Get Yourself a Website – Without the Drama

So, you’re done with the free web hosts. Gone through Geocities, Angelfire, Fortune City. You’re exhausted with the pop- ups and banners. You want a real site. But where to go? You look around the net, and the possibilities seem endless. 20 MB of space for only $20 a month! Wow! That’s fantastic!

Or is it? Way back when I bought my domain and signed up with a web host, I was the typical “the internet is so wonderful” optimist. I was thrilled to find something that sounded just about what I kind of wanted – and bam, just like that, $300 poorer and with a useless chunk of web space that wouldn’t even work properly. My domain addresses wouldn’t connect, my content was being warped – things weren’t looking too good for me.|

A year later and much the wiser, I know better. My site is working, I have a lovely, helpful support team, and I now know what I want. But, that’s all well and good for me – I have had the added advantage of working for a web hosting company. But what about the rest of you out there who don’t have my experience, who see a world of opportunity and are about to jump into the cesspit of money loss and disappointment.

So, I figure, why not let you in on a useful hint, one that may save you from misfortune. What is it, you ask? Well, simply – know what you want! Sounds way too simple for me to be handing it out, right? I don’t think so! Sure, you have a vague idea of what you want, but do you know what all of it means? The “mumbo jumbo”, so to speak?

I didn’t think so! Listen up, sit back, relax, and before you go jumping off the deep end, scroll down and read a bit.

MB of space
MB? Eh? Well, MB stands for MegaByte. This is basically the amount of storage space you will have. You can figure out how much space you will need if you spend a little bit of time thinking about what is going onto your site – how graphic intensive it will be, how many pages, any multimedia or music, etc. Make an approximation in your head and then add another 50. This will allow you to add on and expand. It’s always better to have too much, rather than too little.

Pricing (Monthly/Yearly)
the payment plans are generally either monthly or yearly. Make sure, even if you want a year or more of hosting, to start with a monthly plan! If you give them $3/400 for a year, and then they end up being useless, I’ll bet you that you won’t be getting that money back. If you start with a monthly account, you can always upgrade to a yearly account. And if you can’t upgrade and you’re really worried, add up how much it will be for a year, and set that money aside to slowly add back onto your credit card every month.

Domain Registration
do you already own a domain name? A domain name is basically the www.yourdomainname.com. Most of web hosts will provide domain name registration in their packages. If you already own your own, you will have to transfer it to their name servers. Make sure this is possible! Ask them if they will do it for you, or ask for directions on how to do it yourself. If you don’t own a name already, though, how many will you need? Will the one be enough? Do you need redirects; do you want extra names attached to sub-domains?

And then you need the actual name! If you’re completely stumped, have no ideas, there are some really good places online which will create a list for you.

http://www.1ststar.com/cgi-bin/fswiz/wizard.pl?show_wizard=1 &

http://www.ecxmall.com/domains/

Make sure your name is relevant to what’s on your site – people tend to get annoyed if your website is called “cool- cars.com” and it ends up being about cushion embroidery.

Email Accounts
there are quite a variety of options in this area. You have mail servers, mailing lists, redirects, catch all. If you’re going to be getting a substantial amount of mail through your website, you might want a mail server – an actual site online where you have your own personal mail box. It would usually be mail.yoursitename.com. Mailing lists are sometimes offered and sometimes not – if you’re going to be sending out a newsletter, promotional info, etc to a lot of people you might want to go with this option. A mail catch all basically does what its name suggests – catches emails with typos, wrong names etc, but have your domain written properly in the address, (i.e. typo@yourdomain.com). And finally, mail redirects, which give you an email address, but redirects emails sent to it to another mailbox – for example, if you have johnny@johnnyssite.com, it could redirect to your hotmail account.

There are many other added options as well, which you need to think about. If you want to have multimedia on your page(s), Front Page support, Access/database support, cgi-bin, custom 404 error pages, search engine submission. Sit down and make a list of what you need.

But before you do anything, send the support team of the web host an email. Ask them if they provide all of your specific requirements; describe what you are looking for. Be friendly and concise, and see how they react. If they are prompt and friendly or slow and unpleasant. You are always going to end up needing some sort of support during your hosting, and this will be a good indication of what kind of assistance you will get further down the line.

Basically what I’m telling you here is to think before you spend. So many people have tales of woe and disappointment; don’t end up being one of them. There are no guarantees here, but make it as close to it as possible.

ASP web hosting

ASP web hosting refers to web hosting companies who provide support for ASP (Active Server Page). If you want a dynamic data-driven web site you may wish to embed ASP code into your web site’s HTML Pages. When a user is viewing a web site that is developed using ASP, the pages can change depending on the actions of the user. ASP code allows you to link your web pages to a database, where users can interact with the web page by logging in and using their own personal settings or they can interactively place orders on your web site.

What is ASP?
ASP stands for Active Server Pages. Active Server Pages are HTML pages with embedded ASP scripts that are processed on the server before the page is sent to the user. ASP allows you to create dynamic database driven pages, a user can access data in a database, and interact with page objects such as Active X or Java components.

How does ASP work?
When you type a URL in the Address Box or click on a web page you are asking the web server to send a file to your computer; if the file is standard HTML, then, when your web browser receives the web page it will look exactly the same as it did on the web server. However if an ASP file is sent to your computer from the web server, firstly, the server will run the HTML code; and then, run the ASP code. For example: the ASP code could be the current date, or time; and other such information.

How to find an ASP web host
You will need to find a web host who will host your website on a Windows 2000 server. It is safer to host your ASP pages on a Windows 2000 server as they are more stable and most ASP components work with IIS (Internet Information Services), specific to Windows. You also need to consider if your web site uses a database (e.g. SQL, Access) and then make sure your web host provides support for the type of database your web site uses.

Free & Unlimited: Terms of Service

The English language is an amazing language. Where else can you take a “word” and use it for the exact opposite of its literal definition. A good car is “bad”! A good-looking person might be “hot” while they are really “cool”.

Sometimes the word used is not used for it’s exact opposite, but the way it is used has a different definition than the literal/dictionary definition. For this article, let’s explore two words used in the advertising world that have different definitions depending on the advertiser using it. These two terms will be used in reference to hosting. Please note that this article is not an attack on hosts, nor on advertisers. The purpose is to show that some words are not clearly defined nor can they be taken literally, but must be understood in the context of how they are used.

Free

First of all, let’s look at the word “free”. According to The New Lexicon Webster’s Dictionary, the definition is:

adj. not subject to external restraints or domination; not captive, at liberty; not having to be paid for; unhampered; open to all without restrictions; etc.
adv. without expense; without penalty
v.t. to release from constraint, set free

The literal definition of a free host would then be a host that has no restraints for the user with no expense and no restrictions. The webmaster would be set free to design to their hearts content. A literally free host would allow the webmaster everything and anything that they might want to establish a website without any constraints, restrictions, or expense. Can anyone imagine having all the space and bandwidth without any cost whatsoever? No, I didn’t think you could. Hence, the literal definition of a free host is both unimaginable and ridiculous. Free with no obligation whatsoever? Hardly.

Obviously, the literal sense is not the case with a free host. Depending upon the host, there will be restrictions as to such things as space and bandwidth. Some even have a requirement of having their banner(s) on your published site. Hence, the definition of “free” when it comes to a host means no expense as long as a set of conditions are met. Those conditions consist of such things as space, advertisements, hot linking, etc. The host’s service might be free with 20 meg of space. Additional space requires different conditions, probably money. The service might be free 20 megs of space and your site must display a required 468×60 banner of the host’s choice.

So the space that they have allotted is free, as long as their conditions and/or criteria is met. Just as this article is free as long as you’re a subscriber to Webmaster-Talk newsletter and, if you should desire to reprint it, the resource box is used with the article.

The literal “free” host is non-existent. The conditional “free” host is not only existent, but very prevalent in the webmaster world today. If you see “free” in a host’s advertisement, forget the literal and then read on to see what the conditions are for having some free space.

Unlimited

Next, let’s look at the word “unlimited”. According to The New Lexicon Webster’s Dictionary, the definition is:

adj. without limits; boundless, vast
syn. eternal

The literal definition of a host offering “unlimited” space and/or bandwidth would be a host that had no bounds on the amount of space or bandwidth for their customers. The webmaster would pay their host the set monthly fee, and could then design a website that used every bit of technology available today without any limit or bounds while doing so. Can anyone imagine a host that gives you implicit use of any and all resources available? No. Again, I didn’t think you could. The literal definition of “unlimited” space or bandwidth is unimaginable and ridiculous.

For purposes of this discussion, bandwidth will include page views and data transfer. The loading of pages for viewers and the transfer of data by the webmaster are very much different and may be handled differently by some hosting companies.

There are some very real reasons that unlimited space and bandwidth does not literally exist. From the smallest host to the largest host in the world, all have limitations from the very machines that they use for hosting. One machine or thousands of machines will have a certain capacity when it comes to space and bandwidth. The technology does not exist to make any machine literally unlimited. Even the largest hosting companies will have to set limits based on the size of their machinery. Does this mean they can’t add on or grow? No. It just means that there is a limit to their capacity.

Why do hosting companies use the word “unlimited” when it comes to space and bandwidth? It is definitely not to be taken literally, but it is a term used to attract attention to what the company has to offer. The term will have different definitions with different hosts. A keyword to remember at this point is “vast”. Vast was used earlier in the definition of unlimited. The definition of “vast” is immensely large in area; great. This gives more insight to what unlimited means when used by hosting companies.

When it comes to “unlimited” space and bandwidth, the host is claiming to have a vast amount, so much that the typical webmaster will not be able to use all of it in its entirety. If a customer would start approaching the physical limits of space, the host would make a provision so that it is not totally used. The provisions that the host makes is what determines their viability as a good host. With this claim comes a responsibility for the customer or webmaster. The customer must investigate the host to find out their capacities and their Terms Of Use policies to understand what is meant.

You decide

The policies that define “free” or “unlimited” are many times ambiguous or not clearly defined using mathematical equations or specific amounts. Many times, the policies will read that if a certain customer is using more than “normal”, then there will have to be a change. The host might ask them to change their plan, pay for the excess, or cut back on their use. So what is normal? This article can not define that. Policies also use terms such as over use, abuse, above normal, etc. These are usually not defined and are relative terms.

What should you consider when a company uses the term “unlimited”?

Consider that the term is not literal.
Find out what happens if you start to use more than normal, over use, or abuse the space.
See if the hosting company has a standard charge for the amount of space and bandwidth used over your plans amount.

Finding out this information from the start will help to avoid any unnecessary problems with your hosting company.

You must decide what is the good and bad of unlimited anything. Most would consider it a bad host that would immediately shut down their site if it exceeded the allowed space and/or bandwidth. Some will do just that. On the other hand, a good host will be willing to work with you on this aspect. Different hosts will act in different ways when a site exceeds the allotted space or bandwidth. One host may work with you to properly fund that site and keep it going by adding the costs of the exceeded amount to your bill. Another host may immediately notify you that you have exceeded your contract and negotiate with you about the excess.

So remember

Get to know your hosting company. All hosting companies are not created equal. Most will work with their valued customers when it comes to use of more space and bandwidth than is allowed. They will work with you to ensure that your site stays up for all to see. If they use “unlimited”, ask what that really means. Remember that it will never be the literal definition of the word, and probably means they have a vast amount.

Read the Terms of Service or Terms of Use. Explore their policies on free and unlimited to understand the host’s definitions of the terms used. Your initial contract with the hosting company should explain their procedure for use of space and bandwidth. Hopefully, this will be explained in concrete terms as in allotted space and bandwidth, and the cost for any used above that given amount.

FREE is FREE with many constraints and restrictions. UNLIMITED is UNLIMITED when you have the funds to pay for it. Forget your understanding of the literal definition of these two words when examining a host. Then carefully read and consider what they are truly offering you. Are hosts bad that use these terms? No! Remember, they may be “Bad!” when they’re exceptionally good!

For a continuing discussion on these two terms, please visit the Webmaster-Talk forums. There is a lot of discussion and opinions expressed about this subject.

Bandwidth Or Data Transfer – Which is Which?

Too often web hosts talk about bandwidth and data transfer in the same breath but truth be known they are different although very closely related. Bandwidth is how much data can be transferred at a time and data transfer is how much data is being transferred.

Think of it this way. If bandwidth were a bridge, then the bigger the bridge is the more vehicles can pass through it. While data transfer is the number of vehicles allowed on the bridge in say a month. In essence, data transfer is the consumption of bandwidth.

How It Affects Your Site

The less bandwidth you have, the slower your site takes to load regardless of the visitor’s connection type. If you have more visitors, some of them will have to wait their turn. The least data transfer you have, the more often you’ll find your site unavailable because you’re reached the maximum allowed until a new month rolls by or you upgrade your account.

Determining Your Requirements

Usually when a host talks about bandwidth, they are referring to your transfer. So you need to figure out what is sufficient for your site to function. You’ll need to gather some information; fairly easy if you already have a site. Most of this information is available from your traffic history. If you don’t have an existing site, provide an optimistic estimate if you intend to heavily promote the site. Then get ready for some math.

Find out the daily averages of: –
· Number of visitors / expected number of visitors
· Page size including the graphics of the page
· Page views / expected pages viewed by each visitor

Then, multiply them as follows:
Visitors x Page size x Page views x 30 days = Monthly Website Transfer

You should also throw in a small margin or error there to take into account email traffic and your own uploads to the server. If you offer downloads, then you should add the following:

Average/Expected downloads x File Size x 30 days = Monthly Download Transfer

Unlimited Plans

Bandwidth is very expensive. All hosts are limited by their own allocations. Thinking back to the bridge. What happens is each visitor to your site will be given a smaller lane to transfer the data, creating many tiny lanes therefore “unlimited”. The more visitors you have the smaller each lane will be, which makes each visitor wait for the page to load.

More often than not there is little choice over your bandwidth as your host controls this. Some hosts may limit the number of simultaneous connections so in affect slowing down your site and refusing some visitors. This is called throttling. If you’re concerned about this, you should ask the host how they control bandwidth usage or purchase a package with more data transfer. If you use HostVoice.net , this information is easily obtainable with one request.

Reducing Transfers

On the other hand, you can reduce your transfer amount by building simpler, more efficient websites and optimizing your graphics. Refrain from fancy flash presentations or streaming audio. Use CSS, call JavaScript externally instead of embedding in every page. Remove unwanted tags, white space and comments. Limit your META tags to those absolutely necessary. Having too many keywords is not search engine friendly. Besides many search engines will only review the first few and ignore the rest.

Another good idea is to cache your website but you might want to set an expiry date in the HTTP headers so the browser will refresh the content after a certain time. Use mod-gzip. It could save you as much as 40% of your bandwidth. Out of control robots can also suck down your bandwidth like a black hole. So use robots.txt to keep spiders in check.

WebServe Canada

About WebServe Canada

WebServe Canada is an industry-leading privately held web hosting and internet solution provider company based in Vancouver , Canada Serving & Web Hosting the Canadian Internet Community since 1999.

WebServe is an innovation in quality hosting and design… superior customer service… at affordable prices. It’s their belief (proven time and time again by statistics) that people do not visit your site for entertainment… they’re looking for information. And they want it easy to find… and they want it fast! WebServe delivers with the most reliable hosting packages and web designs built on “form, fit and function” with pricing choices to fit every budget.

Remarkable reliability record (99.9%) and superb technical support translate into a world-class environment to develop and run your company’s web presence!

Formed in 1999:

WebServe is a company providing high quality, cost effective Internet services to both private and corporate clients throughout the world. WebServe continues to experience growth since their infancy in web design and development, marketing, web site promotion and domain registration services.

WebServe clients benefit from the most advanced, feature rich, web based control panel in the industry combined with first class technical support.

Customer service is a key element in the satisfaction of WebServe clients, as they continue to go well beyond the expected when it comes to meeting the needs of their customers. First in having a knowledgeable and well trained staff, second in ensuring that they are easily accessible when needed.

Mission Statement:

To provide WebServe clients, both personal and business with top quality web hosting at affordable prices. Top-quality support is seen by WebServe as a vital part of their company, that is why they have invested heavily in this department to offer you a great service.

Dedication to Quality:

Simple Ideas, WebServe operate with some simple concepts in mind. First and foremost, to take care of the customer. WebServe makes sure each and every customer’s needs are met, instead of expecting them to confirm to what WebServe supplies. Second, WebServe produce the best product they can innovate with the assistance of their impressive in house development team. WebServe operates at ultimate efficiency, and are able to offer a feature set beyond any other system you will find on the market.

Truly Powerful Technology:

Performance & Stability: Any website’s performance is defined by two simple concepts, connection speed and stability. These two concepts have been the concentric focus on which WebServe has built its network.

Go to website: www.webserve.ca