Web hosting frequent asked questions

Web Hosting Beginner Guides : Web Hosting FAQ

Need some quick answers? Well these 20 FAQs should help.

  1. What is web hosting?
  2. What is a domain name?
  3. What is a subdomain?
  4. What is a park domain?
  5. How do I register a domain name?
  6. What are my options in web hosting?
  7. How much do I need to pay for hosting a website?
  8. How can I pay my hosting provider?
  9. Can I keep my domain name if I change my hosting?
  10. How much web hosting storage do I need?
  11. How much web hosting bandwidth do I need?
  12. What is hosting uptime?
  13. What is File Transfer Protocol?
  14. Can I have my own email with a shared hosting?
  15. Does it make a difference what type of desktop computer I’m using (for example, a Mac)?
  16. What is the difference between Unix hosting and Windows hosting?
  17. Which web host should I use?
  18. Is unlimited web hosting for real?
  19. Can I run my own software on my site?
  20. Do I need a dedicated IP address for my site?

1. What is web hosting?

The term ‘Web Hosting’ refers to the computer server where website owner stores their web content. Web servers are always connected to the Internet so that other users have the access (upon to the owner’s permission) to the stored content.

Read more about web hosting.

2. What is a domain name?

A domain name is the alphabetical form of a website address. Google.com, About.com, MSN.com for example, are domain names. The extensions, such as ‘.net’ and ‘.com’, are commonly known as the Top Level Domains (TLD).

3. What is a subdomain?

Subdomain is the name in front of a domain name. For example ‘mail.google.com’, the ‘mail’ is a subdomain.

A subdomain should not be confused with an addon domain. An addon domain is the second, third, fourth… independent domain name added in a single hosting account; a subdomain, on the other hand, is a secondary domain appears in front of a domain name. Addon domain requires the owner to renew its registration; while creating subdomains require no cost at all.

4. What is a park domain?

Domain parking lets you buy a domain and then have a ‘coming soon’ page on it. This is not needed – if a domain is not parked it will simply be iinaccessible to anyone.

5. How do I register a domain name?

Registering a domain is ultra easy. First you need to make sure that your desired domain name is available and then all you need to do is simply visit a domain registrar to purchase your domain. Most domain registrars provide a search system to check a domain’s availability thus you can get the job done in just one website. Alternatively you can use Whois lookup tools (like this one) to check if your domain has been already taken.

6. What are my options in web hosting?

Depends on your website usage, web hosting services come in the form of shared hosting, dedicated hosting, virtual private hosting (VPS), and reseller hosting account. Each type of web hosting serves a different purpose however shared hosting is the type of hosting used by most new websites.

7. How much do I need to pay for hosting a website?

The cost of hosting a website depends greatly on which type of web host you are going with. For starters, we recommend shared web hosting services, which normally cost around $5 to $10 per month. Sum up with the cost of domain registration (which normally cost $10/year), all you need to pay is about $70 – $130 annually.

8. How can I pay my hosting provider?

Credit card and PayPal are two of the most common payment method but some web hosts do accept money orders and checks.

9. Can I keep my domain name if I change my hosting?

Yes, you can. Domain name should be registered with a seperate registrar thus when you need to move your web host, all you need to do is to change your DNS. If you however had already registered your domain name with your web host then you will need them to release your domain name before it can be moved.

10. How much web hosting storage do I need?

The amount of disk storage you need depends heavily on the type of website you’ll be running thus we do not have an exact answer for you.

Web pages normally take up little disk space – what matters the most are normally audio, video, as well as image files. Also if your website needs a database to operate, the database (of all sorts) can occupy a good portion of your web server disk space.

11. How much web hosting bandwidth do I need?

The amount of necessary bandwidth depends on your website traffics and application. While many web hosting providers are offering unlimited bandwidth nowadays, most websites or blogs do not need a lot of bandwidth. A simple calculation of total needed bandwidth can be done with formula below:

Bandwidth= Total of Estimated Page Views (in 30 days) x Average Page Size x Safety Factor

12. What is hosting uptime?

Uptime is literally what it means – it is the amount of time your site is online throughout the entire month.

The best uptime would be 100%, but because things can break, many hosts offer 99.9% uptime guarantees. This means that if your site is not accessible for more than 43 minutes in a single month, they will reimburse you, depending on their terms of service.

13. What about FTP – what is File Transfer Protocol?

File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is the protocol (method) used to upload files. While some web hosts offer the ability to upload files through a control panel, most file uploading is done using an FTP client. Such a client connects to your web host, establishes a connection, and allows you to upload whatever files you wish (provided you do not exceed the disk space allocated to you).

14. Can I have my own email with a shared hosting?

Absolutely yes. Most shared hosting providers offer email services (in fact, many nowdays aloow you to create unlimited email accounts). Both POP3 and IMAP are usually supported, but it might we wise to contact potential web hosting companies first to make sure.

15. Does it make a difference what type of desktop computer I’m using (for example, a Mac)?

No. the operating system on your personal computer has nothing to do with the operating system on your web server.

16. What is the difference between Unix hosting and Windows hosting?

Unix hosting normally refers to web host running on Linux or FreeBSD operating system; Windows hosting, on the other hand, runs on Windows OS like Windows Server 2003 or 2008. There are both pros and cons running a website on Unix or Windows hosting – Unix OS is open-source software, thus it’s free and tested widely; Windows OS on the other hand is critical if you need to run Microsoft web applications (such as asp.net).

Depending on which operating system to go with depends on your needs.
If you need to support Microsoft products such as ASP, MS Access, or VBScript, then Windows hosting would be better. Furthermore, if you are comfortable with IIS and do not have the time to understand how UNIX works, Windows hosting would again be a better choice.

There are a few other points to be kept in mind.

Firstly, just because you use Windows at home does not mean you should use Windows hosting. The two are completely different, and having a Windows system at home will not affect your ability to communicate with a UNIX server.

Secondly, Linux is much more common with web hosts due to its superior stability and because it is free. Since it is free, Linux hosting is usually cheaper than Windows. Just because it’s free does not mean it’s not as good – Linux is an excellent product too.

17. Which web host should I use?

There are hundreds of hosting providers around and there’s no one-fit-to-all answer for this question. Different websites will have different hosting needs. Generally, you’ll need a stable web host that provides all your necessary hosting features, fit into your budget, and provide sufficient customer supports.

Right now at this moment we think iPage and Hostgator are two of the best hosts but don’t take our words just that. To learn how to choose the right web host, please read our ultimate web host shopping guides.

18. Is unlimited web hosting for real?

Yes and no. No because bandwidth and disk storage services are offered based on limited resources – theoretically, unlimited hosting is impossible. Practically, web hosting companies are banking on the fact that most websites will not consume a lot of disk space and bandwidth – thus with proper server management, they can offer unlimited hosting without sabotaging current customers’ websites performance.

Do note that, however, some web hosts went ‘unlimited’ without the sufficient hardware and manpower. Consumers have to be aware of such practice as it would cause disaster to their websites.

19. Can I run my own software on my site?

This depends on your web host. Most shared hosting providers will not entertain request for custom software installation; VPS and dedicated hosting, on the other hand, normally allow users to install custom software freely.

20. Do I need a dedicated IP address for my site?

Maybe yes, maybe no.  There are some advantages to having a unique IP for your site.  When you change servers, you can point your users to a new IP, so they don’t have to wait for the domain name change to propagate.  With a static IP, it can also be simpler to upload and test your site before transferring the domain name to a new server.  Setting up SSL is also much simpler.  You may also not want to share your IP with some sites that could lead to your site being banned by search engines or spam lists.

 

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