What Is Web Hosting?

Many businesses, from one-man-bands to multi-national corporations, have a web-presence these days. i.e. They have a website telling their customers about their companies: what they do, where they're based, their company history, how they're different from their competitors, etc. Many of these businesses also sell products and/or services online.

If you own a business and wish to have a presence in cyberspace, then you need to consider buying a package from a web hosting company.

Web hosting refers to the process of renting computer space and bandwidth (data transfer capacity) from a company so that you can make your website visible to the outside world.

Put simply, you buy an allocated space on a computer from a hosting company, then transfer the files of your website to this computer. Your website then becomes available to users around the world, and this enables them to browse your website, as well as download files and buy products and services from you.

Domain Name

First of all, you need to choose a domain name for your website. A domain name is simply an address for your website. Examples are www.microsoft.com and www.yahoo.com. Avoid choosing a domain name which is too long or too complicated for users to remember.

Design Your Website

There are three ways to get your website designed:

1. You can do it yourself. There are many website authoring software packages available on the market. Two popular packages are Microsoft Frontpage and Macromedia Dreamweaver. With these programs, you can design and edit your web pages easily and see instantly how they will look to the users.

2. Some companies offer an easy way for you to create your website by providing templates for you to choose from. With this type of service, all you have to do is choose a layout from a number of pre-defined templates, select some color, font and graphics options, enter some text, and you'll end up with a decent-looking website.

3. Get a web design company to do it for you. This is the most expensive option but you will end up with a more professional and stylish website, looking exactly the way you want it to look.

Getting a web host

Now that you have chosen your domain name and have designed your website, you need to find a web hosting company.

There are thousands of hosting companies out there. Search the web for a company with a good reputation and offers the kind of services you need. Friends may be able to recommend a reputable company. We recommend .

Next, select a web hosting package to suit your needs and sign up for an account. Usually you'll pay for the hosting service by credit card online. If you have not already registered your domain name elsewhere, you'll have the option to do so with your hosting company.

Once payment has been processed, you'll receive a confirmation email with details about your hosting package. Take some time to read this email carefully as it contains information on how to log on to your hosting account.

Next you'll have to upload all the HTML pages, graphics and other files on to your web space. This can be done via the control panel on your website, or by using an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) program such as CuteFTP.

Now that your website is online, users from around the world will be able to view it, so make sure that the information it contains (such as your email address and telephone number) is up-to-date. This is particularly important if you will be using your website to sell products and services.

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