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Finding the Best Web Host
Finding the best web host is not easy unless you understand exactly what you are looking for in a web hosting service. Free web hosting services are generally not worth using unless your needs are very basic. The bandwidth, file storage space and software options provided with free sites tend to be lower than required to run a good online business.
It is important to understand what your web hosting needs are, because there are many different options available to you. Let's assume that you want to have your own website to start up an online home business. We shall assume here that you are running a business from home - perhaps affiliate marketing or promoting your plumbing or children's party business.
Here are some tips on finding the best web host for your needs. Irrespective of the size of your business, each person has fundamentally the same requirements:
- A web hosting service
- A domain name
- File storage space
- Graphic Interface
Domain Name and Subdomains
Your domain name is your website name. You have to hire this on a minimum yearly basis, although you can pay for several years at once. You must first make sure that the name you want is available (your domain name service will tell you this), and then you make the payment to hire it. Nobody actually owns a domain name because you must pay to keep it year after year. Your web hosting service may offer a domain name service, or you might have to get the domain name yourself and direct it to your new web host.
The best web host will enable you to use multiple subdomains on the site. A subdomain is like a new website, and you can use your existing domain name to create one, such as newdomain.mysite.com - you can use that as a different site because all your web pages will be stored in the 'newdomain' directory.
The very best web host will allow you 'add-on' domains, so that rather than use newdomain.mysite.com you can also pay for the domain name 'newdomain.com' and run that subdomain from your web hosting service as a separate website.
Broad Band and Bandwidth: What is Bandwidth?
Bandwidth has two different meanings according to whether the term is used in connection with the speed of your internet connection or the amount of data your web host permits to you send over a given time period.
When used in relation to your web hosting service, bandwidth is related to the data transfers you are permitted over a period of time - generally monthly. A smallish site might manage with 200 MB, and if you exceed your bandwidth limit you will informed by a 509 Error message (Bandwidth Limit Exceeded). The best web host will offer you unlimited bandwidth.
Broadband is the speed of data transfer through a wire or wirelessly. Think of a hole in a water barrel. The larger the hole, the faster the water flows out. The same is true of broadband: the broader the bandwidth, the faster your data can be transmitted. Broadband is a relative term, and is short for broad bandwidth that enables a very fast data transfer rate. It is not connected with your web host, but with your internet service supplier.
In this respect, bandwidth means data transfer speed, and not the amount of data you are permitted to transfer. As stated above, the best web host should offer unlimited bandwidth; that is, unlimited transfer of data to and from your website.
File Storage Space
The amount of data you can store on your hosting service depends on the file spec allocated to you. Look for those offering unlimited disk space, so you can run as many websites as you want from the one hosted account. It's amazing how quickly you can fill up your storage capacity if a limit has been set.
Without unlimited storage space you will find yourself reluctant to store large files such as graphics files and videos. With the current trend for video promotions you are strongly advised to seek out a web hosting service offering unlimited file storage space. The best web host should offer this, or you could otherwise use a commercial large file storage service - but why pay if you can get it with the domain.
FTP Hosting and Downloading/Uploading Data
You must have some method of adding files and other data to your web space. If you use FrontPage or Dreamweaver to design your web pages, for example, you will do this on your computer and then have to upload that to your web space - the space reserved for you on your web hosting server.
FTP (file transfer protocol) enables you to transfer files between websites: upload from your computer storage (hard disk or solid state memory) to your web space and download from the internet to your computer. FTP hosting means that your web hosting service offers FTP software to enable you to do this easily and without having to configure a third-party FTP client to communicate with your website.
Downloading and Uploading
There is a difference between downloading and uploading:
Downloading: this is when you transfer data from your central web host server or the internet to your hard disk or other offline storage device. Fundamentally, downloading means file transfer from a larger to a smaller device - you can download data from your computer to your cell phone or from the internet to your computer.
Uploading: the transfer of data from a smaller to a larger device: you can upload from your computer hard drive to your web space, for example. Let's say you see a picture you like on the internet. You can download it to your hard drive, and then upload it from your hard drive to your web space so you can show it on your website, or even upload it from your web space to your Flickr account.
If this sort of file transfer is important to you, then the best web host for you will offer the fastest upload and download speeds possible. These speeds will also depend on the speed of the broadband system your ISP (internet service provider) offers you, and is not connected with you web hosting service.
Graphic Interface and Software Services
When seeking the best web host, you must also keep in mind the software services you might need. Many people like to include a blog on their website, and even use the blog as the basis for their entire site! Many hosting services offer the cPanel graphic interface that enables you to install the Wordpress blogging software with just a click of a button.
Hostgator and Bluehost, for example, offer Linux based hosting, and also free MySQL database software and site building tools. They, and many others, offer Joomla and Drupal hosting and also enable you to start up your own Wiki site. Imagine being able to build up your own Wiki relating to your niche! That would be sure to draw in all the traffic you can handle.
If price is an issue, you can find a web host offering all the above online at less than $4 each month - so price is NOT an issue! Most people are unaware of the comprehensive web hosting services available today with high or unlimited bandwidth, traffic analysis software and everything described above.
Such services no longer cost a fortune but are priced within anybody's budget. If you can't make $5 each month to pay for the best web host online, then maybe the internet is not for you?
The best web host for you might not be everybody's choice, but if it meets all your needs then that is all you require. The basics you should look for are FTP hosting that permits uploading and downloading easily and at high speed, as many domains or subdomains as you require and is compatible with software such as Linux, Windows, Wordpress and any other application that you may need to use in your online business.
Just think what you could do with a Wordpress blog and a Wiki on your website. Finding the best web host suddenly got very easy!