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Week 3: Choosing a Web Hosting Provider (WHP)

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Now that you've selected a theme and registered a domain name for your Web business, you're ready to get the show on the road by choosing a Web hosting provider (WHP), the service that makes your URL work.

Web business engineering expert Nick V. Flor is the creator of Web Business Engineering.com, a Web business content forum, He teaches Web business courses at Carnegie Mellon University and owns two highly profitable Web businesses, Dating Expert.com and YesNoMaybe.com. Professor Flor will be a regular contributor to InformIT on Web business topics.

My last column examined how to choose and register a great domain name. The final setup activity you need to perform prior to developing your personal Web business is signing up with a Web hosting provider (WHP)—the company that actually "houses" your Web site. However, because we're designing Web businesses based on the autonomous business model, you can't sign up with just any provider. You need to make sure that your Web hosting provider meets certain minimum technical requirements, which I'll cover in this article. This week's homework assignment is to register with a Web hosting provider. In my next article, we'll finally start looking at design issues for your personal Web business. But first, the "Hacker Phrase of the Week."

Hacker Phrase of the Week

(shoving with forearm) "Out of the way, ensign!"

Origin: Star Trek (Kirk and Spock used to do it to everyone, especially Chekov)

Usage: Anytime you're helping a friend or coworker on a computer and they're typing way too slow.



    The latest Personal Web Business article is up at InformIT, so type that into your browser.


    (typing slowly with two fingers)



    (shoving Bamm-Bamm aside) Out of the way, ensign!

    (typing) informit


With your domain name registered (see the previous article), the last step you need to take is to sign up with a Web hosting provider (WHP). As the name implies, Web hosting providers are companies that host Web sites. Specifically, they give you space on a computer connected to the Internet (your Web server), where you can upload the various HTML, script, and database files that make up your Web business. While it's possible to be your own host—running a Web server out of your home—it's still fairly expensive, so until your Web business gets big enough, you should always use a Web hosting provider. Now, many people use the term Internet service provider (ISP) interchangeably with Web hosting provider. However, a company can be an Internet service provider and not provide Web hosting as a service; for example, an ISP may simply provide dial-up access so that users can browse the Web. To avoid confusion, I'll always use the term Web hosting provider, or WHP for short.

After you sign up with a WHP, you need to get the Web and IP addresses of its primary and secondary DNS servers, and enter those addresses into whatever domain name registration service you used to reserve your domain name (such as Network Solutions). After all this is done, you can finally start developing the code for your Web business. But before we talk about finding and signing up with a Web hosting provider, you need to understand how a Web address becomes a Web page.

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