All You Need to Know About Web Hosting
Web Hosting Scams
In order to help you avoid getting scammed by the unscrupulous hosts that do exist, we put together the most common ‘tricks’ used by such companies:
It is simply impossible for a company to offer unlimited space or bandwidth to use. As hosting companies and their associated technologies are themselves limited (i.e. bandwidth or hard disk space), unlimited offerings are usually just an advertising gimmick. Often you will find clauses embedded deep within the company’s terms of service (TOS) that negate the unlimited offering. The clauses are usually arbitrary, such as excessive CPU usage will be grounds for account termination. Whenever you visit a site promoting “Unlimited Bandwidth” as one of the account features, be sure to visit their Terms of Service.
Read the fine text about the so-called “Unlimited” disclaimer, you will be surprised!
We have noticed that many hosts are now using a theory that not all customers will use the same amounts of bandwidth, meaning that they will be able to provide customers that use bandwidth the extra needed. That is true, but what happens if the host has many customers that seem to be using over the bandwidth averages?
What exactly is space and bandwidth/data transfer?
Disk space is the size your website can be. Every single letter on your website has to be stored somewhere on your web host’s server. Each letter is one byte, and a megabyte is roughly one million bytes. HTML pages are usually very small, but it is the extra images, scripts, and even databases that can take up large amounts of disk space. Bandwidth/Transfer is the amount of data the server will allow your site to send in a month.
A transfer is usually measured in gigabytes – billions of bytes. Once you go over your monthly limit, a host may either shut your site down for the remainder of the month or it can charge you ‘overage.’ This overcharge is usually about $2.00-$5.00 per extra gigabyte of transfer. Bottom line: even hosting companies on any type of server has LIMITED space, therefore, no hosting company can offer unlimited space.
No way to contact the company
Some hosts simply make it impossible to contact them! Even getting an email address so that you can get a hold of them can be a chore. Many cheap hosts prefer to keep communication down. NEVER signup with a company which does not offer a phone number for support! See “about web hosting”
Long-term contracts only
While cheaper plans may offer an annual only plan, some hosts provide annual service exclusively. There is no guarantee that even though you have paid them for 12 months that you will get 12 months of service. You should choose a hosting company which offers NO contract – meaning: you sign up on a monthly basis and you are free to leave anytime. If the company feels confident its service is valuable, this is the plan they will offer, versus a yearly contract which can become a burden if the client is not happy.
Domain Registration not in your Name
Some devious web hosts, while offering to register your domain for you, legally register the domain in their own name! This means that if you try switching hosts, you will realize the domain name is legally in their possession, and you have no claim on it!
No Money Back Guarantee – a host should fully satisfy your needs and be confident enough in the quality of its service to offer a 30 days money back guarantee.
WEB HOSTING FAQ’s
What is Web Hosting?
Web hosting is the act of renting space and bandwidth through a company so that you may publish your website online. You can either opt for free hosting that is usually supported by banners and pop-ups, or may opt to get paid web hosting, which gives you complete control over your site contents.
What is virtual hosting?
Also known as shared hosting, this form of web hosting should suffice for most everyone. Virtual hosting simple refers to the fact that your site is on one server, and that this server hosts multiple sites. You are virtually shared – your site will not be the only one on this specific server. Very few sites would actually need the power of a dedicated server, so this option provides to be a reliable and cheap solution.
What is a domain name?
A domain is your identity online. It separates you from everyone else – once yours, as long as you keep renewing it, no one else may have it. Many hosts will register a domain for you if you do not have one (it must be available though). You need to be careful that the domain is Domain Name registered in your name and not theirs. Also, make sure that they are not overcharging – some hosts charge over twice the average. For most domains, the minimum registration duration is one year.
The information related to you when buying a domain is publicly available. It is illegal to put in false information, so your personal information can be traced back. If you are worried about that, some registrars like Go Daddy will register for you as a proxy – your information will not be public. Having your own domain is very important for your business. It sets you apart from everybody else and gives you a brand to work with.
How do I register a domain name?
Registering a domain name is very easy. First, you will have to make sure that the domain you want is available – using something called a WHOIS lookup you can make sure the domain you want is available for registration. Then, you can call us.
My current host offers unlimited bandwidth/space/transfer..
Please read the section above: Unlimited bandwidth/space
How do I access my cPanel control panel?
You can login to your cPanel control panel at http://www.yourdomainname.com/cpanel.
How do I track how many hits my website gets?
Every web site we host comes with a statistics package to analyze your web traffic. It will tell you how many visitors are coming to your site, how much bandwidth you are using, keywords and search they entered to end up at your site, which pages are most popular, exit pages, the time they spent on which page. You will be able to access your cPanel: http://www.yourdomainname.com/cpanel . cPanel 11 offers: AWStats with Real-Time Updates, daily, weekly, monthly and yearly stats – Webalizer – Webalizer FTP – Raw Log Manager – Referrer Logs – Error Logs.
What are PHP, ASP, Perl, etc?
These are all programming languages which are referred to by their acronyms. PHP – PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor (Linux) ASP – Active Server Pages (windows servers only). Perl – not an acronym Each programming language has its own benefits and uses. It is best that you research on your own to find one that best fits your needs.
What is MySQL, MS SQL, etc?
MySQL and MS SQL (Windows only) are database systems. You can use a database to organize your data. We do provide MySQL on Linux servers.
Do I have to change my domain if I get a new host?
No. Provided that the domain is registered in your name (as it should be), you can simply update your name servers (from where you manage your domain names) and point it to your new hostname servers.
Will there be forced advertising on my site – things like banner ads or pop-up ads?
Not at all. You are paying for webspace that is only yours – no one may put ads on your site except you. Unless you choose a free hosting plan…in that case, even your title will not be visible…hidden by the multiple ads/banners as soon as your home page loads. Certainly not worth saving $10 or $20/month. Nobody will stay on your site more than one second!
What is Domain Parking?
Domain parking lets you buy a domain and then have a ‘coming soon’ page on it or you can redirect several domain names – like www.mydomain.com – www.mydomain.org – www.mydomain.net to your main domain. A lot of domain owners buy several domains with simply a different extension to make sure nobody else will use their company name. Most domain registrars provide this by default.
How can I pay for web hosting?
Recurring Payments through Paypal or yearly payment check or credit cards. What is PayPal? Paypal is a bank online with top of the line security systems. Simply put, PayPal lets anyone with an email address send money to anyone else with an email address. Each user signs up with PayPal and then enters their necessary banking or credit card information. Once registration is completed, you can set up your fully automated recurring monthly payment.
What are subdomains?
Consider subdomains as an extension of your domain. For example, your site is www.example.com. A subdomain would be test.example.com, and another would be webhosting.example.com. Subdomains are usually treated as separate sites from the main domain site.
How do I upload my site online?
Uploading your site can be done in many ways, but the most popular is FTP. When your hosting account was created, you should have been provided with access to your cPanel or webpanel and an FTP account. Using software such as CuteFTP or WS_FTP, you can log into your host. Then, using the program like a normal Windows program, you can drag and drop files onto your web host. These files become live online instantaneously.
What is uptime?
Uptime is literally what it means – it is the amount of time your site is online throughout the entire month. The best uptime would be 100%, but because things can happen, many hosts offer 99.9% uptime guarantees.
What is the difference between Linux/Unix hosting and Windows hosting?
Web Development: depending on which operating system to go will depend on your needs. If you need to support Microsoft products such as ASP, MS Access, or VBScript, then Windows hosting would be better. There are some things to remember.
First of all, just because you use Windows at home does not mean you should use Windows hosting.
The two are completely different, and having a Windows system at home will not affect your ability to communicate with a LINUX/UNIX server.
Secondly, Linux is much more common and a more modern technology with web hosts due to its superior stability, reliability and highest security level. Linux hosting is usually cheaper than Windows. Linux is definitely the best and safest choice these days.
I have a fast internet connection (DSL/cable) – can I just host my own site?
You could, but that’s definitely not recommended.
- Most ISPs have clauses that do not let you use your internet connection for web hosting – doing so will result in termination of your account.
- Think of the headaches it can provide: making sure your system is secure so that no one can hack into it, having your computer on 24/7, and other such problems.
- Think of the performance. Most good web hosts use powerful servers with lots of RAM and high-performance hard disks. Furthermore, they have multiple internet connections at speeds far higher than what residential DSL or cable service can provide. Lastly, there are all the issues of support. If something goes wrong, it will be your job to fix it – you will not have a professional to correct the problem.
Why would I need a dedicated IP
For most people, a dedicated IP is not required. But if you take payments online and use an SSL for your shopping cart or for people that want to provide anonymous FTP, a dedicated IP will be needed for security purposes. Dedicated IP (or static IP) vs Shared IP: A static (or dedicated) IP address dedicated to a single website is unique to your domain name and your space on the server (on the web). Your website will have the same identification number for its lifetime. (eg..22.214.171.124). Dedicated IP addresses are considered to be premium real estate on the internet. Another benefit of a dedicated IP address is that website will have more control over their search engine results.
Why don’t I just go with the cheapest hosting?
At times you will come across deals that are almost too good to be true – cheap web hosting with amazing features! There are hosts that while offering cheap prices do back that up with excellent performance and service, but there are things to be noted: Look very closely to what is written in their terms of service (TOS) and acceptable use policy (AUP) documents. Some hosts try to limit the activity of the customer through these two. Unlimited bandwidth or space. As explained above, offering either of those two as unlimited is not possible.
The quality of bandwidth and the overall performance
Do a self-test – visit the host’s website multiple times in a day to see that it remains fast loading. In general, Windows Hosting is more expensive than Unix hosting. Test out the support. If you are paying less than $10 a month (which is roughly 30 cents a day), do not expect to receive an answer right after emailing the host. Just because a host is cheap does not mean that you will receive ‘cheap’ service, but you must be careful. Please click here to read “about web hosting”.
I am using too much disk space or bandwidth! Is there any way for me to make it less?
In most cases, yes. You should first try to optimize the graphics/photos on your website. Many GIFs look just as good with fewer colors, and many JPEGs look just as good with a higher compression level. You should also analyze the HTML of your site. Make sure you use relative path so that images are not downloaded more than one time. Remove any extra spacing and when linking to other pages, use relative paths and not absolute links. Check your mailbox in your cPanel and make sure it does not store all your emails…This can save you a lot of disk space and bandwidth. Best of all, optimizing your page – HTML, graphics will make your site load faster.