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Introduction To  Web Hosting    

This free and easy to understand guide to Web Hosting, simplifies the maze of complicated information necessary to understand in order to make wise choices in choosing a web host.

Part 1:

All Web Hosting Companies Are Not Created Equal
The Importance Of A Good Host

Just as a slow and inattentive waiter can spoil even the best prepared gourmet meal, a substandard host can render the most successful design, marketing, and development program almost totally ineffective. 

A "cutting edge" Professional Web Hosting Company is a necessary ingredient in the formula for success on the Internet - in much the same way as a professional, knowledgeable and efficient wait staff is key to enjoying a chef's 5 star gourmet meal. Both the wait staff and the hosting company are servers. They provide a service. And the (pardon the pun) meat and potatoes of that service is getting the product - whether it be a fine meal or a fine web site - out to the public.

Unfortunately, neither all waiters nor all hosting companies are not created equal. 

Ever find yourself sitting in a restaurant, famished, excited and tantalized by the offerings on the menu, waiting as the poor overworked food server tries to take care of the party of 15 that came in just before you? Each ticking second seems like an eternity. You begin a mental struggle: will it be quicker to get up and go to a different establishment down the street, or should you put up with the inconvenience and wait it out?

On the Internet, that answer comes quick and simple. If your web site isn't served up in just a very few seconds, (It's that quick!) your visitors / customers will "click" and take their business elsewhere. (It's that simple!)  Even the best designed web site in the world will accomplish absolutely nothing if no one ever sees it. This is why you should choose your hosting company carefully. 

Why do you need a host?

In a manner of speaking, you don't. It is possible to use your home computer to host your internet site. You already have a connection to the internet, (modem & access account) and you probably have the space on your hard drive. Technically speaking, all you need to do is get an permanent IP (Internet Presence) address assigned to your computer, and get that hooked in and registered with DNS (Domain Name Server) system. The world wide DNS system is a system of computers that takes the requests for "YourDomain.com" and translates it into a series of hard to remember numbers - which is your actual internet address by the way... not your Domain Name, as most people think. 

Will that really work? Technically, yes.  Practically, no!!! For lack of technical expertise, for lack of the proper equipment, for lack of the proper connection, for lack of finances to obtain the proper equipment and connections, and for a hundred other practical reason, hosting your own site is an impossibility. Returning to the analogy of the waiter and the 5 star gourmet meal... technically, you could cook and serve that same meal from your kitchen - would you even consider doing that?

In the following guide, we will focus on explaining what the proper equipment is, what the proper connections are, why they are necessary, and how to evaluate the various hosting companies available. 

Tip 1:
On the internet, even more that in the real world - There is just no such thing as a free lunch. 

There is always a catch. The equipment, connections, upkeep, and monitoring necessary for proper hosting are expensive. If someone is hosting your site "free" or for "next to nothing", rest assured that in some way, they are making money off of you. Either by directly advertising to your visitors (banners), or by collecting private information about everyone that visits your site (cookies), and then selling it for a tidy profit. 

This process of gathering information and selling it is big... I mean BIG... I mean really >>>BIG<<< business. Many of the mergers that happen with Internet companies happen not because it a match made in heaven; rather it is the opposite. One company has gathered tons of private information on millions of internet users, and the other company wants that information very badly, and is willing to pay billions of dollars for it. Understand this: the process is legal. Most people in the world probably agree that it is not ethical... but IT IS LEGAL... and it is done all the time on the internet.

Tip 2: 
There is no such thing as privacy on the internet. Choose your alliances carefully, making sure they are ethical, and not secretly gathering stuff that doesn't belong to them.

Even those "Surf the Internet Invisibly" programs can not guarantee privacy. Sometimes it seems like everybody on the net is after your private information. This is an especially important reason to choose your hosting company wisely. An ethical host will not place any "cookies" on your visitor's computer, and not gather any information at all, in any way... nor will they in any way track your visitors. 

 Keeping these two tips in mind, let's move on to what exactly is hosting?

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