Determine your needs BEFORE choosing a hosting service
Choosing a hosting company for your web site can be very confusing given multitude of companies available on Internet today. Do not choose a service by price alone. The very cheapest is not necessarily best. You can get a good hosting service for under $10.00, but first determine your requirements.
Before going into any more detail, let’s look at some definitions:
Hosting service - A hosting service or company is an Internet company that provides hundreds or even thousands of computers like yours with service by “renting” you space. With this service your web site is now on Internet and can be viewed by millions of others. Sure you could be your own host, but it would be very expensive because you would need to buy a server, house it in proper environment, maintain it 24 hours a day, and put up with all other headaches that come with hosting. Wouldn’t you rather concentrate on selling your product? Server A server is a large computer, which can service many other computers. Sometimes a large software package on a host’s server (like a mail software package) is also referred to as a server. Have you seen scenes on TV which show rooms wall-to-wall with big computers busily working and flashing their lights? These are servers.
FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. If you started your web site from scratch, you will need to upload your web pages to host you selected. To do this you use a FTP software package. There are some excellent tutorials on FTP at http://www.pageresource.com/putweb/ftptut1.htm CGI CGI means Common Gateway Interface. While CGI primarily refers to way a server communicates with other software on server, CGI scripts are a popular way programmers install counters, forms, and other interactive items on a web site. If you see cgi-bin, “bin” refers to binary from a time long ago when most programs were referred to as binary. Now cgi-bin refers to location in server where cgi scripts are stored. Now, let’s go back to hosting service. When you surf net and “go” to a particular site, you are not actually going to that site. The hosting company’s server (in this case your ISP) receives your request, searches web, finds your requested site, and downloads it to your computer. So you see, you don’t go to a site, site comes to you, courtesy of a server. How do you go about choosing a hosting service? It is pretty much up to you based on size of your website, number of visitors you expect, and, of course, state of your wallet. If you are just starting out, a free or low cost service is all you will need, but as your business grows you might want to consider a service that gives you more storage and more transfer room. Storage is amount of room your web site takes up on hosting company’s server, “Transfer” refers to network transfer space. If you have a large web site and a lot of visitors you will need more storage or disc space and more network transfer space. The more people accessing your site; higher volume of data being transferred. How to calculate your disk space: