Free web hosting is the most basic web hosting service that you can obtain and there are many free hosting companies that are available on the internet. Free hosting services are usually financed by advertisements on web sites that are hosted.
Free web hosting services are extremely limited. If you get a free hosting service you will have ads on the top and the bottom of your web-site and depending on what your web-site is all about, it may not fit at all but for people starting out on the internet it may be the best option if you don’t have a lot of traffic or just a small site.
The type of web domain that you receive when you get a free web hosting is a subdomain with the name that you pick (yourname.webhost.com) or a name in a directory (yourname.webhost.com). For example, if the name of your free host is freestanding.com, then your web domain would be yourbusiness.freestanding.com.
As stated before, if you are a novice, this is the type of account that you would probably want to get but there are some shortcomings to free web hosting if you are looking for more options on the account.
First, many free hosting accounts do not support database management or what you would call in simple terms, putting data structures on the free web host side of their server. Databases are usually used for online data retrieval routines. Many of these free web hosting sites do not support a common package called mySQL which allows you to program queries into your web sites.
They also don’t support multiple e-mail accounts. Most free web hosting service only gives you one email account and it’s usually a web based internet account. The host does not include modules for Flash Programming, PHP and Dynamic Hypertext Markup Language (DHMTL).
In summary, free web hosting is for novices who want an easy hosting option without many bells and whistles.
UNIX hosting involves a machine configured on a UNIX platform which is a multi-user computer operating system designed primarily for servers and advanced users. UNIX provides the base operating system architecture for many open source companies, such as Solaris (Sun Microsystems), Linux (GNU), and others. In regards to web hosting, choosing the UNIX web hosting alternative has its advantages and disadvantages.
UNIX has been around for years and it was the language of choice for midframe computer users. Windows actually copied the UNIX file naming convention technique when they created Microsoft Windows.
UNIX hosting is cheaper than Windows hosting. Because most web hosts use the free version of UNIX (like Linux), they don’t have to compensate for huge overhead expenses which you have with any Windows Operating System. Savings is passed to customers. In addition, those who use UNIX hosting usually get free tools and applications that have been written primarily for the UNIX community. Since UNIX hosting is an “open system”, its source code is publicly available for free from various web sites.
This allows web developers working for various companies and for different purposes to add rapid development of applications quickly. As a result, improvements come fast and problems are quickly resolved.
The main disadvantage of using UNIX hosting is that your provider may only allow access to your account via Telnet or SSH. As are result, you must have a strong working knowledge of UNIX commands in order to customize to your requirements. You may find yourself spending a lot of time learning the basics before you can enjoy the free advantages of UNIX hosting but learning the UNIX language is not that hard at all.
When considering the UNIX operating system and UNIX hosting, you need to consider your own technical abilities. Then take a look at the special features offered by each system and hosting company in light of the available technology and — sometimes more importantly – your budget.
Web hosting is a subject that divides opinion more fiercely than you might think. When people are arguing about what is most important in a web host, you can prepare for some strongly differing opinions. While there will be many who prefer that the web host has good tech support, and others will prize webspace above all else, a significant number of people will plump for uptime, every time. If your web host provides the right amount of uptime, the tech support won’t be so necessary (and you can always add more webspace later on).
Uptime is, however, essential no matter who you are and what your site is about. You might as well not have a website if it is going to spend more time displaying error messages to the people who want to read it. Most web hosts will promise in the region of 99.9% uptime. None can promise a hundred per cent, as this is an impossible promise, but you will note that the sites that offer 99.99% or 99.999% will be more expensive than those offering the simple 99.9. Nines are costly.
It is worth asking for proof if none is shown, or asking an impartial contact if the hosting company is as reliable as they say they are. It is one thing to lay claim to excellent uptime and quite another to reliably provide it.
When setting up your website, you are likely to have some grand ambitions as to how it will look. You will want to bring in as many viewers as possible and expand as time goes on. This is what any webmaster wants to do – or at least, the vast majority do. This is the thinking behind the “unlimited web space” offers that are made by many web hosting companies. And as attractive as that sounds, you may find that it has its drawbacks.
With limited web space, the advantage is that you can set a limit for what you pay – ensuring that your monthly bills are more than reasonable. If you get a spike in traffic, the site may experience lagging and even down time – but as long as you are on top of how much traffic you are getting, there need never be any real problem. But if, for whatever reason, hits to your site go astronomical when you have unlimited web space then you will soon find why most people choose limited.
There is a trade-off to be had between settling for less and paying more. Setting limits on the amount of web space you use is the sensible thing to do, at least until you are able to see how much traffic your site is bringing in and how well you could justify spending a little more on it. Certainly, unlimited webspace is a waste if you are not planning to make money from your website.
Smaller businesses will always be somewhat at the mercy of the larger companies who can pay for their own servers and the IT experts who can make sure that they keep running. It is pointless to look to compete with these companies, but you can follow some of the steps they take and keep yourself ahead of other companies of the same size as you. One way to go about this is to use colocation – a system that allows you to benefit from greater bandwidth and customer support than would otherwise be possible.
Colocation does cost more than standard web hosting, but offers you more for the money. It costs about the same as you would pay for a business grade DSL line providing limited bandwidth, and allows you access to far more bandwidth than the DSL line. It is also a more protected supply than most others, meaning you will have less downtime, and any time you do it will either be scheduled or fixed within moments. Because the colocation facility is dedicated to providing so much bandwidth, it is set up to withstand power outages.
As a colocation customer, you do have more responsibility for your server – indeed, in many cases it is advised that you buy a standard server in a colocation facility (this will usually cost between $150 and 200), and pay a small extra cost to have it maintained by the IT team at the facility. However, if you have your own IT experts, they can attend and carry out the maintenance that is required themselves.
Creating a professional website can be challenging. E-commerce web design is really a complex animal. To cut development time, many web hosting companies start offering web hosting templates or hosting with templates.
Whether you’re looking for a simple web site or a functional e-commerce website, the chances are that you may be able to find a few web templates from your hosting company. A simple web template may cost under $20 dollars, but a well-designed professional e-commerce website will cost a few hundreds or more if not thousands.
The cost of web templates is still cheap comparing to custom-made e-commerce websites when Web designers charge anywhere from $20 to $100 per hour. If you want to check out some templates, go to www.templates box.com
Besides the requirements of standard web hosting plans, Web hosting templates for e-commerce operations needs a shopping cart that supports online catalog and online payment processing (here’s a clue, pick Pay Pal). Web templates for e-commerce often include common pages and navigations for online shopping – searching or browsing products, adding items to shopping carts and making payment. The web templates for e-commerce do not include or connect to any specific shopping cart. It’s up to the webmasters to add shopping cart to the site.
The alternative e-commerce hosting to web templates is e-commerce turnkey solution. EBay Stores, Yahoo! and GoDaddy.com are the most popular turn-key e-commerce solutions for small businesses that want to setup online stores easily. Different hosting plans may have different free structures. The cost of each hosting plan often varies on transaction volume.
When comparing functionality, there’re many questions to ask:
- whether a shopping cart accepts online check or debit card.
- Whether there’s a limit on the number of products and categories that you can setup;
- whether it automatically sends out an email notification once an order is placed at your web-site.
When looking at the cost of commerce operation, you’ll need to ask questions about
- what’s the basic monthly fee for transactions;
- is there’s a setup fee for a new online store;
- how about handling taxes?;
- how much it charges for each transaction.
Talk with your hosting service on e-commerce issues and discuss the best plan to go with.