Home > Articles

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

Finding a Web Server

Before you can display your HTML pages on the Web, you need access to a Web server. This may already be taken care of for you, especially if you are creating pages and posting them within your organization or corporation. When you want to update the site, you just need to know how and where to send your HTML and related files, or you might need to know how to copy them over the network to your Web server.

Otherwise, if you're working within a smaller organization or on your own, you need to make some arrangements for obtaining Web server space and figuring out how to get your files online.

What Is a Web Server?

A Web server is simply a computer that runs software designed to send out HTML pages and other file formats (such as multimedia files). The server should have a relatively high-speed connection to the Internet (faster than typical modem connections, for example) and should be powerful enough to deal with a number of simultaneous connections.

Generally, Web server software requires a fairly robust operating system (like Unix, Linux, Windows NT/2000, or MacOs X). However, software is available for other versions of Microsoft Windows, and earlier Macintosh OS versions are popular for smaller (and reasonably worry-free) Web sites.

TIP

You can access lists of ISPs around the country (and the world) at thelist.com or http://www.yahoo.com. You might also check with your current ISP for Web deals, because many popular online services offer free or cheap Web space.

Dealing with an ISP

For any sort of connection to the Internet, you probably need to work with an Internet service provider (ISP). ISPs offer dial-up and special high-speed connections to the Internet, as well as Web servers and other types of Internet servers for your use.

For the typical smaller Web site, you want a hosted account, sometimes called a shared hosting account. This simply means that you share space on one of the ISP's Web server computers with others who have hosted accounts. Generally, this gives you an URL that begins with the name of the ISP's host computer, but points to a special directory for your HTML pages. For example:

http://www.isp.com/username/index.html.

NOTE

Domain names always have domain name extensions, such as .com, .net, and .org, which are used to differentiate otherwise identically named sites. For instance, w3.com and w3.org are two different Web sites. The number of domain name extensions has multiplied recently, with possibilities such as .biz and .info.

For this type of service, prices range from free (particularly if you already use other services from that ISP) to $25 or so, depending on the amount of storage space you have and how many megabytes of downloaded traffic your site is allowed to handle. The more traffic, the more expensive your site is.

At the next level, you might decide that you'd prefer to have your own domain name. This means your Web site is accessible at an URL similar to http://www.yoursitename.com, such as http://www.fakecorp.com. Clearly, this is desirable for organizations and businesses, although you may opt to register a domain name for your own personal or avocational use as well.

In general, ISPs help you register a domain name when you're establishing new service, but that isn't completely necessary. You can register domain names on your own via a number of different services, such as Register.com (http://www.register.com/) and Network Solutions (http://www.networksolutions.com/). Prices for domain registration can vary, although most name brand services charge $25–$35 per year for a domain name.

After you have a domain name registered, your ISP can set up a Domain Name Service (DNS) record that tells other DNS servers around the world to point to a particular server computer whenever that domain name is requested. So, http://www.fakecorp.com points to the server that the ISP has provided for your Web pages, and others are able to access your pages easily.

NOTE

You'll often find that your favorite domain names are already registered. On many of the registration service sites, you can perform a WhoIs lookup to see whether a domain name is registered, and to whom. Paying for a domain name that you really want, particularly if someone is "squatting" the address and not using it is still common (although perhaps not as glamorous).

Perl is a scripting language that's commonly used for programs that are stored on Web servers and used to interact with Web browsers.

Do You Already Have Server Space?

If you use an ISP for your Internet access, there's a decent chance that you already have Web server space available to you. Most of the major national and international ISPs (such as ATT WorldNet, America Online, and Prodigy.net) offer free Web space with most of their account types.

If your ISP offers free space, all you need to do is find out how much space you get and how to take advantage of it. You may also want to look into any options your ISP offers for registering domain names. In most cases, having your own domain name associated with the Web server space costs extra. "Web Publishing Services," which is a chapter available online, has more information on free and commercial Web server options. (See the Introduction for details on how to download this chapter.)

What Software Does Your Server Run?

For HTML documents, images, and most multimedia feeds, the software that your ISP uses for its Web server computers is largely irrelevant. However, when you get into more advanced tasks—or when you decide you want to take advantage of interactivity options and add-ons—the type of software your ISP uses can become much more important. So, these are a few questions you might consider asking a customer service representative at your ISP (or a prospective one):

  • Can I run CGI scripts? If so, which languages? Although most basic Web sites don't deal in CGI scripts, you may need them if you want to add interactivity to your site in the guise of HTML forms, bulletin-board forum software, or database access. Note that in some cases a particular language version may be required (such as Perl 5 instead of Perl 4), so knowing the version numbers can be helpful. (See Chapters 16, "CGIs and Data Gathering," and 17, "Forums, Chats, and Other Add-Ons," for more information.)

  • Which extensions and server side includes are available? Depending on the Web server software and any extensions that are installed, you may be able to add special commands to your HTML documents that make it possible to display the current time, hit counter, and quite a few other options that are specific to particular Web server applications (see Chapter 17).

  • How are statistics reported? With some ISPs, you may be able to access a special URL that shows you how many people have visited your Web site, along with other information from them (such as which pages referred them to your site). In other cases, statistics are stored in a special file that you need to download to your computer and then process with a statistical analysis program (generally available as a free download).

NOTE

Every time a user loads a page on your site, it's called a hit. The hit counter is one way to keep track of how many visitors a page on your site has received.

With most Web server programs, the default page that is first loaded is named index.html or index.htm. So that's the name you use for the first page you'd like to present to users when they access your Web site.

Asking these questions—particularly when you're a bit more familiar with the answers you want to hear—may help you decide on an ISP to use for your Web serving. See Chapter 17 for more details.

Accessing Your Web Server Space

After you've decided on an ISP, you're ready to create your HTML pages and upload them to the server. To do all this correctly, though, you probably need to ask a few questions:

  • What is my site's default URL? This should be the ISP's host address and a directory for your username. For example, if your username is jsmith, the default URL for your site might be http://www.fakeco.net/jsmith/members.fakeco.net/jsmith/, or something similar. Different ISPs organize this in different ways, so you need to make sure you get this right.

  • How do I upload files to my site's directory? You should get instructions for accessing your Web site's directory on the Web server using an FTP application. This is discussed in more detail in the section "Updating Your Web Site," later in this chapter.

  • What limitations are there on the names I can give my files? The Web server's operating system may not be instantly obvious to you. If this is the case, you want to ask if there is a certain filename length or a certain format for naming files that you need to follow.

  • Can I create subdirectories within my main Web site directory? Most Web servers give you this ability, but some don't.

With those questions answered, you are able to upload and access your Web pages easily.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020