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The first step to actually owning a webpage is to find some space on a web server. Some people manage to install and run a web server themselves, but for most users this is one bridge too far. Therefore, one usually relies on hosting providers. Hosting providers are specialized in managing large server systems, have a lot of fall-back systems and some even have their own source of power. If money is not an issue and quality is, you will probably want to have a managed, dedicated server. This means you have to hire a complete physical server machine and also pay for supporting personnel. You can also choose to hire a server, and manage it yourself. This is then revered to as: An unmanaged, dedicated server.
A professional data centre with different rack servers.
However, most users are unwilling to pay a hundred Euros a month just to have a website on-line. They often choose to use shared hosting. Shared hosting means one physicalserver machine is used to support several (up to hundreds of them) virtual server machines. The setback of this is that the server load or the security risks that one site induces can influence the performance of the other, but the prices are much lower than common dedicated hosting prices. Prices range from free to some hundred Euros a year. Knowing most of our users choose this kind of hosting, we’ve written this guide with shared hosting in mind. Even so, there is still a lot to choose from.
We will focus on shared server systems in the Netherlands for now. Even in this small country, the number of shared hosting companies is considerable. To make life somewhat easier, we’ve contacted the ones we think have a good price/performance ratio. The resulting list should not only help you to find a decent provider, it also helps us to continue our work free of charge. By choosing one of our sponsors, you will indirectly support our activities and help us to improve our services even more.
Usually, prices are listed without tax and often on a monthly basis. The things you are actually paying for is web space, bandwidth, quality and accessories. Web space is the amount of data you can put on-line, bandwidth is the amount of data one could downloadfrom you site each month, quality refers to the percentage of time your site is actuallyaccessible (the uptime) and the level of security and finally, accessories are things like free mailboxes, management panels and free web statistics.
You will notice there are basically two categories of shared hosting available: personaland business hosting. Within these categories, prices are somewhat similar but when you compare these categories, business hosting is about five to ten times more expensive then personal hosting and offers better quality. So before making a decision, you should ask yourself whether your website will be a project of a personal type or a business one. If you want to put some holiday pictures on-line, you should choose personal hosting. However, when starting a business, business hosting is highly recommended. The financial damage caused by your website going down, can easily be much more expensive than your monthly hosting bill.
Hobbyist or Businessman
Once you have made your choice, you can start trying to make estimates of required web space and bandwidth. Different bandwidths and web spaces are available within personalas well as business web hosting. The required web space is more or less predictable by looking at the files you would like to put on-line, but the required bandwidth is much less certain. This is because the required bandwidth depends greatly on the amount of visitorsyou will receive which, on its own, depends on erratic behaving phenomena like popularity, linking, media, social networks and so on. Therefore, at first, you should just try to follow your instincts. Hobbyists start betting low, businessmen start betting high.
After all, the worst thing that could happen to a hobbyist is an unnecessary expensive personal hosting contract. Site downtime is of less concern. Therefore, hobbyists should choose cheap offers and start expanding their hosting packets when service or uptime is insufficient. Some providers even offer monthly expansion. On the other hand, when one owns a company and wants to offer his or her customers a reliable source of information, bandwidth and uptime are much more important than a low hosting price. So in the first few years the businessman experiences some overhead. He can use this time to collectthe bandwidth data that is needed to make better estimations of prospective visitor trafficand thus, of the optimal hosting packet size.
An example of a website control panel (Cpanel).
Once choices have been made regarding hosting type, web space and bandwidth, the time has come to have a look at the accessories. Usually, services are available that allow customers to check which domain names are already taken and which ones are still vacant, accompanied by pricing, ordering options and so on. Some providers even offer domain names for free. But there’s also webmail, front page, spam filters, backup utilitiesand more. If you want to use RenovatioCMS however, you will require PHP, MySQL andFTP support. Most hosting providers will support PHP5 and MySQL5. A databasemanagement tool like PHPMyAdmin and a decent control panel like Cpanel orDirectAdmin, also might come in handy.
If you have acquired a suitable hosting packet with corresponding domain name(s), you will probably have access to some kind of control panel that lets you (among other things) create databases and FTP accounts. Sometimes hosting providers will do this for you. In the end however, regardless of the means, you should end up having login datafor an FTP account. This will allow you to upload your files to your web server using an FTP client. Moreover, you should acquire login data for a MySQL database for RenovatioCMS to store its dynamic data. If you’re not sure about these matters, you should ask your hosting provider (possibly even before placing an order). The required data is listed below:
Login data FTP account:
- The hostname (usually the domain name that accompanies the hosting packet).
- The account’s login name.
- The account’s password.
- The default server access port (usually port number 21 or 22).
- When present, the type of safety measures.
Login data MySQL database:
- The hostname (usually “localhost”).
- The name of the database.
- The login name of an account that has sufficient access to this database.
- The account’s password.
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