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How to Start a Website
Why do I need a Web Host?
A Web host is a company that stores and displays webpages for their customers. Web Hosts typically have many computers stored in a facility called a Data Center. These computers, called “Web Servers”, are configured specifically to allow web surfers to connect and view your web pages on the internet.
In order for others to view your website, your webpages must be stored on a Web Server, a Web Host offers you access to their Web Servers to allow you to store your webpages. Once your pages are stored on the Web Hosts' computers, they will be viewable by you and your visitors. The most common question is why can’t I just store my webpages on my computer? Well actually you can but you will need a high speed internet connection, a domain hosting service, web server software and the knowledge to do it. When it comes down to it a good hosting company will provide you with all the tools you need to store and display your webpages and have them up and running around the clock at a fraction of the cost. Different hosts provide many different services. The basic services that you will need to run a web site include the following:
Why do most people have a hosting account?
Most people think that you only need hosting if you want a website. Many people do purchase hosting to build a website for a home or small business idea or local community event, but there are many other reasons people need a host. Here are the most popular. Image Hosting- Many online users need a place to store images. They may have an EBay business or have pictures of family or just want to save their digital photos somewhere where they can always view them with friends or family by just typing in the address to their pictures in any browser. Email Hosting- For many reasons you may want your own email account. Most hosting comes with free email so if you purchase your name as a domain name you can have any email adress you like because you own the domain. For example you can choose to have email@example.com. Many of the free email accounts such as hotmail or yahoo mail have too little space or too much spam, with your own email hosting you can create and delete as many new emails as you need. If you are getting too much spam just create a new account. Data Backup – Many computer users want a way to back up the data of their main computer in case they receive a virus or hard drive failure. By hosting your data on a server you always have a backup of your whole computer and can download the data if you happen to loose your current data. Website Hosting – Everyone has an idea they have for a personal website such as a personal blog or some poems or just to post a history of their lives.
Business Hosting- New businesses need websites for extra exposure. Today a business needs to be online even with just directions or an executive summary. Many local businesses are also benefiting from globalization of the internet. Local Inns and specialty centers receive business from hundreds of miles away that they would normally not be considered for. Ecommerce Hosting – Almost everyone has an idea to sell something online. Ecommerce hosting specializes on providing a way for you to display your product and accept payment through the internet for both digital and physical goods. Ask qestions about ecommerce here
How do I know which hosting package is for me?
Finding a Web host these days is easy, but your choice will depend on your needs. Many hosts today advertise a low upfront monthly cost such as only $6 a month, but when you actually get to checkout you realize you need to purchase 24 months or more upfront to get this reduced price. If you want to do less than 24 months its $10 a month. In many cases they don’t even offer a monthly charge option. Pricing games by hosting companies like this are common and should be avoided.
All web hosts base their pricing on two very important factors:
Webspace is the amount of physical computer hard drive space you need to store your website, the images and email you get. Bandwidth is also space but it is more of a transfer space. Think of bandwidth as the traffic on a highway. If you are on a busy city highway you will have more cars on the highway than if you are on a country road. The bandwidth is the amount of times your webpages get served to your visitors, the more visitors you have and the larger your web pages are the more bandwidth you will use. If you are planning on putting up a basic personal homepage, you won't need too much of either web space or bandwidth.
If you are planning on putting up an e-commerce related site such as a jewelry site, or a more complicated type of page with special scripts or databases, then you will likely need a larger hosting package. Once you choose how much space and bandwidth you need you can choose a hosting package to fit your needs.
How do people type in a name and go to my site?
To do this you will need to reserve a domain name. A domain name is a special Internet address that you can register and purchase for your use only. For example, ‘bigbluehost.com' is a domain name that we have registered for our use. No one else can use that name and it gives us a unique and easy to remember web address. If you want to put a business online, your own unique domain is absolutely critical. Your Internet address is like your storefront sign; it should attract customers and help them find you. Plus, businesses listed under their own domain are viewed as being a lot more 'legitimate' than a business without a domain name.
There are other benefits to registering a domain name. You will usually have a 'custom' email address that matches your domain name. For example, if your domain name was ‘yourcompany.com’ then you could setup email addresses that looked like ‘firstname.lastname@example.org.
But, if you are putting up a personal homepage, a registered domain name is not really all that necessary. The Internet address provided by your Web Host will likely be more than sufficient. Many people register 'vanity domains' with their own name like 'johnsmith.com', or they have a site with a particular theme (like a fan club) and register a domain name that is related to that theme. Domain registration can cost as much as $40.00/yr, depending on if it is a .tv or other highly wanted domain name, but again we at bigbluehost.com offers this service at reduced cost to our customers starting at under $14 per year. Some of our hosting packages come with a free domain
How do I build my web pages?
Ok now you have the space to store your website and you have a name for your website now you will need to start building your web pages and upload them to our web servers. There are many different ways to build a website, you can learn basic html with an html tutorial . Or you can learn how to use an HTML editor such as Microsoft FrontPage or Dream weaver which are a little easier. There are also many places online that offer html templates to work from. Or you could have a professional designer create your website for you, we can build web pages for as little as $100 per page.
Where are my visitors?
Now that you have your name, and some web space and even a design you will need to market your site. This can be done in a variety of ways from free listings and exchanging links to purchasing banner ads and keywords in search engines. Marketing your site is an ongoing effort similar to bathing you can’t just do it once and be covered. You will need to submit your sites, we offer a search engine submission tool in our hosting control panel and then you will need to monitor your visitor statistics which we also provide with each hosting package.