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Hosting is the space where you park your website, and is one of the least understood and badly used services on the web (see opposite).
One basic confusion is the difference between your ISP (Internet Service Provider), and a hosting agency. Your ISP gives you access to the Internet. so when you connect, you connect using their connection. This might be Freeserve, AOL, Tiscali etc. They often offer free or very cheap hosting, but THIS IS NOT SUITABLE FOR SME websites. Apart from looking unprofessional, a web address such as www.johnswebsite.fsnet.co.uk (Freeserve) is not going to offer the quality of service needed by a small business.
Can we help you with hosting ? Contact us for more information.
When choosing your hosting you also need to think how your web needs might grow in the future. Good web hosts offer a raft of services to support your site. At the very least they should offer Front Page and database support, but do they also offer email spam filtering, and if you want to contact them how easy will that be.
One of my first customers was hosted with a cheap host, who were impossible to contact (no phone contact number, & virtually impossible to email). After 6 months of trying to get the site to work we gave up and started again. BE WARNED !
You website is given space in the same way as you use space on your hard disk. so far, so simple. So when hosting agancies say that you can have, say, 50 megabytes of space, then that is the space they have reserved for you on their disc. This space is then accessed by other users on the Internet via a normal telephone line, fibre optic cable etc, which you can compare to a path leading to your house. If there is only one house at the end of your path then there will be no problem gaining access, whereas if there are 100 and each house has one or several visitors you can imagine the traffic jam.
As a rule of thumb, the cheaper the hosting, the more the traffic jam, which in real terms will mean that your site will be painfully slow, and at times inaccessible.