Hosting services are required to allow web pages to be viewed on the World Wide Web. Large companies may host web services on their own servers, but for most businesses and individuals the best option is to use hosting service. There are many different companies that provide hosting services. Below are a list of criteria that may be used to evaluate which company could host your web pages.
Domain registration - companies that provide server hosting often offer other services such as the ability to register a personal or business domain name. See WebLocate.info Domain Registration pages. Before creating a web site, it is important to register a meaningful and memorable domain name. The cost of hosting services may include the cost of registering a domain name. UK based domain names (e.g. xyz.co.uk) are cheaper than USA or global domain names (e.g. xyz.com). Domains may be transferred from one hosting service to another, but there will be a transfer cost.
Storage costs - normally based on the amount of storage required. The smallest allocation is normally 10MB, but 100MB or more may be required for larger or more complex web sites.
Bandwidth costs - based on the amount of data read from the server hosting the web pages. This is normally measured in GB per month, and is normally only a factor for frequently accessed commercial sites.
Availability - is normally measured as the percentage of the time availiable for use. A good target is 99% availability.
Capacity - will be important for larger sites, where the number of users (hits) could be high during peak times of usage.
Hosting software - can based on UNIX servers or Windows NT servers. The target server will often be decided by the tool used to develop the web pages. UNIX servers are generally cheaper and faster than Windows NT servers. Additional software may be required for Front Page extensions or Access database on a Windows NT server.
E-Mail accounts - often provided with with hosting services. POP3 accounts allow E-Mail to be picked up through a web based interface. Often there are facilities to auto-forward E-Mails from the domain to a personal account or to a business account.
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