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Information regarding websites / hosting & domain names
The creation of a website is not the end of the story (road?). There are still some more steps you need to take before your website is visible to the world. If you need any help choosing, then please feel free to contact me.
The first step is choosing the design of your website. There are millions of designs to choose from so choose one that not only suits your pocket, but your style too. To get some ideas, why not browse the Open source Web Design pages where you can pick up some free templates or ideas.
Some of the things to consider when choosing are:
- Colour - Contrasting or Blending, which ever you choose, it's best to keep to 3 main colours
- Layout - Single page, scrolling content with fixed top or left pane (otherwise known as Framed). Framed pages apparently don't do so well on search engines but they do look nice.
- Menu - Right, Left, top, dropdown, animated or floating to name but a few. This will depend on how many pages you want.
- Size - Fixed size in the centre or expanding to fill the full screen. Fixed centered do well at around 800 pixels wide, this will suit many older PC's with smaller screens.
Expanding site will fill the whole screen with the page whatever the resolution is set to on the readers monitor.
Next time you are browsing the web, take note of a few designs, you may find one you like which can be a basis for you own design.
A Web Host
This will be the actual company that owns a Server to which you will upload and save all your web pages/pictures on.
There are many VPS hosts available, and many more popping up daily so browse around to see who is best for you.
Typically, you won't need a lot of bandwidth to start off with and most of the paid hosts allow you to upgrade at any time should your site really take off.
Of course, there are free hosts should you wish to take advantage of these but in my experience, they give you very little bandwidth, don't allow your own domain name (see below) and often have advertising to pay for this service which will be on your own pages (not nice).
A few things to look for when choosing a host are:
- Disk Space - The amount of storage space needed to store your files on the server. 500mb is ample for a fairly large site so anything more is wasted space unless you have a website with lots of music/movies or music.
- Bandwidth - This is the amount of data transfer you get per month. When folk click on your site, they download the site content, pictures etc. Starting off, you probably won't use more than 100mb but as your site gets more popular, then you will need more bandwidth.
Ideally, anything over 500mb will be good, anymore is a bonus.
- MySQL Databases - Not needed unless you have a database driven site like a forum, large catalogue? etc. Most hosts have at least on SQL database, two databases is normally enough.
- Email Addresses - As it says really, around 5 email addresses are normal, anymore is a bonus. These can be used to filter work stuff from business related mail.
- Sub Domains - You may not need these at first but it allows expansion for other websites later on. Most hosts give you 5 or more.
- Domain Name - Most hosts can now supply you with a Domain name for free. See below for more details.
- SSL - Meaning Secure Socket Layer is used for secure sites. These are usually used for E-Commerce or Webshop's for secure pages. If you don't intend to have a web shop, then don't worry. If you do intend to have one later on, then this may be an option to look for although there are other ways around this.
- Price - Expect to pay around £3 - £4 per month for a starter hosting package. These can be upgraded later on and need to be renewed after 12 or 24 months (depending on host).
In order to be identified on the world wide web, you will need a domain name. When choosing one, try and keep it meaningful and descriptive.
Things like www.mysite.com doesn't mean anything to anybody so choose one that sells your site i.e. if your site is based on your hobby of classic cars, then use something like www.classic-cars.com.
There are many permatations using dashes and dots to achieve your domain name so choose carefully.
If your host doesn't supply one free then you will need to purchase one. They vary in price and surprisingly don't cost a vast amount. At this present time (Dec 2009), prices are coming in at:
- mysite.co.uk - A popular UK address is around £3.50 per annum. (Usually a 2 year contract)
- mysite.com - A dot.com is a little more expensive at around £9.50 per annum.
- mysite.net - Becoming more popular and still reasonably priced at around £9.50 per annum.
- mysite.org - As you can guess, more organisation orientated at around £9.50 per annum.
- mysite.org.uk - Another .org but more expensive at around £3.50 per annum.
- mysite.eu - A european domain if you wished but at around £12.00 per annum, still not vastly expensive.
- uk.com is fairly new but very expensive, at around £25.00 per annum, you have to be pretty keen to get that domain name to pay but they are available.
- Plus many more, check with your local hosting company.
As with Hosting, you will need to keep paying for the domain names otherwise you may loose them. This could be very inconvenient if you have a large web following and have to change your web address so be warned.
I'm in no way connected with any Hosts, these are just my experience and hearsay from other users but here are a couple of hosts I can recommend. Obviously it will be beneficial for you to shop around so remember that google is your friend
- Hydra Hosts - Un-beleivably cheap and lots of features, well worth a visit.
- Evo hosting - I actually use these and they are a fairly new company but very helpful and fairly cheap.
- 4u Hosting - Another UK based company, not quite as cheap as Evo but still very good with fast servers.
- A List of Cheap hosting packages - I've done a search for you (how good am I?) so you can check out the packages from the top 10 cheap hosts.
What ever you choose, wherever you go, I hope you find what you are looking for. If I can help, then that's great, if not, then good luck with your quest.