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5 Basic Features You Should Look For In a Web Hosting Service

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Disk space:

Allotment of certain disk space for you means, you are given a folder on web host’s server to upload your files.This is same like you create your folder on your own computer.

How much space you are going to need?

Ask these questions yourself:
How many pages to put up to complete my entire web site?

Am I going to enlarge my web site in the future? How fast?

Am I going to keep ‘.exe’ ,’.zip’,’.pdf’ or audio and video files on my server? How many?

Write down answers on a paper.If you say 10 pages web site,No,Slow, No,None- to these questions then 10MB disk space is more than enough for you.

If you come up with opposite answers to any of the questions then you need an alternative plan.

This is what you can do:

Select a web host with starter plans that provide all basic features with 10-25 MB disk space.After few months you can upgrade to next level with increase of disk space.

By this method you won’t end up with paying $20-25/month from the beginning.

http://www.100megswebhosting.com/

This disk space is for your:

- Documents like htm files,images that appear as web pages to the world

- CGI scripts and their data

- Mysql databases if you are using any

- Your server log files like error logs,webloggers(with some web hosts)

- Your email account and email storage(with some web hosts)

So how much you need depends on your web site requirements.If you are going to put up audio presentations or photo galleries then 10 MB starter plans are not for you.You need a good amount of space.

Check the tips on saving disk space

Band width:

Band width is the amount of data transfered between the server and the client.

Data transfer is the amount of band width your web site uses.

Usually for a beginner (in starter plans), you will be offered 2GB of band width.This is more than enough.

How much is one GigaByte?

1 GB = 1024 MegaBytes

1 MB = 1024 KB

1 KB = 1024 Bytes

You have a web site with 12 pages.Each page averages about 10 kb. Daily you will get 100 visitors.On average each visitor surf thru 5 pages.So per day your band width usage is around 5000 kb. (10X100X5).When calculates for 30 days, you will end up with 150000 kb or 150 mb of band width usage.

If you have few more graphics or small downloads on your site this goes a little more high.

Fact about the band width:

There is no such thing like ‘unlimitted band width’.

If you read your web host’s policy, you might see some rules on using this band width.So always read the terms and conditions before signing up for an account.Most of the web hosts include your email,ftp,http in to your band width usage.For example if you have a mailing list and you sent 20,000 emails every week to your subscribers, all this goes under the usage of band width.

If your control pannel has feature of displaying your band width usage, you can watch how your website using the resources.

Usually the starter plans comes with around 2 GB of traffic.

Some hosts put some restrictions on band width usage:

Some of them they don’t allow are:

- commercial email advertising

- Big photo galleries

- Installing chat rooms

- using certain amount of system resources like 20% or more.In this case you have upgrade your plan with more disk space or band width

Tips on minimising the band width usage

FTP access:

File Transfer Protocol or FTP is the method used to “upload” your web site files to your server.

Three types of ftp access:

- One FTP account is alloted.This is for your personal use.If you want to give access to others you have to share your username and password.

- Multiple FTP accounts are allowed.So you can give your members or friends access to your site with their usernames and passwords.Here you can specify which folders they can have access to.

- Anonymous FTP accounts.Here you can give permission to your visitors or whole world to upload and manage certain folders on your server.Most risky…eh?

Every web host allots minimum of one FTP account.Because that account is for you to upload your files.

You will see some thing like ‘unlimited access and 1 FTP account’. Means you can upload files all 24/7, and you are alloted only one FTP account for yourself.If you have partnership site that should allows your friends to access your server then you need more than one account.Or you can share your user name and password with your friends to give them access.

If you want your web site users to upload files to YOUR server then you need a web host which gives you multiple FTP accounts, so that you can offer them to your visitors.

Some hosts doesn’t allow you to have anonymous ftp accounts in starter plans.Anonymous ftp has it’s own pros and cons.You will have a folder like ‘public_ftp’ on your server to allow others to login as anonymous and do file transfers.If you are not sure of anonymous ftp it is not advisable to enable it.Because of:

- Security issues:If you keep a folder world read and writable anybody can upload and edit the files in that folder.So be careful before playing with anonymous ftp feature.

- You are responsible for your files and folders not the web host.

- Disk space and data transfer comes under your account.

Control Panel:

Control panel is a web-based interface that allows you to manage your domain through a web browser.

Most of the control panels are with icons that are easily understandable of their purpose.

With a click of a mouse you can do many things with out knowing any of the html or some other programming languages.

You can do every thing from your control panel like:

- File uploading
- Managing email accounts
- Managing CGI scripts
- Mysql database management
- Cron jobs etc.

Usually you can access your control panel by typing-
http://www.yourdomain.com/menu or you will get the necessary information from your web host.

You will be given a user name and password to login in to your account. Nobody can change your password or access your control panel. Because the password changing can be done after logging in to your control panel.

Always check the control panel demo before choosing a web host.Some of the control panels has account information,server information and available resources.This would be useful in checking the available disk space or used band width etc.

Support:

You don’t get any reply for your requests and questions from your host with in 24 hours?

Then change the host!

No…I am not kidding.Support is essential part of the web hosting service.Especially when you are a novice.

But most of the web hosts provide good amount of support to their account holders.So always give an email asking some doubt about their hosting plans or some thing and see how fast they can reply a non-customer.

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Radhika Venkata
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5 Basic Features You Should Look For In a Web Hosting Service
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