Hosting / Maintenance
When someone is talking about your monthly
maintenance or hosting fees, translate that to mean rent. In dealing with Real Estate,
whether you do your business in an office, a building, or a shopping mall, there will
always be rent. And of course, this figure will vary considerably - according to the
amount of space you're renting, where you're renting it, and who you're renting from. The
same is true in Cyber Space. The only thing different is the term used to describe the
fee. Maintenance = Hosting = Rent.
Now, as to what "Hosting"
really is... it really is rent! You see, a web site is actually nothing
more than a group of files. But in order for people using the Internet to see those files,
they have to be stored on a special kind of computer that is very powerful, and extremely
expensive, and is connected to the Internet in a very specific way. This special computer
is called a "Server"... because that's what it was
designed to do - serve up web sites. And generally speaking, the more expensive it is, the
faster it serves them. When you pay a monthly maintenance charge, you are actually paying
rent for the space your files take up on the Serving Computer.
There is a little more involved than that...
in all actuality, you can turn your home computer into a Server. BUT it will not serve up
your web site anywhere near as fast a professional hosting company. Why? Well, one reason
is that your computer was not designed as a Server. But even more important than that...
it is the way in which you are connected to the Internet! You are probably connected to
the Internet by a modem of some kind... telephone modem, cable modem, or DSL modem or some
other kind of modem. And these modems work very slow compared to the connections that good
hosting companies have.
A reliable hosting company will probably
advertise their connection(s) because they are very proud of it. There is a local company that advertises nationally... "We have a double redundant T3
connection." What this means is they have a T3 connection... it is a redundant
connection - so it's repeated... and it's doubly redundant so depending upon how you
interpret that twist of the language, it means in actuality they may have either 3 or 4
T3's as their connection.
Some hosting companies host many more sites than their
connections can handle. That means that bottlenecks will be common - and nobody,
especially internet users, don't like being caught in a traffic jam. On the Internet,
getting out of a traffic jam is just a simple click away. So keep in mind that the company
that advertises web hosting for next to nothing... well, that's exactly what it's worth -
next to nothing.
There is usually a set up charge involved when
you first establish a web presence. In most cases, this can be thought of as a processing
fee... or the one time charge that your utility company assesses to turn on your
utilities. This covers the cost of configuring your group of files on the Server Computer
properly. It is common to expect a set up charge of $50 to $100 for a web site or domain.
The one case in which "set up" may
mean something else, is if you are buying a template... or (mostly) pre-designed... or
pre-manufactured "cookie cutter" web site.
For Instance: In the Real Estate business,
each Real Estate Agent has pretty much the same needs to present the same type of
information. As a matter of fact, usually the only information that changes from one Real
Estate site to another is the the agent's personal information and their
listings. This enables a web designer to set up a number of templates... or pre-designed
sites - which can be much less expensive than having a site custom designed from scratch.
In this case, the "one time set-up fee" usually includes the
"processing" fee described above, the cost for designing the site, and the cost
for personalizing the site to the individual Real Estate Agent. Usually there are other
"perks" involved in a situation like this also, so the set-up fee can vary
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