BEFORE YOU BEGIN
1 About HTML
20 Explore GeoCities
Before you can start building your website, you need to find a home for it. A web- hosting service will house your web pages, and offer you help and tools in building and maintaining it. A good one will also offer extras such as graphics you can use, and even website-designing software. There are many hosting services you can use, ranging from ones provided by your Internet service provider (ISP) to free hosting services to those that charge you a monthly fee.
Hosting service A service that will let you post your pages to it, and keep all your pages on its server, so that people can visit it.
When people visit your website, they're actually visiting a web servera computer on the Internet that delivers web pages. You get your web page site to a web server by uploading it from your computer, where you created it, to the server, where other people can visit it. When a web server houses a website, it's called hosting a site. A server frequently has more than a single website on it, and so it can host many sites at a single time.
A web-hosting service is a company that houses websites . There are many different kinds of services, offering many different levels of service. Before you can build a website, you need to find a service to host your site. Although there is a wide variety of different services, there are generally three hosting services from which you'll choose:
Your own ISP Almost every ISP, including America Online, includes web hosting as part of its basic service. Often, this hosting is bare bones, and offers little beyond the most basic features, but sometimes ISPs have more substantial offerings as well.
A free web-hosting service such as Yahoo! GeoCities These services frequently offer many kinds of extra features, such as web-based site-building tools and extra storage. In return, you might have to agree to put advertising on your website. For more information about building pages on Yahoo! GeoCities , see 20 Explore GeoCities .
A for-pay hosting service, such as Verio.com These kinds of services give you a lot of storage space for your website, make sure that visitors can get high-speed access to your site, offer solid technical support, and might have many different extras, such as prebuilt "shopping carts" for people who want to build sites that let visitors buy items.
Which service you choose will depend on your needs, and your pocketbook. In general, though, unless you're building a site for a business, there's usually no need to spend money for a hosting service.
Here are the basic things you'll look for in a hosting service:
How reliable is it ? In other words, can people reach your site or is it frequently down? And when people reach it, will the web pages be delivered with reasonable speed? There's only one way to check this out: Visit sites that the service hosts and see if they're alive or dead, and if they're delivered in a timely way.
How much storage space do you get ? You'll need space to store your website. The HTML pages themselves don't take up a lot of space because they're only text files, which tend to be small. But graphics and multimedia files such as music files can take up a great deal of space, so find out how much storage space you'll need. Sometimes, at an ISP for example, you might only get about 10MB of storage space. That small amount of storage space often doesn't go far, so try to opt for more. More is always better.
When checking to see how much storage space you'll get on a hosting service, ask whether that amount of space has to accommodate email messages stored on the email server. Some hosting services give you an email box, and the storage space you get for your website might be less than you think because it will have to accommodate your email messages as well. Note that you'll only have to pay for email that is actually on the mail server. After your email software connects to the mail server, it downloads it, and the email won't take up any server storage space. Still, check before deciding on a hosting service.
How much bandwidth do you get ? When people come to your site, they download web pages and other information from the server to their computers. The amount of information downloaded this way is referred to as bandwidth . Most hosting services allow you a certain amount of bandwidth, and then start charging after that. Often, you'll get several gigabytes per month, which is more than enough for most personal sites. But if you are building a site for a non-profit group or a business, you might need more than that, so find out how much you'll be charged for bandwidth above a certain amount.
What kind of technical support is offered ? When building and publishing a website, you can run into countless complications. So you'll want good technical support from your web-hosting service, if at all possible. How to find out if technical support is good? Before you sign up, call the technical support number and see how long you're put on hold, or else send an email and see how long it takes before you get a response. If you're on hold a long time or it takes a long time to get a response, you'll know the technical support leaves much to be desired.
How easy is it to publish your site ? Ask the hosting service how you'll publish your website. At most hosting services, it should be straightforward and easy, but you should check before you sign up.
To publish a website, you upload it from your computer to your web-hosting service. In order to upload, you'll usually be given a password and username, as well as the location of the directory to which you're going to upload. Keep all that information in a safe place, because without it, you won't be able to publish your site.
What kind of extras are offered ? Some sites offer shopping cart software, others offer features to specifically work with certain page-creation software such as Microsoft FrontPage, and still others might give you several email inboxes. Check out the extras before you order.