that you offer online. In order to draw people to your site, you need to be listed in the Web’s most popular search engines. Most Search engines will find and index your site on their own. Linking to your site from social media — Facebook & Twitter, can help your site get indexed faster and also boost traffic.
Analyze the Results.
- The success of a Website is generally measured by how many visitors it gets. Your Web server automatically logs each time someone accesses one of your Web pages. Looking at these logs can tell you how much traffic your site gets, how popular different parts of your site are, and when your site is the busiest. Analyzing your traffic can even give you an idea of which parts of your site may need to be improved or expanded.
All DataPacket Web hosting plans come with built-in tools, such as AWStats, that you can use to help you analyze your traffic. Once you become a DataPacket customer, it is easy to log into a control panel and access current and historical site statistics.
What is E-commerce?
- E-commerce is a Web store, a special-purpose Website designed to display and sell products. Just like traditional brick-and-mortar stores, E-commerce sites sell just a few products or thousands of items, they can advertise their products, have sales, and accept various forms of payment. Unlike brick-and-mortar stores, however, and E-commerce site can reach customers all over the world, instead of being limited to one city or neighborhood.
What is e-commerce Web hosting?
- E-Commerce Web hosting adds e-commerce application support and Website encryption (SSL) to a Web hosting package, which is what allows you to have a store on the Internet.
What is an e-commerce application?
- An e-commerce application is software that makes it easy for you to build and operate your e-commerce site (Web store). Online retail giants such as Amazon spend lots of money and hire large numbers of programmers to build and maintain their site, but DataPacket e-commerce applications let you do it from the comfort of your own home or office without any programming!
- E-commerce applications are server software, which means that it is installed and runs on the DataPacket Web server – you don’t have to install anything on your PC. You access it with your Web browser, and you simply click buttons and fill out forms to build your store. You can check orders and make changes to your store from any computer that has a connection to the Internet. E-commerce applications are easy to learn and easy to use, so you can focus on running your store instead of learning a program.
Many businesses are realizing that they can drive big results online. By establishing an online presence via a Website for their business, whether for informational purposes or for e-commerce, they can reach many more customers.
We hope that you found this guide useful. The Web hosting guide was originally created in 2003 and has received updates throughout the years. As Web hosting is always evolving we will update this guide as new information is available.