So you want to start a career in web design but don’t know what to do. Over the coming weeks I will give you some excellent valuable tips, tutorials and resources to get you started from the very beginning. I will first start with a newbies guide to web hosting and the various types of hosting on offer.
Types of Web Hosting on Offer
There are many types of web hosting on offer the most common being Linux and Windows with Linux Hosting being more popular due to it being open source and generally free. Linux is known to be more stable and secure however no system can ever be 100% secure. There is a big debate by fans of both as to which is the best but I am going to dispute whether Linux servers are better than Windows as I don’t feel it’s the right place although my personal preference veers towards Linux Hosting.
Hosting- Pay for it or not
I asked myself this question several times myself years ago. Do you go for free hosting, remote hosting or local hosting and what is the difference?
Free hosting can come in many forms. Some hosting companies offer some free web space and even a free domain but there may be limitations such as a low capacity web space, minimal bandwidth, forced advertisements and may not come with scripting languages like PHP or a MySQL database which are widely used in websites for polls, reviews, ratings and of course blogs. Another form of free hosting are hosted blogs like wordpress.com and Google Blogger. These again have the same limitations as above but may also constrict you to use certain themes and plugins with no ability to edit them to suit your needs.
Another disadvantage to free hosting is that you may also have to use a sub-domain, so for instance if I offered you some free web hosting for a website, let’s call it izzy (Named after my cat) your URL would look like this izzy.worldoweb.co.uk and if you were to use wordpress.com your url would look like izzy.wordpress.com. Blogging companies do have upgrades and paid features, like premium themes and your own domain name, which may suit your needs. I am not saying that this is not beneficial but if you want your site to look professional, unique and would like to rely on server side technologies like PHP and MySQL then I wouldn’t recommend this option.
Remote hosting is where you pay, generally monthly or yearly to use a provider to host your files for you. In this example we will use shared hosting as a cost effective solution. Shared hosting implies that the server is shared by many people, hosting many websites, thus making it more affordable for personal and small business websites. The advantage to this is that you have your own domain name, the above example would be izzy.co.uk.
Hosting companies also offer WordPress hosting, if you didn’t already know is a extremely popular Content Management System or CMS for short which is used for blogging. The only difference between the 2 types of hosting is that WordPress comes pre-installed and pre-configured on the server ready for you to start blogging, it may also have a selection of custom built plugins available for you to use, that are not available via WordPress itself. The creators have made WordPress really simple to install but if you are a little scared of configuring and installing WordPress yourself then WordPress hosting is for you.
Local hosting is where you host the files on your own computer, spare computer or server. This can be troublesome and expensive to set up, especially if you just want to build your own website to show of your artwork or business. You would have to either buy a server or leave your computer switched on at all times and eating all of your available RAM and CPU. I don’t recommend this option as it could cause a major security risk especially if you struggle to keep your computer updated!
Finding the Right Package
Now you are a little more clued up on the various types of hosting there is on offer you may want to find the right package for you. There are so many hosting companies to choose from you ask yourself “Which One?” Of course you can use search engines and click on the one that comes at the top or you could simply use a company that finds the best website hosting service for you which will no doubt save you time and money!
Finding the Right Domain Name
Finding the right domain name to associate your particular product or brand, ie your website or business can be really difficult. Domains should generally be short, catchy, easy to pronounce and spell and must not violate trademarks. I wouldn’t want to start my own computer manufacturing business and call it samsung-apple-industries.com! If you want to know more about domain names then there is an excellent article on Smashing Magazine about The Effective Strategy for Choosing Right Domain Names which is a few years old but still very relevant.
There are other forms of web hosting out there like E-commerce, Green, Reseller, VPN, dedicated and cloud hosting but as this is a newbie guide and you are just starting these options may not be suitable for your requirements.
Shared hosting, as I say, is beneficial to those who want to run a small website or blog. The next post in this series will help you decide whether you want to design your own personal site, install a blog or use templates.