hosting your website & domains
Rather than provide my own hosting I recommend you use external companies that specialise in this service.
Hosting and ISP services require specialist expertise and considerable investment in hardware, software and staffing to provide a professional level of service.
Advantages of specialist hosting services:
- Excellent value for money
- You retain independent access to your domain name (url) and web account
- Professional service from a company dedicated to website hosting and ISP services - this can often mean very useful hosting extras, such as professional site statistics (web stats)
- Risk spread - keeping your design and hosting services separate is good business practice - if one fails the other should not
- 24/7 access to online support if your site goes offline (depending on which hosting company you use)
I and many of my customers use www.vidahost.com. Typical costs for hosting and a dedicated email account (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org) are in the region of £29.00 per year. For £59.00 per year you can obtain accounts that you are unlikely to fill and unlikely to ever exceed the bandwidth!
Naturally I can use your preferred hosting company - there is no pressure or need to host with EUKHost. Naturally I can not accept any liability for any hosting company's ongoing quality of service; I recommend EUKHost only as a courtesy!
Linux or Windows hosting?
Most websites are hosted on Linux servers which are often less expensive than Windows servers. The difference depends on which technologies you need to run. I prefer Linux where possible simply because I have reliable scripts that work better on these servers.
Dedicated or shared hosting?
Most websites are on shared hosting. This means your website is one of many on the same computer (server) hard drive. Dedicated servers are for very large sites where the web master needs access to the server's operating system for specialist application programming. They also offer more security. If an application on a shared server crashes the server then all of the sites go offline! All of my work is on shared hosting and most of the internet's websites are on shared hosting.
Hosting account size and bandwidth (traffic)
The amount of space your account will require depends entirely on what you intend to host. Most websites fit comfortably on 20mb. If you have many videos or mp3s, or wish to use ftp (file transfer protocol) to send and receive very large files you'll be needing 500mb upwards of space.
Traffic or bandwidth is the amount of data that passes through your website per month. If the size of your site is 10mb and 1000 people view all of the pages in one month then the traffic will be 10Gb. Most visitors don't view all of the site, but when it comes to file downloads (such as video, audio, demo programs etc) bandwidth needs to be taken into consideration. I am happy to advise..
There is nothing to stop you registering your domain name now, even if you are still only contemplating a website.
Please note that domain names are not case sensitive, must not include special characters (such as £ $ &) and spaces are not allowed. For spaces use a dash e.g. my-domain.
Potential issues with Hosting
Please be aware that some smaller design agencies offer what appears to be their own dedicated hosting. Often they have re-seller accounts which are hosted with the same companies you can host with directly. They have one account under which 25 sites may be hosted. It is a means by which a web designer can make a small profit selling on a hosting account to you. There is nothing wrong with this practice, however you should be aware that in some cases you may not be able to gain full access to your domain or server account.
I advise that you always retain independent access to your domain name account. I take several calls a year from potential clients who are having trouble moving their domain names. If you've fallen out with your current web designer (it happens, sadly) and they registered the name for you then you'll need their authority and help to point the name to a new server.
All of my customers have full access to both their domain and hosting accounts, including the ability to change access passwords.