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Understanding the Web- Part II: Hosting

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While many people have a fairly good understanding of what a website is, there is often confusion about where a website 'lives'. This is called hosting.

A host is the company or individual who supplies and maintains a web server to house a website. While what goes into a web server may be complicated, it simply starts out as a computer, like the one in your home or office. It is stripped down to the bare essentials necessary for running as a web server, and then outfitted with appropriate software. Servers are usually custom built to host various websites and applications. For example, a site built with Active Server Pages (ASP) would likely be hosted on a server installed with a Microsoft Operating System and SQL Server software. An Anttix Drupal software website would be hosted on a Linux server with MySQL and PHP software.

The hosting company not only houses the server on a dedicated, high-speed internet connection (such as a T1 line), but they also maintain that server to ensure that downtime is as avoidable as possible. A host must maintain the server’s temperature, keep its software up-to-date, and replace any faulty equipment as needed. They should make frequent data backup too, for worst-case scenarios.

When it comes to choosing a host, research their reputation and cost. Some companies keep hosting costs low by capping CPU speeds and packing far too many websites onto a single server. Capping the CPU speed means that if any site on that server gets too much activity or traffic, the entire server will slow down and sometimes become unresponsive. Almost all servers host multiple sites, however there is a limit to how many one should hold. When cheaper hosting companies ignore that fact, their customers suffer. Good hosting companies have competitive pricing without sacrificing quality and service.


Hosting Evaluated

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It is no secret that the United States has had financial difficulties during what is now being termed The Great Recession. As small business is the economic backbone of the country, many privately owned enterprises have been hit particularly hard as customers tighten their purse strings. Such circumstances cause us to closely evaluate the many costs of operating a business. Somewhere along that checklist lies hosting.

The obvious question is whether or not higher-end hosting is worth the price. After all, what about companies who claim to charge only $5 per month... or nothing at all? In truth, these providers are probably fine if all you require is the internet presentation of a few static pages. For the average business owner, however, quality hosting is necessary to deliver the quality website he/she depends on for increased sales.

The main problem with cheap hosting is that there can be frequent downtime. This happens for a number of reasons, including having pages that exceed the bandwidth, or hosting too many websites from the same server. Whatever the reason, when a website is inoperable a little too often, search engines make a note of it. Consequently, your site may be ignored.

You also have to consider the possibility of a hosting scam. Think about it-- the bogus companies are going to advertise cheap rates because it is easy bait. They would not be able to lure people in with monthly rates of $20-$30. Be cautious. No amount of savings would make up for becoming the victim of a con artist.

Hate red tape? Low-quality hosting is a headache waiting to happen if you ever have to change hosting companies. In addition to the tedious process of switching your entire website over, you risk losing important data. Again, your professional image is at stake. Whether due to dissatisfaction with your provider, or the blessing of increased web traffic, you may want to upgrade at some point. Why not do it right from the start?

Finally, your hosting provider should offer excellent customer service. The people behind the company are a reflection of the support behind your website. If you have a question or concern, they should be ready and willing to address it effectively.

As always, it is wise to assess your needs for the present, while keeping in mind future growth. For more information on Anttix hosting features and rates, visit our website.

Ask about special discounts for Plainfield website hosting, Shorewood website hosting, Naperville website hosting, and Chicago website hosting.