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Web Hosting FAQ

Having the most spectacular Web site in the world isn't much good without a reliable, secure, and affordable way to get that site online. There are essentially two options in this respect. One is to set up your own server (technical, expensive, and certain to result in many sleepless nights of rebooting), the other is to have your site hosted on someone else's server (less technical, less expensive, but certain to result in many sleepless nights wondering why your host's server is down). Most people opt for the latter, so we decided to answer some of the most asked questions about Web hosting for reference purposes.

What's a Web host?
A Web host is a company or organization or nerdy teenager that runs a server connected to the Internet and offers space on that server to people who want to put a site online.

Isn't that the same as an ISP?
No. Many ISPs (Internet Service Providers) do offer Web hosting, just as some Web hosts offer Internet connection services. Many ISPs include free Web space with dial-up accounts, although it is often inadequate for business purposes, while other ISPs and Web hosts provide little or no services aside from billing your credit card regularly.

How much does hosting cost?
Web hosting ranges from free, for ad-based hosting like Geocities, to hundreds of dollars monthly for a dedicated server. Note that you do not need a dedicated server for the average pro wrestling fan site, although some hosting firms will tell you otherwise.

My host promised unlimited bandwidth, but they're now trying to charge me for excessive usage. What's going on?
You read the bold flashing text on their front page that says, "Unlimited Bandwidth," and not the fine print buried six levels deep in their navigation where it says, "Conditions Apply." The conditions are that bandwidth is only as unlimited as your line of credit, meaning that for the right price you can have all the bandwidth you want.

Why have I been suspended for excessive usage even though I haven't used half of the 40 Gig per month transfer limit that came with my hosting package?
They'll never admit it, but basically, they are trying to either get rid of you or get you to upgrade to a more expensive package. This typically happens when a hosting company realizes that they can't possibly afford to provide hosting at the rates they sold year-long packages for three months ago. In other words, they finally got around to doing the math and figured out that they're losing money.

My host was there one minute, then it suddenly disappeared. Where did it go?
There's a good chance that your host's parents found out that an Internet server was being operated on their premises against their explicit orders since the "chat room incident," and they unplugged it. Host's have also been known to go broke and close up shop without warning. If you don't hear from them within 72 hours, contact missing Web hosts and start looking for another place to put your site.

How come a voting site had my host listed as one of the top five hosts on the Internet, but they still suck?
That's because voting sites are notoriously unreliable and are often set up by hosts themselves to promote their own services. Many quality hosts don't participate in voting sites, and the voting system is typically rigged, so these lists are frequently lists of the top hosts to be avoided at all costs.

My host lost all my documents. Now what?
Simply restore your site from the extensive collection of back-ups you have at home.

I don't have any back-ups whatsoever. Will my host have my site backed-up?
Undoubtedly, your host will have a state-of-the-art triple redundant double back-up system running 24 hours a day in an effort to ensure that several copies of all data on the server are maintained in the event of an emergency. So the short answer is, no.

My current host is charging me almost $15.00 a month, but the competition is only charging $4.95 a month. Should I switch?
Absolutely not. You should never switch from a host you are happy with for a savings of less than $11.95 per month, especially if your site brings in revenues of over a thousand dollars an hour.

It takes 9 minutes and 27 seconds for my site to load. Could this be a problem with my host?
Yes, virtual servers, as opposed to dedicated servers, host many sites at the same time, sharing available computer and network resources. If the host puts too many sites on a single server, or one of the sites on the server gets particularly busy, all the sites on the server will become slow. This is referred to in the business as the principle of exponential lag, or "forking slowness." The proper course of action in these situations is to contact technical support.

Technical support has been ignoring my calls and emails for weeks. What should I do?
Find another Web host, or talk to their mom.

My host's email server has been down for six days. Shouldn't they have noticed this by now?
It depends on how stoned they are. Some hosts are never aware of any problems until contacted by a user. Many continue to deny that there is a problem until you replicate it on their receptionist's computer. This ensures that they don't waste time fixing things that aren't absolutely critical.

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