The ABC'S of Getting a Web Site (Step Two)
In the first step you learned about the importance of securing a Domain Name. Now you have a Domain Name (or are in the process of getting one) and are ready to take the next step which is what you will do with your Domain Name and how to get it linked into the Internet.
Step Two - Web Hosting/Web Server
Web Hosting is the step where your web site is created and sent to a Web Server. Unless you own your own web server and have a direct line to the Internet, you are pretty much resigned to "renting" storage space on a web server to store your web pages. Jolly German Internet Services provides this type of hosting and your costs can range anywhere from $20 per month and up depending on your requirements.
For the first time web site owner, we strongly recommend starting out small and building your site from that point on. If more space or other features are needed, it is much easier to upgrade to a higher web hosting package than it is to downgrade to a cheaper web hosting package.
Once your Domain Name has been secured and you are ready to begin storing files on a web server, it is my opinion that at least one web page be created and stored on that server until more web pages can be created. This first page doesn't have to be fancy, but it should at the very least contain information announcing that a new web site will soon be appearing, and provide contact information so interested customers can immediately start getting in touch with you. If you think of it in the same context as a new movie preview, you'll get an idea of what I'm talking about. In a preview, you certainly are not seeing the whole movie, but you are seeing those little "teaser" clips that are designed to pique your interest.
A web server often referred to as a web hosting package and there are many features that you should be familiar with before you sign up for any web hosting service. Some of the features offered by web hosts are very important to the overall operation of your web site while some of the features are not. I will attempt to explain some of the more important features at this time.
Bandwidth is a feature that you should pay close attention to. Think of bandwidth as the amount of traffic that will flow in and out of your web site. Many web hosts place a strict limit on bandwidth and amounts of bandwidth that go over the set limit can result in added costs to your monthly hosting fee. Web sites that use alot of video or music files are mostly where you'll find a lot of bandwidth being used. But likewise, web sites that have a lot of visitors can also cause an excessive amount of bandwidth. When first starting a web site, your site will not require a lot of bandwidth as you won't have a lot of visitors until they find your web site.
As your web site grows and you get more and more visitors, your bandwidth will go up and depending upon the kind of site you are running, your bandwidth should be paid close attention to. In most cases, web sites that are sharing information in the way of text and documents are not likely to consume a lot of bandwidth. Web sites such as eBay, Amazon and such larger sites are the type of sites that consume alot of bandwidth. There are still a few web hosting services that offer web hosting packages that have no bandwidth limitations, but in my opinion and from past experience, these type of web hosts are generally not very reliable.
Up time is referred to as the percentage of time your web site can be accessed over a given 24 hour period. There are various services available that do nothing but monitor the percentage of time a web site is "up". Again, this is where a customer is getting what they pay for with web hosting. There are a lot of cheap web hosting packages that are enticing to the web site newcomer simply because of the price. But these web hosting packages usually do not have a guarantee that the up time will be at least 99%. In fact, some of the cheap web host packages can barely maintain a 70% up time. Imagine trying to access your web site only top get a message that says "web site unavailable".
Storage space refers to the amount of physical disk space available to store your web files for any given web hosting package. As with "up time", there are a lot of seemingly "good deals" that provide large amounts of storage space, but what good is all that storage space if you cannot always guarantee the up time? Depending upon what type of web site you are planning on running, most web sites can get by on about 100MB of storage space. If needed, additional storage space can be provided at additional cost, or, your web host will recommend upgrading to the next level package. For persons just starting out with a web site, I again recommend starting out small so you are not paying more for your web hosting package than is necessary. If it becomes necessary to get more storage space, simply request to upgrade.
Proceed to Step Three - Web Site Design.