Web Publishing Guide for the Internet Entrepreneur
by: Rick Tanzo
"The best things don't come easy." - Quoted
The finished web pages in your hands could be likened to a painting by Michelangelo without the Sistine Chapel. In your case, the Sistine Chapel would be the web server to host your web site masterpiece.
This is the first part of a series of articles touching on various aspects of publishing on the web. In this edition, we will dwell on the aspect of domain name and web hosting.
You should have your own domain name if you envision yourself to be a successful Internet entrepreneur. BTW, the domain name you have registered with some free hosting services is not too professional to be used for your business operation. Unless you are on some form of an experiment, get your own domain name. The cost of getting one has considerably gone down than say five or two years ago.
People would take your product or service seriously if you do have your own domain name. There are a host of domain name registrars out on the Net for you to choose from.
Before you go out and register your domain name, check it out first if the domain name you are planning to register is still available. There are a number of free services to check the names of registered domain names on the web.
If you check my web site you will find a listing of better domain name checkers. It will save you a lot of time. Some of these free services offer domain name registration - for a fee, of course.
After you have decided on - and subsequently registered - your domain name, the next big task is for you to find a host server to which your domain name will be pointing to.
The choice of your web site host is crucial enough to be left to guesswork. For one, a downtime in your host's server will severely impact your online operation. The profit returns of your business will be at stake.
Tip: You often come across an advertisement that says: "We guarantee 99.9% uptime." Come to think of it, a 0.1% downtime translates close to 9 hours within a year that your web site can not be accessed by your clients. Can you afford this? My advice is for you to do your math if a web host is giving you this type of advert.
Web Hosting Checklist
The following checklist will help you select a reliable and efficient web site host:
Does it offer 24/7 technical support?
Does it have a reliable performance record? (Go for the near zero per cent server downtime)
Does it offer a fast connection speed?
Does it offer a quick and easy access to your log files?
Are CGI scripts allowed for your package?
Is autoresponder services being offered?
Web Server Categories
There are three types of web hosting services you can categorize web servers. List down these three categories and put under the appropriate item the name of the web host you are evaluating. Two things worth checking are pricing and performance record of the web host.
Offhand, a web host could fall into three types, namely, cheap web hosting, affordable web hosting, and free web servers. For reasons already discussed above, you have to opt out the free web hosting type, if you want to make serious your Internet business venture.
A study was conducted by our group on the cheap and affordable web hosting services currently being offered. You may want to check it out yourself from our web site. It may save you time.
Tip: You can get cheap web hosting for as low as $0.50 a month. Some web hosts claim to offer free web hosting if you register your domain name with them. Check this out very carefully because the cost of the web hosting may already be added to the cost of the domain name registration. See if the cost of domain name registration is high compared to the web host's competitors. Also check out the performance record of the web host.
Uploading Web Files to the Server
After you have registered your domain name and signed a web host, the next big task is uploading your files to the host's server. The popular and traditional way of transferring files to your web host's server is via an FTP program (for Windows) and Fetch (for Macintosh). If you belong to the 95 per cent of the computing population (i.e., Windows based), the best FTP program for you is still the WS-FTP software. You can download if for free from the web.
Most web hosts offer control panels where you can directly browse your file source and upload the files to the server. In this case, there's no need for you to use an FTP program.
Tip: Some web hosts offer state of the art control panels. Others have amateurish control panels. You have to choose between simplicity and time-consuming operation. My advice is for you to choose the easy to operate panel that offers hassle-free transferring of files.