Category Archives: Web Hosting

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Free hosting vs. paid hosting

Category : Web Hosting

Hosting means renting some space on a server connected to the internet. There are many hosting companies available and some offer hosting for free. Here are the main differences between a hosting offered for free and the paid one.

hosting

  • Domain or subdomain

    While domain cost is paid usually apart from hosting, but with free hosting you may be not able to use your purchased domain name. This depends on the server settings. With free hosting you may be limited into using a subdomain of the ISP. ie. mywebsite.freehosting.com. A caution here is if you used a free hosting that only offer subdomain then if you decided to move you will lose your subdomain as well so it is not recommended option at all.
    With paid hosting the support to use domain is common and not only single domains but adding more domains also is mostly supported.

  • Dedicated IP or Shared IP

    Having a dedicated IP means that your website only use this IP and no other website share this IP with you. Having a shared IP means many other websites use the same IP that is allocated to your website. In this case a web server (i.e. Apache) decides which website to serve using the HOST header in HTTP request which should indicates the domain of the requested website.
    Many paid hosting offer a dedicated IP either by default or for a small additional fee some thing like $2 a month. On the other side free hosting will not offer a dedicated IP mostly simply because IP space is limited and it cost them money to have the IP.
    While it is ok to not to have a dedicated IP but having a dedicated IP will give more professional attitude to your website also you should take care if your website has a shared IP because any action done by the websites sharing the IP with you can affect your website for example if some website is sending emails that resulted on the IP get blocked will get your website blocked as well because it is using the same IP.

  • Available space and bandwidth

    A Free hosting will give you a very limited space and bandwidth mostly because they want you to upgrade to their paid package when you are in short in space or bandwidth. Some thing around 1GB space and 10 GB bandwidth is very commonly to be offered by free hosts. So you should keep this in mind or you could suffer having your website suspended when it use up all of the available space or bandwidth.

  • Over selling

    Over selling means a web host offers space and bandwidth it does not actually has. While both free hosting and paid hosting ISPs can be over selling but free hosting ISP has more tendency to over sell. First reason is that it is not making money from hosting your website so it tends to sell more and more websites with no real available space or bandwidth which could result on having down times or network overloading. Other reason is that they want you to move to paid package which offers better speed and less downtime.

  • .htaccess enabled or disabled

    .htaccess file is a file to modify access configurations for apache server for the directory a .htaccess file placed inside. With .htaccess you can prevent or allow hotlinking, add compression headers, place redirects, use mod_rewrite to rewrite requested URLS on the fly and much more… While it is very handy to use it but for free hosting allowing it can have some risk because it means any one can use a lot of features allowed by .htaccess so free hosts tends to have this feature turned off.

  • Shell Access

    With shell access you can almost control the server that you are accessing. Actually even paid hosting tends to have SSH turned off because it impose a security risk however some famous paid hosting providers offer some kind of jailed SSH which means a SSH but in a sandboxed environment so any operation will not affect other users.

  • Security and Safety

    A free hosting means many other unknown users share the same server with you which is not acceptable in terms of security. While the most ideally secure environment is having either a VPS or dedicated hosting but paid hosting especially that offer paid panels like cPanel or Plesk mostly have acceptable security measures like using SuExec and PHPSuExec in effect. With PHPSuExec an ISP will be able to ensures that each directory and file have the right permission and correct owner information (i.e. not world accessible). Also with PHPSuExec a server admin can identify the abusing users and suspend or remove them. Also having antivirus in effect is another important security measure which is not likely to be included in a free hosting package.

  • Is PHP, MySQL and Apache are up to date?

  • Having software up to date is important for both convenience and security. Paid hosting control panels like cPanels offers automatic update for all the important server software. Since in a free hosting it is unlikely to have a paid control panel moreover the ISP does not make money out of their hosting plans so they mostly will not care on keeping up with latest software updates.

  • Is IP Blocked?

    A free hosting usually suffers from all kinds of abuses like sending SPAM mails, running fishing software, running pirated websites etc… As a result there is high risk that many IPs of the free hosting will be blocked already by major ISPS and mail hosts.

  • Ads on your website

    There is a common method for ISPs offering free hosting to make money is by injecting ads into your website. In fact if your website gains popularity you will be losing a big portion of money because without the free hosting ads you can put your own ads and monetize your website.

  • Support

    A free hosting will have tones of users without big money flowing to the company so do not expect a good support when your web site is down or when you have some issue with it.

  • Automatic Backup

    Many paid hosting providers offers automatic backups to ensure their customers best possible data safety. On the contrary do not expect a free hosting provider to backup the data for you.

  • Downtime

    Currently 100% uptime becoming the quality standard however with free hosting with tones of free users do not expect this quality standard to be in effect. So if you decided to go with free hosting you should expect some downtime.

  • Durability

    A free hosting provider faces large amount of fake accounts and inactive users. To keep their user base fresh there should be some mechanism of removing inactive users. As a result do not expect your website to be up and running for long if it is not getting any traffic. Many free hosting providers set a condition of having certain amount of monthly visitors to keep your website up and running on their host.


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Unmanaged Hosting VS Managed Hosting?

Category : Web Hosting

Shopping for a new hosting plan? Do you have to make the choice between managed hosting and unmanaged hosting.
Most of us use shared hosting where we do not come across the word “managed” at all. However if we are moving to a VPS or dedicated hosting the option to choose between managed and unmanaged will come up.

What is Unmanaged Hosting

Unmanaged hosting is a hosting plan with no or few additional services. With unmanaged hosting you may, for example, get simply a server with only an OS installed. This means that you’ll then need to install necessary software not nnly WordPress or Drupal but also Apache, MySQL and PHP

What is Managed Hosting

Managed hosting is a hosting plan that is made up of a number of various components beside the OS itself. Like cPanel or Plesk.
In addition, hosting companies also offer various services such as managing support, automated backups, malware scanning and removal, status monitoring, security sweeps, and more.

Key Differences Between Managed And Unmanaged Hosting

  • Price

    The price of a managed plan is much higher than of the same unmanaged one. However in case of unmanaged plan if you are stuck and you needed support you will have to pay hourly which will mostly surpass the saving you made by purchasing unmanaged hosting.

  • Support

    Unmanaged Hosting provide support only for H/W and OS problems including machine reboots and system reinstall. Any software installs, upgrades, configuration or backup should be done by you.
    On the other size managed hosting take care of almost every thing to get your website running including software installs, configurations, upgrades, backups and fixing pre-installed software.

What to choose unmanaged hosting or managed hosting?

Everyone is different so it is hard to give one fit answer for all people. Ask your self the following question to decide if unmanaged hosting or managed hosting is better for you.

  • Are you comfortable working with SSH?
  • Can you install and upgrade server software using SSH?
  • If some problem happened with your website. Are you able to trace access and error logs to identify the problem?
  • Is the price difference between managed and unmanaged hosting worth the time that you spend on unmanaged server?
  • Do you need a hosting control panel, such as cPanel or Plesk?

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How to start a website?

Category : Web Hosting , Webmastering

Here are the steps required to start a website from A to Z.

  1. Decide what you want to make:-

    There are overwhelming many types of sites that you can make. First it can be a business website or personal. Or it can be a blog or a website that contains articles. It may provide some service like hosting, domain registration. It can be a company portal. It can provide some kind of social networking similarly or integrated with facebook, twitter or instagram. And more and more …

  2. Decide how to make it:-

    First decide if you want it static (just a collection of HTML pages) or dynamic with a server side language like PHP, ASP, JSP, etc…
    If you choose to make a dynamic website you can either choose to use a CMS (Content Management System) to build your website or make it custom with or without a framework.
    Mostly using CMS will be best fit and will provide all of your “Content Management” needs with least cost and effort. There are many CMS available that suits different scopes and types of website. For example if you plan to run a blog then go with WordPress like this website, it is very easy and you can get your website running in few hours.
    If your website is a forum then go with phpBB it is free and open source and provide all of your forum needs.
    If your website is an online shop then go with osCommerce.
    If your website is more than a list of articles and will have a more complex functionalities then you can go far and use CMS like Drupal or Joomla. With Drupal or Joomla you can manage users and contents and have complex functionalities like search by features, user roles, custom contents and more. But bear in mind that with WordPress or PHPBB you can create your website your self easily but with Drupal and Joomla there is a probability that you will need to hire a technical person if you are not into the technical stuff because learning curve for Drupal or Joomla is longer than WordPress.
    There is the last option is to make your website without a CMS in this case you will need to have a programming skills or hire some persons who have. The most widely used language is PHP but you can choose JSP (Java server pages) or ASP (Active server pages) but bear in mind that each of them will require a different server and/or OS for example with PHP, it is mostly used with LAMP environment (Linux Apache MySQL and PHP). While with JSP you will need a server that supports JSP (i.e. Tomcat). Finally with ASP you will need a windows server with IIS working on it.

  3. Make the design or hire some one to make the design for you

    The design of your website is very important because a good design will create trust and guide visitors to take action. Also you have to keep in mind user friendliness because if users find it too hard to use your website they will just give up and stay away from your website. The design usually start with making PSD files using Photoshop then concerting them into HTML/CSS files.

    • If you are into design you can create the design your self using Photoshop or any other designing software.
    • If you are not into design there are alternative options like hiring some one to do the design for you.
    • Or, purchasing paid template.
    • Last resort is to use a free online template but keep in mind that other people also could be using the same template so your will lose uniqueness.

       

  4. Do the technical stuff

    If you are making a dynamic website then this is the step to transform your website from a static HTML pages into dynamic website. In this step you will need technical skills to make scripts that manipulate DB. If you choose to use an open source CMS like WordPress or Joomla then you will have to transform your HTML files into a theme or template loadable by the CMS. If you do not have technical skills to do this then either you can hire some one to do it for you or you can search for a supported theme from the start. Wordpess themes

  5. Register a domain

    Choose a meaningful yet reasonable short domain name is very essential for your business to work. The registration could from around $10 up to $30 a year.

  6. Rent a host

    This is the step to rent some online space to place your website on. Depending on your website size, expected traffic, required control you can choose either to go with shared hosting, VPS hosting or dedicated servers.

    • Shared Hosting

      Shared hosting provide you with the cheapest solution even there are some free packages available Free Hosting but it have bad side is that it your website will be hosted in a shared environment with other websites. You will have to make sure your website is not accessible by other users. Technically speaking, make sure your website have its owner and group name and no files with all access permissions (777) exception to that can be tmp or cache files. Other point to take care is the IP of your shared hosting, if you have a shared IP then your website will be sharing the IP with other websites check your website IP to make sure it is not blocked for SPAM or any other illegal stuff. Mochahost is a good and trustworthy shared hosting provider, consider trying it.

    • VPS Hosting

      If you do not like to go to the hassle of having your website in a shared environment then you can go with VPS hosting for a little extra money. VPS hosting hosting can start from as little as $7 a month up to $100 or more depending on the package that you choose. VPS Dime is a good VPS hosting company that provide a high RAM and space for a really cheap price. VPS Hosting

    • Dedicated Hosting

      Dedicated hosting gives you the most control and space for the price you pay however expect to pay at least $60 up to few hundred USD monthly. The packages can give you 500 GB space and around 4 GB RAM until several Tera bytes with as much as 32 GB of RAM. Just choose this option is your website is big enough and you expect high volume of traffic like several millions page view per month.

  7. Setup DNS

    DNS is short for “Domain name server” which means a server to lookup a domain name and return the corresponding IP. You will need this server to connect your domain name with the purchased hosting package or server. If you have choses shared hosting mostly this will be setup for you automatically however if you decided to go with VPS or dedicated hosting then you will need to make this your self. There are two options for you to use.

    1. Install and use a DNS server

      This option will give you most professional look because when someone lookup your domain DNS info. will find you have your own domain servers so but it requires many technical stuff and working through SSH which is out of scope of this article so unles you are going to run a hosting company it is advisable to use the next option. Note it you have ordered your VPS or dedicated server with control panel (i.e. cPanel) then the panel will provide you an easy way to configure your DNS server.

    2. Use free DNS Server

      This is the most trivial and easy solution to use. Many hosting providers offer free DNS also if you have purchased your domain name from GoDaddy they do offer a free DNS setup for your domain. Also they offer free e-mail package with the domain which is considered a complete domain solution to use.
      godaddy-dns

  8. Upload your website

    After purchasing your web hosting package you will receive a SSH or FTP connection information just use any free FTP client software to login and upload your website. notice some free providers do not offer FTP and offer only web based file manager which is not advisable to use because you will have hard time if you decided to move from them.

    You can use FileZilla it is free FTP/SFTP client tool which is easy to use.

    FileZillaPortable

  9. Configure and Create DB

    This is the step where you will use either PHPMyAdmin if available or SSH to create and import your database. Also you will need to write connection configuration into the proper file in your website.

  10. Make sure your website is accessible and working as expected

    Now your website is online and should working, just make sure it is working as expected by doing overall test on your website functions like user registration, sending mails etc…

  11. Monetize your website

    If you like you can add ads. to your website so you can make money out of it. The best and most trustworthy ads network available is google adsense. You can register and create ads in few steps. Google Adsense

  12. Setup Analytics

    This is an optional step, where you will do it to track the traffic and progress of your website. Google provide an easy to use analytics and we recommend using it. Google analytics
    google-analytics

  13. Do SEO and submit your website to Google and other search engines

    Although nowadays search engines will find your website without need to inform them explicitly but it is always better to do it your self also it will be a way to track the performance of your website at search and get free tips on imporoving your keywords and site contents. Below is a shot of google webmaster tools used to submit your website. You will need to verify your ownership of the domain name before accessing the webmaster tools features.

    search-impact
    Google webmaster tools

  14. Promote you website at social media

    Social media is very essential aspect of the nowadays internet and to ensure presence of your website on internet you must have presence at least on facebook, twitter instagram so create accounts and direct your site visitors on there.


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Cpanel vs. Plesk vs. kloxo vs. Webmin vs. DirectAdmin

Category : Web Hosting

If you do not know already Cpanel, Plesk, kloxo, Webmin and DirectAdmin are all control panels for managing websites and if you are hosting company you can either use Cpanel’s WHM or Kloxo to manage your clients, packages servers etc…
Here are comparison to know the main difference between the the most popular control panels and to choose the most one that suits your needs.

Control Panel Cpanel Plesk Kloxo Webmin DirectAdmin
License Proprietary License Proprietary License AGPL BSD style Proprietary License
Price $20/m for VPS or $45/m for server Starts from $4/m Free Free $29/m or $299 for life time
Last Release 2015 2014 2011 2015 2013
OS Linux Linux or Windows CentOS Linux / Windows (Partial support) Windows
Plugins Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Multi Servers Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Learning Curve Easy Medium Easy Medium Easy
Migration Support Yes Yes Yes Yes Supported per admin / reseller basis

Shots for different control panels:-

  • Cpanel
    cpanel

  • Plesk
    plesk

  • Kloxo
    kloxo

  • Webmin
    webmin
  • DirectAdmin
    directadmin