As what I had promised at my previous article, here is the article about what is web hosting.
“So, is the web hosting I purchased looks like pictures at above?”
You dream on lar! Those are servers, a web hosting is just part of the hard disk space inside the server only lar!
Ok, here is some detail explanation on what is web hosting.
Domain name is just like your house address. And it is not free. You have to pay for it every year, just like paying “Cukai Pintu”.
While web hosting is the house. And you also need to pay for the house rental. The only different is, real house address cannot be change to another house, but website’s domain name can be point to another server.
Many people think that if buy web hosting, means will also have the domain name also. This is actually not true. It is a separate service, but usually web hosting company sell both domain name and web hosting to you as a package. But I can tell you, it is not safe to buy this type of package. Lets say if you not satisfy with the web hosting service, and want to change to another web hosting company, you will be very hard to do so as these web hosting company will not release the domain name back to you, so you will either have to buy another domain for your new website and losing all the existing traffics, or you will have to stay with them.
So it is better to purchase a domain name and web hosting separately, where you only need to point the domain name to another web hosting server once you have transfered the files and database from the old server to the new server.
For domain name service, usually there is nothing for you to not satisfy about as it is just a location pointing service where it will not related with the quality of the server.
Web hosting servers usually looks like the pictures as above. Usually these servers is running on Linux. Apache, FTP server software, PHP and MySQL database system is usually installed into the server for processing websites in order to be viewable. Often there is also web hosting control panels such as cPanel or DirectAdmin in order to give access for the customer to control their own account for upload website, add domain name etc.
So when you buy a web hosting account, you are actually buying the hard disk space and allocated traffic limit from the web hosting company. You might think that it is not fair for paying money for the hard disk space, but the truth is, the electric, the Internet connection, the server hardware and the datacenter rental is very very expensive. So what we are buying are actually very worth compare to the total operating cost.
So how does it work?
When you point your domain name from the domain name control panel, you are actually pointing to the server’s name server which it will be looks like ns1.lanciaohosting.com and ns2.lanciaohoting.com. The name server host name is actually work like a domain name that pointed to the hosting server’s IP address. When you hit yourdomain.com, the traffic is actually redirected to the server, and the server will check the domain name record and redirect you to the folder where your files located via a host name resolver called bind9. Before the server able to recognize the domain name, you have to add the domain name in your web hosting control panel.
You actually no need to know about this. What you need to know is just point the domain name to the NS server and add the domain name under your web hosting control panel. Then upload the files or setup the website script such as blog programs, then your website will be running.
What criteria you need to aware of about a web hosting service?
1st, is the operating system of the server. If the server is running on Windows Server operating system, it is not good. Why? Windows servers is not as stable as Linux/Unix servers, plus PHP and MySQL run better on Linux/Unix servers. 90% of the web programs running on the Internet nowadays is on PHP and MySQL such as WordPress(a self hosted blog program).
2nd, The web hosting company reputation. You should read the reviews of other web hosting account owner before you buy a web hosting account. But nowadays, a lot of reviews is fake and they are actually paid to write such reviews. So reviews is no longer trustworthy anymore. The best is to ask your friend who already used a lot of web hosting service about the comments, or try those service yourself one by one. Anyway, some of those web hosting service that never heard before is actually very good compare to those famous web hosting company. No offense, a famous Malaysia web hosting named Exabytes is a very reputable web hosting company, but recently they are not as reliable as before. This is the comment from a few of my friends who are using their service. I’m not sure how true is that, so to Exabytes, don’t take action on me as I just telling what my friends told me.
3rd, The price and specification. Most of you might think that web hosting package that comes with huge disk space and large amount of bandwidth with cheap price is a good deal. I can tell you that it is wrong. Most of the time, expensive web hosting package which lower disk space and less bandwidth allocated is much more safe. The reason is, you can make sure that they didn’t oversell the resources of the server. When the price is expensive, means they allocated less account on a single server. Less account means more server resource for everyone to use and the server will not be too lagging or slow. Avoid those “Unlimited disk space and bandwidth” packages, it is clearly shown that they are overselling everything. There is nothing such as unlimited hard disk space on a server as hard disk do have limit. No matter they are using clustering technology or anything, there will be a limit. Usually these type of unlimited web hosting accounts is very unreliable and always lag when you try to access to the website. Most of the time, these “unlimited” web hosting company will suspend your account when you use too much server resources. So these type of web hosting service is not a good choice.
4th, Company history. The longer the company is in the business, the more trustworthy they are. There is a lot of new web hosting company started nowadays, most of then are overselling while they do not have that much of resources. They sell with extremely cheap price and at last, they will have no choice but to close down due to they are loosing money. Usually those who already very long in the business will be much more safe as you do not need to afraid after you paid for 1 year, then the company suddenly close after a few month. Those who are already very long in the business usually the price of their web hosting package is not cheap, this is why I said expensive web hosting package with lower spec is better. Usually, web hosting companies that already operate 2 years is already good enough to trust them. But still, you need to beware that some of these old companies will also oversell their web hosting service, and the hosting account you get might be not as good as you expect. So don’t be a victim of their monopoly wars, they want to kill other opponents, just let them, don’t take those packages they offer during their wars. It is very easy to see, their normal packages is much more expensive then their “Promotional” packages. Don’t take these promotional packages, just take their normal packages which they will allocate you to a better server. If they have coupon number for you to use for buying their normal packages, then just use the coupon, it is safe.
5th, Specification. Although you need to concern about higher price with lower specs is good, but still, it is better to compare a few web hosting company before you buy. If one of the web hosting company’s package price is slightly lower than the others with similar specs, take that one. If it is far too much cheaper then the others, don’t take, it is dangerous, they might be bankrupt at the next month. Usually 1GB disk space is sufficient when you buy a web hosting account. It is for the database and the website files only, so it is not necessary to buy until as big as your hard disk on your desktop where you keep your movies and mp3. If you only use it for blogging, 300MB or 500MB disk space with about 10GB bandwidth is already enough for you, unless you are a very very very famous blogger. Normally, you will not even able to use until up to 1GB bandwidth for your blog, if you upload the videos to youtube and pictures to photobucket etc.
As you can see, this article is mainly to provide information to bloggers use only. The reason is, most of the web hosting customer nowadays is bloggers who wanted to run their blog with full control. If you intend to run a intensive websites like your own youtube or an active forum, the spec of the web hosting you need will be obviously much higher. You might need a whole VPS or server for your own website without sharing any resources with other web hosting users. But it will be something much more complicated, so I will not talk much about it now unless there is someone request me to write about it.
Anyway, if you intended to find web hosting service, you can always email me or MSN me at [email protected] to ask about it. I can recommend you some good web hosting company with reasonable price.