Web Hosting > Web Hosting FAQ

Basic Web Hosting Questions:


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What is web hosting?

Web hosting refers to the process of publishing a web site so that it is available to the world on the Web. Paid web hosting also involves getting a domain name and not having forced ads displayed on your site. Please see our Quick Start Guide for info on how to get started with a paid web host.

Does it make a difference what type of desktop computer I use?

No. FrontPage extensions can also be done on Unix (or linux) servers.
Take a second to learn about linux VPS on the University of Michigan website.

What is a domain name?

A domain name is a sequence of letters and numbers which determine the address of your site. This site's domain name is "WebHostingRatings.com." You need to register a domain name before your web site becomes accessible at this address. Please see our Domain Name Guide for all the details.

What are PHP, SQL, Java, IP, etc.?

Those acronyms refer to various features such as programming languages, databases, etc. that might be available with a hosting plan. Please check our web hosting features to see which ones we support. Currently PHP is the best and most commonly used programming language for the web.

What is shared (virtual) web hosting?

Shared (or virtual) web hosting is the most fitting way of hosting for 99% of web sites. It means that a web hosting company will have one or more servers (computers constantly connected to the Internet that run a web server software such as Apache or IIS) that will be running multiple web sites (it will be shared). Unless a web site is exceptionally busy or requires a lot of bandwidth, this is the least expensive way to get a real web site. You can still have your own IP address with virtual hosting and the site won't look any different to users. Other options are dedicated, co-location, or doing it yourself web hosting. In those options you have the whole computer to yourself and you can do things like install your own software. This requires advanced knowledge in server management.

Can I keep my domain name when I change a host?

Yes. We recommend that you register your domain name with a separate registrar before getting a hosting plan (we recommend the cheapest, which are also the best: www.godaddy.com). Then, when you need to move to another host, you just need to point your domain's name servers to this new host. If you registered your domain name with a host and now you want to move, you should find your registration records or contact this host and ask them how to control your domain name. If you have a problem, you can usually see the name of the registrar by performing a "Whois" query on your domain name and contact them.

Does it make a difference what type of desktop computer I use?

No. FrontPage extensions can also be done on Unix (or Linux) servers.

Will I have forced advertising on my site like I do on Geocities, etc.?

No. But you can use ads from any company you choose and display them on your website and earn extra money that way. See our article on banner ad advertising.

I don't have any experience in creating a site. Who can help me create and host my site?

There are many services available, including Lionsites Web Design services. Our rates are very low. Click here for a free web design quote. Please also see our Quick Start Guide for online stores.

What is domain parking?

Domain parking lets you cheaply reserve a domain name for future use and display an "under construction" default page on it. You can register a domain and not park it anywhere but then your site will simply be inaccessible until you get a web host. Some registrar let you park your domain for free. If you choose godaddy.com for registering your domain name, they will let you park it for free.

What is full-service web hosting?

"Full-service" can refer to a variety of services offered in addition to providing web space, transfer, and emails for a web site. For example, it could be 24/7 toll free phone support, web design services, or web site content maintenance services. Here at Lionsites we offer full service web hosting however we maintain regular business hours plus weekends. Our websites have a 99.99% uptime.

What are the numbers listed under "space" and "transfer"?

Space is the amount of "stuff" you can put on your web site. Available space is usually listed in megabytes (MB, millions of bytes). Single letter takes up one byte. HTML files are usually rather small (this file is about 25,000 bytes) but pictures and programs can get quite big. Your scripts, emails and stats will also take up space on your host.
Transfer is the amount of "stuff" that visitors to your site can download before you reach your monthly limit. Each time a person views a webpage of yours, whqaqt he sees is downloaed to his computer into his browser so he can view the page. Transfer is usually listed in gigabytes (billions of bytes).

How do I pay for web hosting?

The methods of payment which we accept are credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard and several others. The same amount will be charged to your account every month on the same day.

How do I upload my site?

The main method of uploading files to your site's account is by using FTP(file transfer protocol). When you sign up with us, you will get an FTP account that lets you access files in your account (usually ftp.yoursitename.com, your main account name and password). Then you can use a built-in Windows or Internet Explorer FTP client, or some other software that supports FTP such as CuteFTP, WS_FTP, or Total Commander, to transfer files from your hard drive to your account. It might sounds complicated at first but it's really very easy. We will help you in case you need more assistance. We use the program WS-FTP by Ipswitch.

What is uptime?

Uptime is the percentage of time that a web site is working. For example, if some host has an uptime average of 99.86%, this means that your site will be down for a total about 1 hour each month. Lionsites Web Hosting averages currently a 99.99% uptime.

Can I use Java applets, JavaScript, and Flash pages on my site?

Yes.


Go back to Web Hosting Plans

How to choose a web hosting plan or company

Should I use a Unix (Linux, SunOS, BSD, etc.) or Windows NT (Windows 2000) based server?

You may notice that Linux-based operating systems and Apache Web servers are most common among web hosting companies. This is due to Apache's many shared-hosting features, a good track record of stability and performance, and because Linux and Apache are free. We currently only host our sites on Linux. You will find this supports many programming languages and the free online database MySQL. We also support all Frontpage extensions.

How much data transfer will I need?

You can figure out how much data transfer you will require by estimating your average page size (including graphics!) and multiplying it by the number of page views you expect to have in a month. For example: with an average page size of 50 KB, and around 1000 page views per day, you will transfer an average of 1 GB per month. In this case, you should get a plan with 2 GB of data transfer limit per month, so you don't have to worry about overstepping your account's limit, which may cause extra per GB transfer charges. Lionsites will monitor your bandwidth for you and adjust it if needed.

Can't I just get a DSL line or a cable modem and host the site or my own computer?

Sure, you could do that, but it's not a good idea for several reasons. First, a vast majority of ISPs won't let you legally use a residential cable modem or a DSL line to host a public server. You would have to get a more expensive business package. Second, ADSL and cable lines usually have lower upstream bandwidth than downstream bandwidth, so your site may appear to be sluggish under heavy traffic. Third, DSL and cable lines have a much lower reliability than dedicated T1 or better lines. Fourth, you wouldn't have the benefit of data security, data backup, UPS power, or technical support that a host can provide.

Do I need stats?

Yes, it's very good practice to monitor the amount of unique visitors or sessions that your website receives on a daily, weekly or monthly bases. The stats also tell you how long a visitor stays on your web page and how many pages he visits. This will give you some clues to how you might need to improve or modify your website. With Lionsites web services you will receive several different programs in your cpanel with which you can monitor your website. See site stats for more info.

Can I run my own software on my site?

Our plans will allow running scripts in languages such as Perl or PHP. We also allow you to run "cron" which enables you to automatically execute programs or scripts at a specific time and date. However to get a full control over all aspects of your server, you will need a dedicated or co-located server instead of a shared plan.

Do I need a unique IP address for my site?

Maybe but probably not. There are some advantages to having a unique IP for your site. When you change servers, you can point your users to a new IP, so they don't have to wait for the domain name change to propagate. With a static IP, it can also be simpler to upload and test your site before transferring the domain name to a new server. Setting up SSL is also much simpler. You may also not want to share your IP with some sites that could lead to your site being banned by search engines or spam lists.

Do I need to use your host's search engine submission service?

No. Some search engine submission tools are better than others and some big search engines don't like automated submission. You should submit manually to major directories like Yahoo!, ODP, or Looksmart, and you may also prefer to submit manually to major search engines. View our article on search engines.

Should I simply choose a cheapest plan?

We wouldn't recommend choosing any plan below $5 per month if you expect to get a reasonable level of technical support. Read our customer testimonies to get an idea of what type of service our customers are receiving.

Are there any extra costs involved in hosting a secure site?

No, you can use our shared security lisence which is just as good as having your own. All you do is define the path to the secure server which we will give you when you sign up with our service. We also offer help with this if you are confused by this.

Are there any advantages to getting a domain name with Network Solutions instead of a cheaper company?

No. We register all our domains with www.godaddy.com. it's only $8.95/year or less, so why go anywhere else? Do save your user and password when you sign up with them because later you will need this to access your domain services.

I don't want my site to be down. Ever. What host should I use?

No host can provide 100% uptime. We monitor uptime and you could use this data as a guide. But even the biggest and best multi-million dollar sites go down from time to time due to various unforeseen circumstances.

Can I reduce the amount of data transfer my site needs?

Usually yes. Try to optimize all the graphics on your site. Many GIFs don't look noticeably worse with fewer colors. Don't duplicate graphics files, let the browser cache them. Try to clean up your HTML by using relative paths, short filenames, less extras, and reducing the number of spaces and new lines. If your site is mainly text-based, ask your host about using an HTTP compression module like mod_gzip.

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