WEB HOSTING FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
What is Web Hosting?
Individuals or companies that have websites lease web servers from web hosting services, either monthly or annually. Commonly, there are a multitude of services offered by a web hosting provider, depending on the individual needs of a client.
Web hosting works by bridging the gap between a website owner and the internet. Through hosting, a website has access to sufficient server resources and management tools. All web sites must have a web server. An estimated 90% of them are run through a leased web hosting plan.
If you have plans to build and maintain a web site, then it will be imperative that you become familiar with the many aspects of web hosting.
What are Web Servers?
Web servers are high powered, high tech computers that work by storing and transmitting data over the internet. Just about all servers are connected to the internet for the duration of their lifespan.
Web servers are by far the most important aspects of the internet. All web sites are stored, maintained, and operated on web servers. It is not possible to access the internet without a web server, so every web site must have one.
There are quite a few different types of web servers, all them designed to offer an assortment of web hosting capabilities. While web servers are quite costly, luckily, web hosting provides site owners with a less expensive option to lease servers, rather than own them.
What are Domain Names?
Domain names are phrases or words will point the user directly to a particular web site through a web browser. Domain names are pooled with a TLD (top level domain), which works by giving each web site a unique identity.
In simple terms, domain names are just the name of the web site, followed by an extension (TLD), such as .com, .org, .net, .co, or .info. Basically, a TLD will assist in identifying the type of website. For example, a .org TLD is short for organization, and therefore, a .org site may be linked with a charity or other similar organization.
There are many different TLDs already in existence, and while .com, .org, and .net are the three most prevalent TLDs, other ones, such as the newly released .co, are gaining steam as well due to the lack of domain real estate available.
What is an IP Address?
An IP (Internet Protocol) address is basically a sequence of numbers that is used to identify a specific computer over the internet. Each computer is assigned an IP address by the ISP (Internet Service Provider) that serves as a means to identify communication from that particular computer to another computer.
Web sites also have IP addresses that are indicative of the address associated with the web server on which they are hosted.
An IP address looks like a series of numbers; for example, when looking at an IP address, there will be a string that resembles this: 188.8.131.52.
IP addresses are a vital part of web hosting, as many plans give access to several IP addresses. This makes it easier to branch out your presence for SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
What are Shared Web Hosting Plans?
A shared web hosting plan is a variant of web hosting services that give server assets to several different web sites. Shared web server resources are divided and shared between plan holders. Each one is allocated a certain amount with which they can utilize to build and maintain their sites.
Shared web hosting is the least expensive type of hosting plan. This is because the hosting companies do not have to pay for extra web servers in order to provide hosting to a larger number of clients – and the savings are passed onto you.
Most individuals and small companies will begin with shared web hosting because it is the least expensive and offers all of the fundamental needed to power a small to mid-sized web site.
What’s Reseller Web Hosting?
Basically, reseller web hosting is designed to offer you all of the necessary resources to begin your own independent web hosting service.
With reseller web hosting, resources are made available at wholesale prices, as well as all of the tools one will need in order to divide those resources into customized packages that can be sold to clients.
A reseller host has the diversity, and lack of restrictions, that are necessary to build web hosting plans that will produce a consistent income flow, every month.
A majority of reseller hosting plans come with the advanced tools needed for building professional hosting sites that can be used as an avenue to advertise your hosting services to new prospects.
If your goal is to design your own web hosting plan, then you may want to think about a reseller hosting plan.
What’s Ecommerce Hosting?
Ecommerce is a specific type of hosting that is created especially for online stores. Ecommerce hosting plans provide all of the tools and resources one will need in order to build a lucrative store online.
A few of the things offered with Ecommerce hosting plans are: payment processing abilities, shopping carts, and catalog builders. The vast majority of online stores use Ecommerce web hosting to effectively keep track of billing and invoicing.
Ecommerce hosting adds an aspect of simplicity when it comes to creating proficient stores, even with little to no previous experience or training. Ecommerce allows you to create online retail storefronts that can easily contend with larger corporate stores. If you would like to increase your chances of having a successful online store, then Ecommerce is the way to go.
What is VPS Web Hosting?
VPS, or Virtual Private Server, is a hosting plan that divides a large web server and its resources between literally hundreds of sites at the same time, conveying enhanced performance to each web site. In contrast to shared hosting plans, VPS hosting plans come with wide ranging server resources and the ability to make adjustments to software and server configuration.
Often, VPS hosting is utilized by businesses or busy websites and is regarded as the ideal solution for those on a strict budget that need effective, yet inexpensive hosting. VPS hosting, when compared to dedicated hosting plans, does not differ much in terms of effectiveness. However, VPS is much more affordable and quite expandable, making it simple to upgrade if need be.
What are Dedicated Hosting Plans?
Dedicated hosting plans allow you to lease a private server that is only utilized by your sites. Dedicated hosting is superior to shared hosting, in that it has less limitations and added features that are made available to its users.
A dedicated server gives you the freedom to do whatever you want, and it is rare to see the server’s resources depleted. Dedicated web hosting is regarded as the most powerful and sought after web hosting on the market. This is mainly because it is the only plan that allows you to lease your own private server, without sharing resources with any other website.
While it is quite a bit more expensive, with a dedicated server, hundreds of your own sites can be hosted at the same time without sacrificing one bit of functionality.
What is Web Hosting Bandwidth?
Web hosting bandwidth is used to measure the amount of data that can be transferred from the web server at any given point in time. When users visit your web site, they are actually downloading and uploading information to and from your web site with every page that is loaded. Thus, in order to accommodate a high amount of daily visitors, your web hosting plan needs to provide ample bandwidth so that pages will load quickly, keeping your visitors happy.
Bandwidth is usually measured in terms of data per second, such as megabytes per second or kilobytes per second. This allows you to gauge how much traffic your site can handle at an exact moment in time. Although the amount of bandwidth varies depending upon the hosting plan, you should be sure that your web hosting plan allows for plenty of daily visitors with lots of bandwidth to spare.
What is Web Hosting Disk Space?
The term “disk space” is used to describe the amount of files that can be held on a single web server. All of your web site files are stored on the web server, which means that the amount of disk space that is available to you will directly affect how large your site can be.
When you run out of available bandwidth, you will no longer have room for more files, which means you will be unable to update your site with new content. Updating your site with content regularly is paramount to its success, so it is very important to make sure you have adequate bandwidth for your sites.
What is FTP?
File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a method of uploading and downloading files from a web server. Software called FTP clients is used to interact with your web server via File Transfer Protocol. FTP makes it easy to update your site and build larger sites with hundreds of pages, but without having to create each page individually.
If you want to simplify the process of site management and construction, then you will need access to an FTP client.
Fortunately, FTP clients are free and very easy to use. You can create FTP accounts within your web hosting control panel. You can create accounts that are associated with independent directories, or you can create a main FTP account that can be used to interact with your entire Public HTML folder.
What Are Control Panels?
Control panels are comprehensive user-friendly interfaces that are specifically designed to facilitate the administration and management of your web site and web server. You will spend most of the time in the control panel as a web site owner, so it is very important that you become familiar with the various aspects of control panel usage.
Control panels are usually split into sections that are devoted to different facets of web site management, such as email accounts and the domain manager. There are many control panels available in the web hosting industry; however, cPanel is by far the most popular.
What is MySQL, MS SQL, etc?
MySQL and MS SQL are database systems. Depending on what your host provides, you can use a database to organize your data.
What are PHP, ASP, perl, etc?
These are all programming languages which are referred to by their acronyms.
PHP – PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor
ASP – Active Server Pages
Perl – not an acronym
What is a Content Management System?
A content management system, also referred to as a CMS, is server-side software that makes it easy to write, edit, publish, and organize content on your web site. Virtually every aspect of site management can be handled within a comprehensive content management system.
CMS are to web sites as control panels are to web hosting accounts. In fact, most professional web site owners use content management systems on a regular basis to update their sites.
You can even expand the capabilities of a CMS using custom plugins, and there are new plugins and add-ons being developed regularly by independent developers around the world.
What is WordPress?
It is a Content Management System (CMS). It is an excellent system to use when creating a website that lets you quickly get your thoughts out on the web, but while it is often used as a blog, it can be configured to work in many other interesting ways as well. It is more of an end-user system.
WordPress, however, is not to be used for everything, such as Ecommerce. The very reason that WordPress was created was to keep people from wanting to customize it to do things that are much more advanced.
What is Drupal?
It is a Content Management System (CMS). If you’re the type of person who would rather hand-code the content of your pages than use a WYSIWYG Editor, or if you enjoy tweaking the code that makes up the framework of a website, then Drupal is probably for you.
This advanced content management system more closely resembles a developer platform than a traditional CMS. Its not to say that only developers can use the system though, but to say that they will feel more at home here than in the other two.
Interestingly, being more developer friendly does not automatically make it more user friendly – in fact the developer has to work hard to make it that way if they need the end-product to do so.
What is Joomla?
It is a Content Management System (CMS).
If WordPress is more for end-users and Drupal is more for developers, then Joomla! must be more for designers, right? If that’s the conclusion that you came to then you’re on the right track, but we would venture to say that Joomla! is actually a mix of all of those things.
Designers will choose Joomla because of the amazing capabilities that its engine has in making websites look fantastic. Newcomers to Joomla (and website management) will love the fact that it is very easy to use and even customize as more and more developers create tools that are easier to understand. Developers, likewise, will choose the system because of its large capacity for development and customization. The new MVC framework was built just so that anyone with the knowledge could override the core of the CMS without actually modifying the original code.
What’s Multiple Domain Web Hosting?
Multiple domain web hosting is simply a type of hosting that allows you to host more than one domain at a time in the same hosting account. Most multiple domain hosting accounts let you associate an unlimited amount of domains with your hosting account.
If you need to use more than one web site for your online business, then multiple domain web hosting is absolutely necessary. With multiple domain hosting, you’ll be able to manage several web sites within a single centralized control panel, which is far more advantageous than using separate hosting accounts of all of your web sites.
It is important to note that multiple domain web hosting is not a specific type of hosting, but rather an attribute of various web hosting plans. For example, shared, VPS, and dedicated hosting types all have plans available that allow for multiple domain hosting.
Why Are Server Resources Mentioned So Frequently?
Server resources are basically the features and capabilities of your web server. Since your web server is the focal point of your web hosting plan, it is very common to see the term “server resources” used when discussing the capabilities of a web hosting plan.
If your site is lacking adequate server resources, then its performance will undoubtedly suffer, so it is very important to make sure you have access to excessive server resources at all times. This is especially true if you are hosting multiple web sites under the same hosting account. In order for your site visitors to have an enjoyable experience with your site, you will need plenty of server resources.
What’s Managed Hosting?
Managed web hosting is a type of dedicated web hosting in which comprehensive support and on-site maintenance are provided to every customer.
Managing a dedicated server can be a very complex task, especially if you have to worry about the progression of your online business. Unmanaged dedicated hosting accounts are very difficult to deal with, particularly for new customers that are not trained to handle dedicated server. It can take a long time to learn how to keep your server performing optimally, which is why it is important to have access to qualified assistance.
A fully managed web hosting plan will give you the opportunity to focus on other aspects of your business while professionals deal with the technical issues for you.
What is Server Uptime?
If you have been shopping for a web hosting plan, then you have probably seen a stamp or seal on a provider’s site that says “99% uptime guaranteed.” This phrase is used to denote the reliability of a hosting provider, and the asserted guarantee demonstrates that their web servers are fully functional without error for more than 99 percent of the time.
This is an extremely important attribute for a web hosting company to have. In fact, most web hosting experts suggest that reliability is perhaps the most important factor to consider when choosing from prospective web hosting providers.
Downtime is the other side of the spectrum, in which a server crashes, leaving the hosted web sites rendered useless until it is brought back online. If you have been noticing a lot of downtime from your current hosting companies, then you may want to consider switching to a more reliable provider.
How Is Site Traffic Analyzed?
Web site traffic is usually very inconsistent, especially if it originates from organic search results. Thus, the need to track traffic precisely is very evident in the web hosting industry.
Fortunately, every web hosting control panel includes traffic tracing utilities that can be used to analyze every aspect of web site traffic. Tools like Webalizer and Awstats break down all facets of web traffic statistics, and they present all of this information in a neat and organized manner. You can even create comprehensive traffic reports based on a weekly or monthly basis.
If you are focusing on marketing and selling products, then you need to understand what is working and what is not. With this information, you can put more effort into the traffic generation techniques that are working. Having access to comprehensive traffic analysis tools within your control panel gives you the ability to fine tune your traffic generation skills.
What Are Subdomains?
Subdomains are extensions of a main domain or web site, which can be used as a separate site with separate software configurations. Most people use subdomains to categorize their main domain into other more specific sections.
The name of a subdomain appears before the main domain name. For example, a site may have the main domain name of “example.com” with a subdomain entitled “subdomain.example.com.”
Sub domains are often used by larger web sites that need to store specific data in different web directories. Subdomains can have their own FTP accounts associated with them, which makes it easy for you to manage them individually.
Most web hosting providers will let you create unlimited subdomains on you main domain. Aside from being a separate directory, subdomains are also often used to enhance search engine optimization techniques.
What is a Datacenter?
A datacenter is a large state-of-the-art facility that is used to store web servers in ideal environmental conditions. Virtually everything is controlled precisely within a data center, from the temperature to the amount of air circulated in and out of the room. The floors of the data center are fully ventilated, and the entire facility is fireproofed, with futuristic extinguishing mechanisms throughout the building.
Datacenters have incredibly fast internet connections, which are distributed amongst dozens of web server simultaneously. Web servers are stored neatly in professionally built racks that are specifically designed for their purpose. To ensure the complete safety and longevity of the web servers, there is 24 hour security and powerful air filtration devices throughout the buildings.
What Are SSL Certificates?
Secure Socket Layer is a type of web data encryption that prevents sensitive personal and financial information from being intercepted by hackers and cyber criminals. SSL certificates are placed on web sites to indicate that this type of encryption protocol is being used on sensitive pages, such as checkout pages. This seal or certificate not only assures shoppers of their safety, but it also deters hackers from trying to steal information that could lead to bank, credit card fraud and/or identity theft.
If you are serious about building and operating an online business, then you will need an SSL certificate for every web site that sells items and/or processes payments regularly. Most Ecommerce hosting plans include SSL certificates automatically; however, you may need a wild card certificate if you are planning on using more than one SSL certificate per hosting account.
How Do You Add Domains to a Web Hosting Account?
Adding domains to your web hosting account is actually very simple. All you need to do is access the domain manager in both your web hosting account and your domain registrar account.
Access your domain name server settings in the registrar account. Then head over to your web hosting account and find the nameserver information. Your nameservers should appear as something like NS1.nameserver.com. Input this information into your web hosting account and then wait a few minutes.
After the nameservers have been changed for your domain, then you can go to the web hosting control panel and verify your ownership of the domain. In a few minutes, you will be able to access your new domain in your web hosting control panel.
Every control panel is slightly different, so if you need assistance, don’t be afraid to contact your web hosting support.
What is Robots.txt?
A robots.txt file is simply a text file that resides in your web site’s root directory, and it dictates what kind of visitors can view your web site. This file is often used to block search engines or other robots from crawling the site and indexing the information. This file can also be used to block specific visitors based on their IP address. For example, if someone is abusing your site, you may want to block their IP address from accessing the site using the robots.txt file.
Some hosting accounts do not include a robots.txt file automatically, while others leave the file blank by default. The exact configuration of the file will depend upon the web hosting provider. It is always best to check if the robots.txt file is edited to disallow search engines, as this could be very detrimental to your web site’s success.
What is SEO?
Search engine optimization, also known as SEO, is the practice of editing and building web sites to please search engines like Google.
There are a lot of factors that contribute to the search engine ranking of a web site. Figuring out these factors and building sites that are perfect for the search engines is the best way to get residual web traffic with minimal effort.
Nearly everyone that owns a web hosting account should learn search engine optimization, as it is a crucial part of getting your site listed with the search engines. There are many tools within your web hosting control panel that will let you improve your SEO efforts and create web sites that can easily rank highly for your desired keywords.
What’s Colocation Hosting?
Colocation hosting is unlike any other form of web hosting, primarily because it is not a service that leases web servers. Instead, colocation hosting is simply a web server storage service that gives you access to a professionally designed web server rack inside of a high tech facility that is guarded by 24 hour security.
Colocation facilities are complex datacenters that have precisely controlled environments. Instead of storing your web server in a dusty storage unit or a closet, you may want to consider colocation hosting. Some colocation services also offer maintenance and support as well, which can be useful if you are not trained to deal with private servers.
It is best to find a colocation facility in your general area, so that you do not have to pay a lot for shipping when you send your server to the colocation company.
What are DNS Servers?
DNS servers are web servers that are specifically used to connect on the domain name system. The domain name system is a massive network of information that stores the server coordinates and domain names of all of the sites on the internet. In fact, the domain name system is the largest database in existence.
DNS servers convert the IP addresses of web sites into names that can be typed into the address bar of a browser. Without DNS servers, your site would have an address similar to 184.108.40.206 instead of domain.com. Obviously, remembering an IP address is much more difficult than remembering a domain name, which is why DNS servers are so important to the internet industry.
DNS servers use special networking software to transmit information from the server to site visitors and web servers. Most DNS servers are connected to the internet for the majority of their existence.
What Are Domain Name Registrars?
Domain name registrars are companies with access to DNS servers that connect to the domain name system. One of the most famous domain name registrars is GoDaddy.com, which has registered millions of web sites for people around the world.
Most domain name registrars sell domains for similar prices, with the costs ranging from $1 to $10 depending upon the domain extension. Dot com sites cost around ten dollars from most domain registrars, while .info domains only cost about a dollar.
Domain registrars often offer web hosting services as well, and it is possible to receive a discount if you buy packages that contain several domains or web hosting services. However, keep in mind that you have the power to host your new domain with any web host you’d like, even if you purchased it from a separate domain name registrar.
What are Parked Domains?
Parked domains are very common types of domains. In fact, every web site begins as a parked domain until the nameservers are changed and the site is placed under its own hosting account. Parked domains are simply sites that not being used by their owner, and instead they are used to advertise links and banners of other companies.
There are two kinds of parked domains – those that are parked by the domain name registrar by default, and those that are parked intentionally for a small monthly fee. You have the right to park your domain at any time, as you can find domain parking sites that will pay you a very small amount each month to use your site as a parked domain. If you have ever purchased a web site and looked at it immediately afterwards, you have seen a parked domains.
What is Web Hosting Spam?
Spam is annoying and forceful advertising that some companies use as a tactic for marketing. Spam is dangerous in that it can completely overload your system. Anyone who has opened their inbox to find a ton of unwanted e-mail from a million different people that they don’t even know has experienced spam.
Web hosting spam differs in the fact that it directs spam toward your web site, rather than your e-mail box. Fortunately, most of the hosting services providers offer spam protection that will hinder spammers from hitting your site.
For a web site to operate at its highest capacity, spam must be prevented. Make sure and research ways in which you can prevent spam from affecting the performance of your web site.
What are File Managers?
The file manager is found within the control panel of your web hosting account. It enables you to manage all of the files on your server. When you are in the file manager, you can edit, view and back up data bases that are connected to your web sites. Once the file manager is opened, you have access to all of the directories and can choose which one you would like to open and use.
Your public HTML directory, which holds all the files that your site utilizes to function correctly, can be accessed from the file manager. All editing that is done with HTML and code is performed within the file manager, in addition to several other tasks associated with managing your web site.
What is a Web Hosting Script?
A script is term used to describe programming code that creates a specific software, tool or enhancement. Scripts are frequently used in web hosting to install content management systems, site traffic analysis tools, site building utilities and even online forums.
Unfortunately, to the average person, a script would appear to be nothing more than a massive wall of gibberish, and most people would not know what to do with it. However, within your web hosting control panel exists several incredible tools that can help you utilize scripts and perform incredibly easy installations with the click of a button. One of the most popular script installation utilities is Simple Scripts, which can be used to install applications like WordPress and Soho site builder.
What Are Cron Jobs?
Cron jobs are scheduled tasks that can be added to your web hosting control panel. Most tasks associated with site and server administration are repetitive tasks that can be easily programmed and automated. Unfortunately, most people do not how to program automated tasks, so it can be frustrating when you have to perform the same menial tasks repeatedly.
Within the cron jobs section of your hosting control panel, you can quickly schedule tasks that usually take away minutes of your day. Almost every routine web hosting task can be automated using a simple one line command within the user-friendly cron job interface. You can even select custom intervals, dates and times for the task to be performed.
How Do I Backup My Website?
Backing up a web site is extremely simple using your web hosting control panel. Most web hosting plans come with the popular control panel cPanel, which includes an excellent backup utility that you can use to schedule backup dates and keep your site’s databases safe at all times.
cPanel is not the only control panel with a backup utility however, as every major web hosting provider includes such a tool. With all the work put into building and maintaining your site, it is absolutely imperative to create a backup of your web site routinely. If you are having trouble making a backup of your website within your web hosting control panel, then do not hesitate to contact your web hosting support staff.