Web Host Tutorial







What is a Web Host?

A web host stores your web site and transmits it to the internet for you.  To put a web site on the internet you need three things: a domain name, a web site and a web host account. 

How it works is that your domain name points to your web host's server which is  where your site is physically housed.  When someone types in your domain name, the computer looks to the domain record to see where it should go to find your site.  It then goes there and gets it.  Here is what you should know:  

Domain Names

A domain name is your address on the web.  It's the information that customers type in to find your website.  It's what comes after the www. in www.domain.com  The domain name for this site is webhosttutorial.com. 

Don't buy your domain name from your web host.  A lot of web hosts will offer to sell you a domain name with your web host account or will suggest you transfer your domain to them.  Although it seems easier to keep them together, don't do it.  You should always keep your domain names with a domain name registrar. 

Why?  Because this way you will always control your domain name.  If you let your web host register your name for you, they control it.  If the host turns out to be lousy, you won't be able to go to another web host until your current web host releases your domain.  If you're leaving they have no incentive to release your domain name and some hosts drag their feet and keep it hostage.  I've heard some real horror stories of bad hosts taking weeks or months to release a domain name. 

If you have access to your domain account it will take you less than 5 minutes to change your domain name to a new host.  Basically, it's just a lot safer and less hassle to keep them separate.  Plus, you won't pay as much.  Web hosts mark up their domain prices.

The domain registrar I use is Act Now DomainsI think they are super.  They only charge $12.75 for 1 year domain registrations which is cheap, they have great customer service and they are really easy to use.  I have over 45 domain names and all of them are there. 

Please note:  it IS okay to keep your web hosting account with your domain registrar because you control your domain account.  Act Now Domains has really reliable web hosting and they are cheap so if you want to keep your hosting and domain together use them. 

Some web hosts give free domain names with their accounts - I strongly suggest that you do NOT get one this way.  I love free stuff, but a "free" domain can end up being bad news for you.  Some web hosts that give free domains retain ownership of the domain.  This means that if you don't like their service and want to go elsewhere you can't because you would be leaving your domain behind.  In other words, you're stuck. 

Other hosts that provide "free" domains will let you take the domain with you when you leave but you have to pay them for it.  The fees I've seen for this run anywhere from $35-$100.  In my opinion, it's just safer to buy the domain yourself from a registrar like Act Now Domains so that way no one can hold "your" domain hostage.

Building your Web Site

To build your web site you are going to need web site building software.  You will need to decide whether you want to use a web host's site builder or use your own.   Your choice will affect the web host you choose since some web hosts provide a web site builder and others don't.

I usually recommend that if you are new to web hosting or fairly new that you select a web host that has a site builder and use it.  The reason is that a software program like Front Page (the most popular site building program) is expensive and complicated to learn.  You can always move up to it later but it's hard to start out with it.

One thing to be aware of though - if you use the web host's site builder it's even more important than it normally is to make sure you go with a good host.  Since your site is built with your web host's software you won't be able to take it with you and make changes if your host turns out to be bad.

The web host I recommend with a site builder is iPowerWeb.  They are a great host and their site builder is really easy to use.  They only offer one package and it's loaded with a lot of free web site goodies.  Plus, they are cheap.     

Okay, now let's look at how to choose a good web host and avoid a lousy one..

Click here for: How to Choose a Good Web Host


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