Web hosting knowledge, contrary to the popular belief, is very easy to acquire and understand. As a beginner , before I started reading up on the subject, I was positive that I had to do some kind of a diploma or a degree course in this area to understand and finally be able to have my own website hosted. But I was totally wrong, with guidance of only documents like this and a lot of research I hosted my website within a week. In this article I plan to share all the very basic knowledge that you must know about web hosting. If you are a complete web hosting beginner, this article is an absolute must for you. Read on.
In very simple terms getting your website on the internet is called web hosting. Every website that you have ever seen, or will ever see is actually stored on a computer somewhere in the world. When you type the address of that website in your browser’s address bar, the website is fetched from that computer to yours. Just like that, your website will be placed on a computer somewhere too. That is known as web hosting.
The company/person who is the owner of the computer where you want your website to be stored or “hosted” is called the web host. It is the web host who offer you packages and take your money and give you hosting and their technical support.
Types Of Web Hosting:
There are two major types of web hosting. Shared hosting and Dedicated hosting.
In Shared web hosting, your website is stored on a computer where there are other websites. Means you are sharing a web server with other people like you who have acquired shared hosting.
In Dedicated web hosting, you acquire a full web server for your hosting needs. Which means only your website will be hosted on that computer and no one else’s.
Technical Terms You Should Be Aware Of:
This is the help and support department of the web hosting company. This is a very important aspect of web hosting and must be fully functional and fast.
This is the amount of data transfer allowed to your website, every month. Usually around 10GB is fine for beginner websites.
Web space is the amount of space which will be provided to you for your web site. Your web site’s size cannot exceed this given web space limit.
Domain name is the word/words which user will enter in the browser to access your website. Domain names are registered separately from the web hosting. Sometimes the web hosts offer to register the domain names too.
Flash is a popular media type mostly used for animations, it is developed by Macromedia. It is commonly used because it requires less space and downloading time with great graphics and animations.
A very popular website design and publishing tool (software) developed by Microsoft.
File Transfer Protocol, the means of transferring or “uploading” your website’s files on the web host’s server.
Hyper Text Markup Language, the basic language in which you will write your website and the language in which the client and the server’s browsers communicate.
A software designed to take orders from your customers on your website and keeps storing them until they want to check out. The software then charges the customer by the designed method e.g. by taking the customer’s credit card number and charging it for the total product’s amount.
Common Gateway Interface, a processing interface. CGI scripts take information from the user and can process it in multiple ways, including storing the information in a database.
A popular type of database server, very commonly used with PHP.
Active Server Pages, is a scripting language that enables the web designers to design their pages dynamically with databases implementation.
Control Panel/Website Manager:
A Control Panel/Website Manager is an online piece of software which enables the web hosting users to manage their web content easily and effectively.
Email Forwarding (Email alias):
Allows the web hosting user to create a number of apparent email addresses on a certain domain, which in reality are only names pointing to just one original and proper email address of your choice e.g. you can make email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and as many as you like. But in reality they would all be pointing to one real email address e.g. email@example.com.
Secure Socket Layer, is a protocol designed to provide a secure, encrypted connections like financial transactions on the internet.
A lot of web hosts provide website statistics for free. These are the statistical data of the users who visit your website. By analyzing this data you would get to know how many visitors viewed your website daily, weekly, monthly and yearly. Other useful information to improve the content and design of your website is also included e.g. the operating system on the machine of each user and the type of web browser they are using.