What is a Host ?

A website host is a company that leases space on their web server(s), for the purpose of putting a website on it (domain).  These host servers are specifically setup for providing the fundamental needs of any website. This could include getting an SSL Certificate to provide on-line shopping, PHP for server side functions, Databases online inventory, Emails and the list goes one.

Host IconYou could think of a "website Host", providing the same kind of services that a cell phone carrier does, except the services are related to hosting a website. You look for a host that provides the services and coverage that is important to you. Perhaps your top bullet is for your website to be available 24/7 from anywhere, at any time.  Maybe its support or specific features that the host provides. Once a host has been chosen, then you need to pick one of the service plans they are offering.

You'll find that for the most part, all hosts offer pretty much the same things, just different prices, services and there may be different features between them.

From a business perspective, you want the host to be available 24/7. From a developer perspective, you want a host that responds quickly to any problems with hosting your website. This comes back to support your desire for the website to be up 24/7.

At this point you have a domain name and host, but how will anyone know your website is out there?  This is where SEO comes into play.


Some Host "Features"

Domains & SubDomains

Maintain the domains DNS Settings, Email Accounts, SSL Certificates ( https:// ) and more. This is where you can create a new domain or sub-domain. Once the domain is created, you can "Park" the domain, meaning the domain is not active.

  • Hosted Domain - Manage hosted domains - Edit NS, Whois, etc.
  • Registered Domains - Register and transfer domains.
  • Park Domains - Park or manage parked domains.
  • DNS Records - Edit NS Set A, CNAME, SRV Records...
  • Dedicated IP - Add a dedicated IP Address (Required for VPN)
  • SSL Certificates - Set encrypted connections on your sites (https://)

Databases

Websites use databases for retaining customer information (sign-in, addresses, credit card information, order history...). It can also be used for online inventory, blogs, and pretty much anything that you need your website to retain or keep track of for you. Some of the databases found on a host are:

  • MySQL Database - Setup and Manage
  • MySQL Stats - Monitor MySQL Stats

Advanced Configurations

These are settings outside of the website itself and are more related to the domain and host server settings. Some of the things that can be configured are:

  • PHP Configuration - PHP Settings
  • Cron Jobs - Manage Scheduled/Automated Jobs (billing)
  • Outgoing Connections - Manage outgoing connections
  • ModSecurity - Web Application Firewall
  • VPN Access - Manage VPN access point
  • Password Protection - Protect pages, folders or entire site
  • IP Blocking - Blocking IP Address or Ranges
  • Other Options - Settings for Other features

Email

Email is one of the features the host provides for your domain. The host package chosen, usually determines the number of emails included with the account. Here are some things that could be offered.

  • Mailboxes - Manage Mailboxes
  • Filters - Filter incoming emails based on rules
  • Forward Emails - Redirect emails from one mailbox to another
  • Spam - Enable anti-spam protection for your mailboxes.
  • Mailing Lists - Manage Global Address Book & Distribution Lists
  • Web Access to Email - Control accessing mailboxes from webmail.

Files

First and foremost will be your website files. As your site evolves, you will need to create, update and delete pages from your website. This would include picture, images, PDF documents and any other files that you need to store for your website.

  • Manage Files - Copy, Move, Delete, Upload, Download, Archive files.
  • FTP Accoutns - Manage and setup FTP Accounts
  • Remote Backups - Remote backups for websites & databases
  • Available Backups - available backups for your account

Web Tools

Some hosts provide tools to assist the web developer in managing and developing websites.

  • Website Installer - Install a brand new site
  • Application Installer - Install blogs, forums, galleries, CMS
  • Installed Applications - Manage installed web applications
  • Frameworks Installer - PHP frameworks
  • Free Themes - Themes for applications
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