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Your space on the World Wide Web - part II


Parameters to check


  • Server location: Most hosting providers have their PCs in the US. Some Indian companies have their servers in India (many Indian companies would be resellers and so the actual data center will be abroad).

  • How much space is provided and how much would you need? This is the amount of MB that your webpages will occupy.

  • Data transfer limit: The web host provider is actually giving you some physical space on his PC which is connected to the internet. He is going to be charged by his ISP depending on the amount of data that flows from his PC or into his PC. So you will find that hosting space providers will specify a maximum data transfer limit per month – maybe 1GB or 5GB.
    And in case your website uses more than this then you will be charged for the extra.

How do you know much your website will require? Let’s say you have a single webpage of 100KB. So a single access to your website will mean that 100KB of info needs to be sent from the hosting PC to the user’s machine. If another user tries to access your site then that user will download 100KB. So now your website has done 200KB of data transfer. If you have 100 users in a month then you’ve used 100 * 100KB = 10,000KB or 10MB.

Note: It isn’t the number of users alone which affects the data transferred. If the same user access your website today and tomorrow then it is equal to 200KB data transfer to this user. Or if he hits the refresh button 3 times then your website will send the 100KB three times to this user; so total data transferred = 300KB.

It all depends on what you feel about your website - if all the pages are large in size or if you feel the website will have a huge number of visitors or if you are putting up some downloadable material (like your own graphics or music) then you should look for plans which offer a higher data transfer amount. Beware of providers who claim to give unlimited data transfer (go through their fine print or send them an email and clarify what is the limit).

Beware: You might come across companies saying they permit "unlimited" data transfer but this is generally untrue. Shoot an email to them asking what is the limit and they would reply quoting some particular value (the provider assumes that majority of websites will not use that much data transfer and hence will claim to be unlimited but in reality they won't - the limits would be specified somewhere in the fine print).

  • Email: Almost all web hosting providers, provide a limited number of email boxes for your website. There will be a limitation on the number of accounts and on the total size of all mailboxes. You will need a large count here only if you plan to provide email IDs under your domain name for many people; the email IDs will be something like 'don@myname.com'.

What technology?

What language, scripting, database are you planning to use for your website? Bascially what technology? Are you going to create webpages in plain HTML (which most likely you won’t these days); you will mostly use some scripting language like ASP or PHP. So check what all are supported by the webhosting provider. Nowadays there are providers who provide different features for different plans.

  • Databases: Do you want to use a database in your website? If yes then decide what DB you want (MS SQL, MS Access, MySQL or will anything suffice?) and compare with the options provided by the host provider.

  • Languages supported: Na; not spoken languages but programming languages! If you have pages or want to use .NET pages then ensure that the provider supports .NET. Some plans may and some plans may not.

  • Windows/Linux servers: Some hosting providers specialize in one of the two while many offer both. Generally the Linux option will be cheaper than the Windows option but see the list of supported features under each before you make a choice. For instance if you want to use MS SQL server then this won't be available under the Linux hosting option.

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