Web hosting FAQ

Web hosting is one of the most technical parts of an online business. Understanding the underlying principles is a necessity for the savvy online business owner. Read through our FAQ for a better understanding of how it all comes together.

Most people understand the basic principles of setting up a small business – establish an appropriate business name, rent a shop space, move in, and decorate.

Web hosting is not much different. A registrant establishes a domain name, leases a block of server space, and uploads their webpage. Very quickly, anybody with a connection to the Internet can start browsing the site.

A domain name provides the address of the server, while the server is a rented space into which the data that make up the webpage is stored. This process is known as delegation — the domain name points to the specific hosting account on the particular server.

The server's main job is to 'serve' files to the web browser that made the request. And in the same way as property is managed by a landlord, the server is managed by a web host.

The web host determines the server features. However, not all servers are created equal and there are many options available. Some web hosting services provide technical support and some will force you to go it alone. Others may simply offer a basic redirection service, while advanced packages provide scripting support, database storage or email services.

A good web hosting service like Netregistry provides a number of high quality services and even proactively works to identify and correct issues before they occur. As a reliable and trusted hosting company, Netregistry offers dedicated customer and technical support staff that are available day or night. They will work with you to ensure a streamlined and efficient service.

For many businesses, a consistent and reliable web presence is vital. Yet many smaller businesses and organisations simply don't have the budget to build expensive dedicated server systems and infrastructure.

The solution is to share resources.

Shared hosting services traditionally started out by selling space on hosting servers so that a number of different customers could be served by the one machine. An individual server could cater for a number of different hosting accounts, each with an allocated amount of storage and bandwidth.

However, web hosting has become more sophisticated and removed the risk of failure that comes with relying on a single piece of hardware.

In Australia, Netregistry pioneered a technique of clustering a number of servers together in a hosting cloud. This allowed the infrastructure to share a wide pool of resources – storage, processing power, etc – while removing the risk of an individual server failing. Load balancers ensure requests are directed to the least busy server, resulting in higher levels of performance at any one time.

So instead of sharing a single server, hosting accounts now share the entire infrastructure. Multiple servers, system processors and storage devices operate together as one server, which is then split into thousands of smaller 'virtual' servers, each operating with the same performance and reliability as a single server. Each can be used to host a website. These services also share the same IP address and allow for many thousands of web requests to be processed at any one time.

Resources are always available and the costs are far, far lower than those involved with buying and managing your own server.

There are some limitations, however. A shared hosting system is subject to the misuse of resources by individual users that can affect everybody. Therefore, the larger the pool of resources and the more redundancies in place, the less risk to your hosting account. Also, not all web hosts use a clustered server environment so it may still mean you are sharing a single piece of hardware with multiple users.

Netregistry's innovative web hosting infrastructure has made it one of the most reliable web hosting providers in Australia. We also offer a free web hosting trial so you can decide if cPanel hosting is right for you.

Virtual Private Server (VPS) web hosting is designed to allow one physical server to share its resources, such as memory, storage and processing power, with a number of virtual machines and to use its resources more efficiently without the high cost of maintaining such a hardware system.

VPS web hosting is the answer for customers who want to host multiple domains on a single server unrestricted by operating system types such as Linux or Windows preferences. Customers have full access to their virtual server to install custom software along with the ability to modify the server configuration — which can't be done in a standard shared hosting environment. Each VPS is established on the same hardware and assigned a dedicated IP address, much like a dedicated server.

VPS is popular with web hosting resellers, for example, as it allows them to lease a large VPS block, add their own software, and then divide it among their customers. This allows for individual database requirements and scripting preferences while mitigating reliability and stability concerns. More importantly, Netregistry VPS products provide greater choice and flexibility.

Blogs have become a hugely popular way to self-publish, diarise, communicate and record ideas and thoughts for others to read and comment. Many free services and platforms are available that fall into two distinct groups.

Firstly, blogging providers such as Blogger and WordPress allow anybody to create a blog on their website with a few simple steps. These sites are pre-made with templates and push-button publishing that allow anyone with a basic knowledge of the internet to quickly master the process.

However, there is a downside to quickly launching a blog with one of these providers.

When creating an account with these services, a blog page is established on a sub domain of the blog provider, e.g. http://myblogsite101.blogger.com.au. Your blog is really just a walled-off section of a much larger collection of thousands of blogs on the one website.

It is possible to register and delegate your own domain name to the blog provider. It's a fairly simple process, and each blog provider should have a complete set of instructions on how to achieve it. This is fully supported by Netregistry.

A blog can be one of the strongest weapons in your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) arsenal when trying to attract more search engine traffic. But if you also have a business website and domain separate from your blog's domain, it won't benefit from any of the back links or the additional keyword-rich content your blog produces – the host website will.

This is why many professional bloggers opt for specialist open source software such as WordPress that they can install on their own hosting server. This means that you can include your blog as part of your wider website or simply have greater control over how your blog looks and behaves.

Software like this must be installed onto an existing web hosting environment and may require database and scripting support. Netregistry offers a Business Hosting package that supports PHP and ASP, and comes with WordPress as a free installation if desired. Simply administer your hosting account from the console and install WordPress with a couple of clicks.

While they both work together, the domain name and the web hosting service are two different things and each function in different ways.

A domain name can be purchased without web hosting. These domains are considered 'parked' until such time as their name servers are delegated (or pointed) to a web host. Advanced DNS records of the domain can also be used to point to other servers, although the IP address must be known. It may also be redirected to another domain name. For example, www.mydomain.com and www.mydomain.com.au are both individual domains but one could be redirected to the other. In this case, web hosting only needs to be established on the target domain.

However, without a domain name, there is no way to access or lead to the information stored on your web hosting account, and therefore without a domain name, web hosting cannot function.

What is most important when considering the purchase of web hosting or registering a domain name is ensuring the quality of service. Bein accredited with the Australian Domain Name Administrator (auDA), and providing 24-hour technical support, service and quality is at the heart of Netregistry's philosophy.