Here's how a web host works: They have the high speed data lines, the staff, the powerful server computers, the climate controlled rooms, the backup generators, the security, and all that jazz. You're placed on a server computer shared with several other web sites. The web host arranges these computers into rack mounts or server farms. They watch over your site to make sure the computer and connection are running fine. (It's still your job to make sure all your links work and that you have no broken images.)
So how does the web host tie in with a domain name? When you're ready to register a domain name, you need to have a web host picked out, and a plan set up with that web host. Then you'll enter your web host's domain name server IP addresses to resolve your site. (Good news: It's easy, and some hosts even do it for you.)
So say I go with the fictitious web host "Dave's Great Web Hosting Service." Here are the steps to get my web site running:
If for some reason Dave's Great Web Hosting Service wasn't for me, I could move to another web host as long as I wasn't locked into a long term contract. So if I now selected Drew's Even Better Web Hosting Service, I could just set up an account following step 1, edit my domain's DNS settings, upload my web site to the new server, and after two to three days, my domain is magically pointing to my site on Drew's Even Better Web Hosting Service, and my web visitors won't know the difference unless I tell them I've moved to a new server.
Caution: It sounds easy to move a web site to a new host, but depending on how complex your site is, it can be very time consuming. It's always most wise to pick the most appropriate host right away, instead of moving from host to host constantly.
Some hosts offer a free domain and some make you pay for the domain yourself. So you'll need to calculate the cost of the domain name into your budget in addition to your monthly hosting fee unless the domain name is included free in your package. Domain registrations usually run a yearly fee per domain of $10 to $25.
Tip: Before you register a domain yourself, make sure your host doesn't include it free for the first year in the price! Also, there are lots of places on the net where you can search for a domain name and this site also provides user reviews of the hosting companies and domain providers.
It is extremely important to look at the monthly data transfer bandwidth included in a plan and the fee per megabyte when you go over if you plan to have a popular web site. There are some easy calculations you can do to get a feel for how much bandwidth is enough. (Remember, 1 character is a byte, 1,000 bytes is a kilobyte or K, 1,000K is a megabyte (MB) and 1,000MB is a gigabyte (GB))
Add up the amount of space consumed by your typical web page, and multiply it by your number of daily visitors, and then multiply it by 31. (Calculate Interactively Below.) If your web page has 10 kilobytes of HTML text, 5 images of 15 kilobytes each, and you expect 50 daily visitors, your calculation looks like this:
Bandwidth per visitor: 10K + (5 * 15K) = 85K
Bandwidth per day, 50 visitors: 85K * 50 = 4250K or 4.25MB
Bandwidth per month: 4.25MB * 31 = 131.75MB
In this scenario, you would use only 131.75MB of bandwith per month. Add a second web page with 5 different graphics? You've just doubled your possible bandwidth requirements.
Now, here's a more complex scenario. Are you planning to open your web site with a Flash introduction? What size is that introduction file? For a 1MB file, at 50 visitors a day, you're looking at this:
Bandwidth per visitor: 85K + 1000K = 1085K
Bandwidth per day, 50 visitors: 1085K * 50 = 54250K or 54.25MB
Bandwith per month: 54.25MB * 31 = 1681.75MB
Ack, that one megabyte Flash file sent your bandwidth through the roof. Moral of the story? If you are having a simple, plain text site with just a few graphics and are not expecting many visitors, a small monthly data transfer rate may be your best choice. However, if you are expecting a lot of visitors, or plan to have multimedia, anything from Flash to a short movie clip to MP3 music, you better be very careful about the plan you choose. Some hosts charge 10 cents or more per megabyte over your limit.
Are you required to pay the fee if you go over? Absolutely. Even if you cancel your host afterwards, your bill will still be due. This is why it's terribly important to plan ahead and choose the right plan, right away.
|Hosting Company||Special Features||Host Details||Disk Space/|
|Domain Price||Price (Click for More)|
|Great Control Panel/|
Enhanced Security/100% Green
|View Specials||Unlimited/Unlimited||Free (ever year)|
Community Web Hosting
FutureQuest is my official host|
offering round-the-clock support.
(This site is hosted on
FutureQuest for $8.95.)
|View Specials||1.2GB/40GB||Bring Your Own||$8.95/mo
(Special: At FutureQuest
you pay one month at
a time, not a full year.)
|1&1 Hosting||Enhanced Security (SSH)/|
Scripting, and IMAP Secure Email
|View Specials||250GB/Unlimited||3 Free (every year)||$9.99/mo|
As you can see, getting a web site hosted with a domain name really isn't that hard!
Want to help the environment with every visitor you get? GreenGeeks is a great choice, 300% efficient hosting!