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Host with the Most: Web Design Hosting
Michalis 'BIG Mike' Kotzakolios

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The most common question posed by web page publishing neophytes is "Where the heck do I put my page when I'm done?" Just because you have created a web page and you have an Internet connection doesn't mean your page is automatically a part of the web. The reasons for this are mind-numbingly technical, but the basic idea is that people on the Net have no way of "getting to" your computer and, even if they did, your computer isn't built to hand out documents (such as web pages) to visitors who ask for them.

Computers that can do this are called servers (because they "serve" stuff), and computers that specialize in distributing web pages are called web servers. So, to get to the point, your web page isn't on the web until you store it on a web server. Because these computers are in effect, playing "host" to your pages, such machines are also called web hosts. Companies that run these web hosts are called web design hosting providers.

A web design hosting service provides the server space where the files that make up a web site reside. A server is just a computer that runs software that serves your pages to those who view them. If your site is large, these computers must be powerful, must run almost all the time, and must be connected to the Internet with a multiple redundant lines. For a smaller-scale site, a server can be relatively underpowered; if your site doesn't consume a lot of bandwidth, it doesn't even need a fast connection, but it still must run almost all the time. Whichever category you fall into, shop around for your web design hosting service and thoroughly check references. Learn to differentiate between a sales pitch and a true commitment.

To get your site online, it's necessary to sign up with a web design hosting service provider. This typically means paying a one-time set up fee, plus an ongoing monthly charge to the provider, which also varies greatly based on your needs and what services are offered. Some web design hosting service providers charge a flat monthly fee as low as $5 per month, but bill you for additional services, such as tech support, maintenance, or updating. If your online business will be handling credit card transactions, it will be necessary to use a provider offering secure transactions.


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