What Exactly is Web Hosting?
Aug 01, 2003 09:18PM
By Don Kindred
by Roby LaPorte
So, you have a business and you want to get on the web, now what? In the last issue we discussed the many uses of the Internet for people looking to acquire information from the internet, this issue we will look into how your own website can work for you and how to get it on the web for public viewing.
As the Internet grows in popularity, we see an ever increasing amount of business and personal websites showing their wares to the world. For a small business, the web is an excellent venue for setting up an online brochure and sales medium to let the public see who you are and what you have to offer. We’ve seen a good many small companies put together informative, professional looking websites that have attracted added customers due to the fact that folks looking for their type of services can ‘virtually’ meet them. They can see images of past work and/or products, read references and get the contact information they need. With a quality website designer, a small business website can make them look as big as any of their competition, no matter how large they may be.
However, once you get yourself a website, there are two things you need to get on the web, to register a domain name (www.yoursite.com) and get a hosting company. There are many thousands of hosting companies; however, not all are created equal. You have to be cautious obtaining the right one. The fact is, you seldom get to physically see the facility or the web server itself. All too often, someone gets a high-speed connection and uses their own computer as a web server and call themselves a hosting company. However, the companies that really have it together utilize several machines in an extremely controlled environment. They will also have high capability back up systems to insure no data loss should something fail. And, being as how web servers are just computers and computers are just machines, fail they will, eventually. Huge steps are taken to insure there is no down time and any repairs or upgrades are invisible to the public eye.
I have taken this opportunity to ask the CEO of WebRunners.com, a local San Clemente based Web Hosting Company, Blake Folgner, a couple of questions so we may better understand just what it takes to make your website available on the World Wide Web.
In laymen’s terms, please tell us what a web hosting company does?
To have a Web site on the Internet you first need to have a Web server. Unfortunately, owning a Web server can be very costly and requires technical expertise that most businesses don’t have. This is where Web Hosts come in. Web hosting companies provide the equipment and other technical resources that you need without the headaches that come when you have to do it yourself.
Think of a Web Host as the landlord of a building. A landlord rents out storefronts to various businesses. Each business decorates and runs their store differently, and doesn’t worry about the maintenance of the building. In a similar way a Web Host rents out space on a Web server, (or entire Web servers), to various businesses.
In other words, the Web Host provides the place on the Internet where your Web site lives. It’s a lot cheaper than buying your own server, and you don’t have to hire the technical staff to take care of it.
Are there things to watch out for when choosing a hosting company?
Technical Support should be the number one consideration if you’re not a technical guru. Is their tech support available seven days a week, 24 hours a day? How many members do they have on their support staff? How many customers do they have to support? There are many companies that have over extended themselves and can’t offer adequate support.
A sharp hosting company should not only have a hefty library of scripts that you can use to add guestbooks, forms, statistics, counters and so on to your site. The host should also be prepared for e-commerce with shopping cart software, merchant account setup support, real-time processing availability, and more. Another great concern is that the host have speedy connections to the internet itself. Like anything else, it is a must to shop around and ask questions, to find the best bang for the buck.
You can get all the information you need, right there online.