At Avazio we’re aware that not every student is on a computing/technology course, and likely doesn’t know an awful lot about web hosting. With that in mind, we’ve made a getting started guide especially for the students out there that want to know what this is all about.
What is web hosting?
Every website you visit is a combination of files and images stored on a computer hard drive somewhere. When you type a domain name (microsoft.com for example) your browser downloads these files and images and serves them to you as a website. So, in essence, web hosting is something that you need to store your website’s files and images so people can access them and view your site.
What is a domain name?
A domain name is the word or phrase you assign to your website so it can be found by anyone. When you buy a domain, you are buying the ability for people to access your web hosting by simply typing your domain name into their browsers search box.
You can own a domain without web hosting, but without web hosting it won’t direct anyone to your site. You can also purchase multiple domain names and link them to your web hosting allowing you to greater cover your chance of discovery, For example, you could have both facebook.com and facebook.co.uk linked to your web hosting package to appeal to both UK and American markets.
So, how do I get started?
If you’ve built a site, or plan on building a site you’ll need to buy yourself a domain and some web hosting to get it on the internet. If you’ve already built your website locally on your own computer, it’ll just be a simple case of uploading your website files to your hosting package, linking a domain and voila… your website is live and visible to the world.
What if I haven’t made a site yet?
No problem! A good web hosting provider will provide tools to create a simple website, or use some kind of software so you can manage content yourself on a blog, forum or other community-based system.
A good way to get started is using a WordPress installation. They offer thousands of themes for you to easily customise the look of your site, leaving you with the task of creating the content! WordPress also has tonnes of plugins allowing you to increase the functionality of your site and make it truly unique.
This is the amount of space you have for files such as images, website files, videos etc. Most of the best web hosting providers offer unlimited disk-space, although all will have terms and conditions which you must be aware of, also a fair use policy may be in place to protect other websites who share the same server.
This is the term used to measure traffic on your website such as visitors, downloads and uploads. When someone lands on your website, they are downloading the website files from your web hosting company, each time this happens, bandwidth is used. Every time a visitor loads another page or downloads your latest podcast from your site, bandwidth will be used.
Most of the best web hosting providers offer unlimited bandwidth, as before there will be terms and conditions which you must be aware of, and more likely a fair use policy will be in place to protect other websites who share the same server.
FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol and is the name used to describe the uploading of files to your web hosting server. When you sign up to a web hosting package you are always provided with FTP details so that you can upload your content via an FTP Client.
When you login, you can upload multiple files at once, which saves you a lot of time, especially compared to uploading files via a file manager, as some only allow single file upload. An example of a FTP client is FileZilla and is one of the most popular and easiest to use client.
A MySQL Database is a database management system that allows multi-user access to a number of databases. In other words, it allows you to run websites that require the storage and access of membership details, posts, user generated details ect.
Websites that require a MySQL database would include blogs, forums, content management systems such as WordPress, phpBB and Drupal. As MySQL Databases are widely used by the features that web hosting providers supply, you will be provided with several databases, as part of your package.
With the built-in script installers provided by most popular web hosting providers, you only have choose the software, choose the directory where you want it installed and then click the install button. The script installer will automatically install all files, set up file permissions & configure the database without any work or programming on your part.