We have always offered hosting and maintenance for every site we build. In fact, 80% of our web design clients have been hosting with us on one of our popular maintenance plans since they first built their site. We even have a few clients who have been with us since the late 1990's!
Many don't realize that in order to be effective, a site has to not only grow and change, but it has to advance as technology advances. In some cases, it is imperative. Take the following instance, for example. The hosting company decides to upgrade their operating system. Suddenly your website starts displaying funny errors, or the site stops coming up at all. Why? Because the hosting company is not responsible for your site, they are only responsible for their hosting services. In this case, the components on the website need to be upgraded so that the site remains compatible with the hosts new operating system. This is the kind of thing we take care of - before it becomes an issue. Ask us about our worry-free all-inclusive site maintenance packages - so you can focus on running your business.
What Exactly IS Web Hosting?
If you're new to the world of creating websites, you might find yourself asking yourself "What Is Web Hosting?". Maybe you have some idea about what hosting is but you're not too sure.
Web hosting refers to a service that makes your website available to your users. In general, most websites are intended to be viewed by anyone on the Internet, at any time. If you want anyone on the Internet to be able to view your website at any time, you need to make sure your website is running on a computer which is connected to the Internet 24 hours per day, 7 days per week (24/7).
Another way to put it: Hosting is the business of housing, serving, and maintaining files for one or more Web sites. More important than the computer space that is provided for Web site files is the fast connection to the Internet. Most hosting services offer connections on T-carrier system lines. Typically, an individual business hosting its own site would require a similar connection and it would be expensive. Using a hosting service lets many companies share the cost of a fast Internet connection for serving files.
A good web hosting company will provide at least the following services:
- 24/7 support
- 24/7 FTP access (so you can update your website)
- Online control panel for managing your website
- Online traffic statistics (so you can see how much traffic your website receives)
- A robust database management system, such as MySQL or MS SQL. This is so you can add your own database if required
If you require specialized server application software such as ColdFusion, SQL Server, or PHP, you will need to check that the hosting provider supports this.
Once you start looking for a web hosting provider, you will notice there is a very large difference in how much they charge. You will also notice that most web hosts have multiple hosting plans, each at different prices. Any good web host will allow you to upgrade a plan later on if required, so don't feel as though you need to start off on a plan that costs more than you need.
Hosting on one of our popular hosting/maintenance plans is like renting a turnkey office.
You can do it yourself out of your garage, or you can pay for better facilities with all the essential plumbing and security features. For an office this would mean renting at a business centre. For your website this means paying for space on a highly specialized computer server within a dedicated hosting facility.
Just like an office directory listing, your website has a physical address that maps the exact location of the website within a hosted server. These physical addresses have their own 411 or yellow pages directory which is called Domain Name System (DNS).
The DNS directory is like a GPS (Global Positioning System) for your website, and shows the route between your site's URL (www address) and the hosted servers location shown by their Internet Protocol (IP) address. The IP address is a unique number that identifies the physical location of a computer in a similar way that a postal code tracks a physical office location.
Types of Hosting
The high configuration computers that host your files are called web servers. In hosting facilities, these are connected to high-speed fiber optics with near 100% uptime. From your home or garage you may get a lower quality of connection than that typically available from companies dedicated to hosting.
Shared Hosting (Virtual Hosting): As high configuration servers are expensive to set up, it is common to share their space across many websites. Each website has their own web address and domain name. This economical solution suits businesses and individuals desiring an online presence with minimal involvement and budget.
There are some providers who offer free web space, typically with basic features for personal web pages and mostly supported by advertisements.
Just remember, even though it will be advertised, there's no such thing as 'free hosting'.
If you want a free quote of if you simply have a question or comment, contact us here.