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Web Hosting - Look Before You Leap
Companies that offer Internet-connected servers that provide space and bandwidth for a domain, for one or more web sites, are called Web Hosts. Large companies have private networks that allow them to host domains on their own equipment and IP address range. But for the majority of those who want an Internet presence, a 'rented' web host is a necessity.
There are a wide variety of hosting plans available. Some are free, others charge up to a $100 or more per month. Some provide nothing but a tiny amount of disk space and minimal network bandwidth. The web site owner is on his or her own for any thing else. Others offer a range of services, including server and email administration, backups, web site design assistance, troubleshooting and many others.
In the world of web hosting, you may often find yourself sharing a server with anywhere from one to a thousand or more other web sites. That allows the web hosting company to keep equipment and staff expenses lower. Many web sites are simple and low-volume enough that the arrangement works fine. When you or one or more of the others grow, it may be helpful to consider a dedicated server.
A dedicated server, as the name suggests, hosts only your domain. You can put one web site on it, or as many as you wish. You control the access. You may also, as an option, take over much of the server administration yourself. That may save you money on support costs, but cost you considerable time. If you don't have the expertise, you can end up costing yourself much more than you save.
In order to carry out those administrative functions yourself, even if you hire help, it's desirable to have some technical knowledge under your belt. Some of that knowledge will be useful, even for day-to-day tasks apart from dealing with emergencies. FTP, email administration, backup methods and other technical areas are among the more common areas you'll need to be at least somewhat familiar with.
When your web site grows to a certain size and level of complexity, you'll begin to find it worthwhile to look at implementing a database. But that brings with it a still higher level of ability, both technical and logistical or creative.
Implementing a database can be relatively simple. Designing one that provides what you want, with decent performance and maintenance that doesn't become a nightmare, will take some careful thought. Not everyone has the temperament for that type of work, especially those who prefer graphical design, content creation or development, and the many other web site tasks that are part of every implementation.
There are other, more low level administrative matters. Managing disk space, maintaining domain names, dealing with registration and changes, and a number of other 'utilitarian' tasks are also not everyone's cup of tea. Some understanding of how DNS works, as well as the design of the Internet itself, are helpful. That provides a good context for understanding the role of some of those tasks.
When you begin to seek out a web host to implement a web site, consider all these factors and look in the mirror. What kind of web hosting you should pursue is determined by a combination of who you are and what's being offered. Look before you leap.
Got Java on the Brain? Get Free Coffee Products! There are many wonderful web pages on the Internet that help their users and visitors to free products. Some of the pages hold links to free samples; others offer coupons and advice on how to get free products. If it is Java that is on ones mind and one is looking for free coffee products, there might just the right web page on the Internet for that. Finding pages that offer free java, is as easy as drinking a cup of coffee. Internet savvy persons just need to enter the words free coffee into any of the Internet search engines and a variety of great pages will pop up on the search screen. Coffee pages offer samples, links to samples, coupons and more on their sites. Any coffee lover has the chance to try a great variety of new and fancy coffees. The Internet pages that offer free coffee samples are updated frequently, so that links should not be outdated and new products are listed as soon as they appear on the market. As with so many pages on the Internet, these web sites rely on their users to help out with new sample tips, coupon tips and promotion dates. Users are asked to contact the web page master whenever there is a link that is not working, so that that link can be fixed or removed. Users are also encouraged to send in any data about free samples, links to company pages that offer free coffee and even links to coupons and deals that are unbeatable. Since free coffee is sometimes hard to get too and there are only that many free samples that coffee lovers can get a hold of, many of the free coffee sites also offer other great free deals and links to coupons and samples, so that it is anyways a good idea to visit the free coffee sites. For coffee lovers it is also important to check out their local coffee stores. Many of the stores have promotions, such as an advertisement campaign, where free coffee in connection with other products might be available. Just recently one of the major coffee chains had an ongoing promotion, where coffee lovers bought their friends a coup of coffee and they themselves received their drink of equal or lesser value for free. This might have been a way of the company to lure m ore new customers, but in the end it meant a free coffee for one of the two friends. Sometimes it is a promotion at one of the local festivals, where coupons and vouchers for free coffees are handed out. How about a free coffee with breakfast? Some of the major breakfast places offer a free complimentary coffee, when a breakfast or a breakfast sandwich is bought. For the person that every once in a while or maybe even every morning gets a breakfast sandwich, a bagel or a doughnut at one of the many restaurants this is a good deal. By the way, if coffee is not the desired morning drink, but rather teas, the websites and coffee shops also offer free tea and free tea samples. Even though it is more rare, the pages also offer samples for hot chocolate and new chocolate drink creations that can replace coffee or tea for the ones who rather like it sweet and chocolaty with their breakfast. Whichever one if desired, it is well worth checking out the Internet pages online that offer free samples. Free samples are the way for the customer to try without buying. After all, no one would buy a car before it was not test-driven, so here is the chance to test-drink coffees and more.
Web Hosting - Changing Web Hosts, Pitfalls and Planning At some point, nearly everyone finds it necessary to change web hosts. It may be just a migration to another server, or it may be changing web hosting companies entirely. Either way, the process is fraught with potential dangers. But there are ways to minimize the odds of problems and maximize your changes of a smooth migration. Plan, plan, plan. Make a very detailed list of everything that is on your current system. Review what is static and what changes frequently. Note any tailoring done to software and files. Be prepared to remake them if the systems aren't transferred properly or can't be restored. Keep careful track of all old and new names, IP addresses and other information needed to make the migration. Backup and Test Backup everything on your system yourself, whenever possible. Web hosting companies typically offer that as a service, but the staff and/or software are often less than par. Often backups appear to go well, but they're rarely tested by restoring to a spare server. When the time comes that they're needed, they sometimes don't work. Do a dry run, if you can. Restore the system to its new location and make any needed changes. If you have the host name and or IP address buried in files, make sure it gets changed. This is often true of databases. SQL Server on Windows, for example, picks up the host name during installation. Moving a single database, or even multiple ones, to a new server is straightforward using in-built utilities or commercial backup/restore software. But moving certain system-related information may require changing the host name stored inside the master database. Similar considerations apply to web servers and other components. Accept Some Downtime Be prepared for some downtime. Very few systems can be picked up, moved to another place, then brought online with zero downtime. Doing so is possible, in fact it's common. But in such scenarios high-powered professionals use state-of-the-art tools to make the transition seamless. Most staff at web hosting companies don't have the skills or the resources to pull it off. Prepare for Name Changes One aspect of moving to a new host can bedevil the most skilled professionals: changing domain names and or domain name/IP address combinations. When you type a URL into your browser, or click on one, that name is used because it's easier for people to remember. www.yahoo.com is a lot easier to remember than 22.214.171.124. Yet the name and or name/IP address combination can (and does) change. Still, specialized servers called DNS (Domain Name System) servers have to keep track of them. And there are a lot of them. There may be only two (rarely) or there may be a dozen or more DNS servers between your visitors' browsers/computers and your web host. Every system along the chain has to keep track of who is who. When a name/IP address changes, that pair has to be communicated to everyone along the chain, and that takes time. In the meantime, it's possible for one visitor to find you at the new place, while another will be pointing to the old one. Some amount of downtime will usually occur while everything gets back in sync. The Little Gotchas But even apart from name and IP address changes, there are a hundred little things that can, and often do, go wrong. That's not a disaster. It's just the normal hurdles that arise when changing something as complicated as a web site and the associated systems that underlie it. Gather Tools and Support Having an FTP program that you're familiar with will help facilitate the change. That will allow you to quickly move files from one place to the next to do your part to get the system ready to go or make repairs. Making the effort to get to know, and become friendly with, support staff at the new site can be a huge benefit. They may be more willing to address your problem before the dozen others they have to deal with at any given moment. Ok. On your mark. Get ready. Go.