I was asked by a student at Dakota State University about hosting and getting his content on the internet. Since I remember having to do just this and picked some bad services, I’ll fill him in on what I recommend now a days.
Get your domain
Getting your domain name is both a painful and painless experience. I personally use DirectNic. My brother uses Network Solutions. A lot of people use GoDaddy! too. You’ll need to know your Domain Name Server but that can be done at a later time. So we’ll move on to step 2.
First off, what are your requirements and technologies you must have. I’m not talking about operating system here, I’m talking what do you need for what you want to run. For me, I run Subtext so I need a server that can run ASP.Net and a SQL Server. If I ran Wordpress, I would need a server that runs MySQL and PHP. If you use AWstat, you’ll need Perl. You may be saying, PHP and MySQL are Linux but they run just fine under Windows Server with no performance hit.
Based on these needs, you move on to the next stage.
Who to charge me money!
Now it is time to pull out your wallet or open up your purse (you may have a murse).
I run under Applied Innovations for my hosting needs and love them. They are the first hosting service I’ve had where I’ve not had downtime. When I have a question, I get a response almost instantly too.
I have a few friends that run off Dream Host also and love their service.
Ask your friends who they run and if they are happy with them. The three hosting services I had were horrid. My site would constantly go down.
So many options, I’m afraid Billy
VPS, Dedicated, Shared Hosting, … the list is huge of options and can be overwhelming.
Here is a quick breakdown of the most common.
- Shared Hosting
Chances are 90% of small sites are actually this. For most people, this is fine, however if someone brings up an application that maxes out the server, you’ll be effected.
- Virtual Private Server (VPS)
It is a virtual machine that you control. The hosting provider set up dedicated amounts of resources for you that you alone have access to. If you need to go in and tweak something, more power to you.
- Dedicated Server / Co-Location
This is very much like a VPS solution, but it is also one of the most expensive. Some services will you ship in your server also (co-lo).
This service allows you to host multiple people and domains as if you were the actual hosting company. I’ve used this option to host multiple domains as it was cheaper instead of service per domain. From what I’ve seen in the past, everything lives on a shared hosting platform.
I totally need 5 terabytes of bandwidth
Sorry, you don’t right off the bat. Unless you plan on getting hit by the slashdot effect or dugg, you don’t need it. I would actually base my purchase off how much disk space I need along with how many databases I’d need. If you don’t need email, don’t account for space there. If you use flickr for images, then don’t calculate that in. I would go so far as to say the average person would need under 250mb of disk space. Plan for the future but don’t get the $250 dollar package if can use the $9 package.
Domain Name Servers (DNS)
Now that you have your service provider, you’ll go back to your Domain name purchaser and put in the DNS information. Once this is done, when an end user puts in your domain, let us say, http://betterthaneveryone.com , it will resolve the server’s IP to that domain name.
That *should* be everything you need to know.