Knowledge of website hosting is essential if you plan to make your website available for the world to see.
It's one thing to build a website using HTML, but so far in this tutorial, everything we've done has been on our own local machine. Unless you have your own web server with a permanent high-speed connection to the Internet, you'll need a website hosting provider to host your website.
If you already have a hosting provider that's great! But, if you don't, you'll need to start looking for one.
Basic Web Hosting Concepts
Whether you already have a web host or you're just beginning, you should know at least a little bit about the following hosting concepts:
- The different types of web hosting (i.e the differences between shared hosting, dedicated servers, and managed hosting)
- How to choose a good web hosting provider
- Domain names (i.e. yourwebsite.com)
- FTP - for uploading your website to the hosting provider
- Availability - how to monitor your web site's availability
- Technical support - what to expect from a hosting provider
It can be very difficult for a beginner to find information about this. Even some experienced web developers don't know exactly what it is their web host does. I recommend that you make some effort to become familiar with the basic web hosting concepts, such as those outlined above.
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Getting your own Web Server
If you're serious about developing web pages, you should think about installing a web server (if you haven't already got one).
A web server will enable you to mimick a hosting environment. You'll be able to browse your website on your local computer using http:// and your own domain or sub-domain.
You'll also be able to do many other things, like run server-side scripts such as PHP or ColdFusion. Not to mention, connect to a database.
To learn the basics of web servers, see my quick web server tutorial.