Basic Features of a Hosting Plan
The Basic Features of a Hosting Plan
All hosting accounts offer a certain amount of disk space that
you can use to store all your files. Exactly what is, and isn't
counted towards your disk space usage will vary from host to host;
so make sure you check exactly what files you will need to allow
for when deciding how much disk quota you will need.
It would be a good idea to have some sort of estimates on what
you need for various tasks. How much space will you need for storing
your email, web files, databases and log files? By breaking down
your usage like this it will be much easier to work out how much
space you should go for (once you know exactly what files are counted
towards your disk quota).
All plans will certainly include all your web accessible files
when calculating disk usage. Some hosts will also choose to include
email and/or logs in the quota, which can make estimating your disk
space requirements more difficult. While you may have a good idea
of the disk space needed for your web files, your email and log
file needs change constantly.
Should a host include all types of file storage in the quota, check
to see if you can switch off your logs or exclude particular information.
If the option is available it will save you a lot of disk space,
particularly if you have a busy site. However, if you want to use
any statistics package that is available with your hosting, you
will need to allow some logging to take place.
If you enable your logs then it is also worth remembering that
you might not be able to delete a log file from the server until
the server has stopped writing to it. Daily logs are fairly manageable
if you remember to log in and download and delete them regularly.
Problems with monthly logs can arise if you underestimate your log
space needs and you can't delete the file until the end of the month;
which could lead to an extra charge if you aren't careful.
If your email settings and inboxes are included in your disk quota,
it might be an idea to set the maximum size of each mailbox if it
is possible. This will save you from storing too much mail on the
server and inadvertently going over your limit.
Email accounts are a common feature of hosting, particularly if
you are hosting a domain. Some hosts will let you have control over
your mail settings, putting restrictions on mail activities (for
example the number of accounts or maximum size of mail boxes) on
the server side. Other hosts will do all the set up for you, even
though setting up of new mail accounts can be easier than you think
with the right software support.
How you configure your email is a matter of personal preference,
but there are essentially four main types of mail accounts; POP3,
forwarding, aliases and autoresponders.
- POP3 accounts are the traditional "inboxes", you
have space on a server to store your mail, allowing you to use
an email program to log in and download your mail; each login
and password combination usually equates to one account. This
works a bit like an office inbox, the mail is left there until
you do something with it; if it is full then your mail can't be
stored and bounces.
- Forwarding mail accounts are useful if you want to send your
mail to a service like SpamCop or other email filter before you
receive it. Rather than store it on your mail server, it will
redirect all mail to another single email address where it is
dealt with appropriately. This kind of account is useful for redirecting
your emails to a common POP3 box.
- Aliases are names that can be used to identify different types
of email account, redirecting them to POP3 mailboxes on the server
or other addresses, where they are processed again if necessary.
What happens to the emails will depend on whom they are being
sent to. A catch all alias is often used to collect and deal with
email sent to people or departments not recognised by your mail
- Autoresponders are not an email account in their own right,
however they do have their own email address and simply reply
to anyone that emails them for information. They are useful if
you want to send out pre-prepared information to people requesting
it, as opposed to you replying to all the requests manually.
One other thing that is common amongst paid hosting accounts is
FTP access. FTP programs allow you to upload files and to edit and
delete your content on the server much more quickly than using a
web-based interface. If you are hosting on a *nix system, you will
also be able to change your file permission settings using FTP.
One of the better features I've seen offered with hosting, is the
ability for you to create your own FTP accounts. This is great when
you have someone helping out on the site or if you want to share
your web space while keeping your user's files separate from your
own. How hosts go about this can vary.
Some hosts will let you act like a mini hosting company, where
FTP accounts that you create takes them to a special users folder
specifically for their files; keeping them from your main files.
Other hosts will allow you to create FTP accounts that you can define
exactly which folders they have access to, and exactly what they
can (and can't) do with them.
While having the ability to create multiple FTP accounts may seem
trivial if you don't intend to host other sites on your web space;
it can be useful for allowing temporary or permanent access to anyone
helping you with your site, without you ever needing to give out
your own FTP account details. Now that is a feature worth having!
By Rosemarie Wise. - http://www.websiteowner.info