Hosting a website is not as easy a task as it may first appear. A little foreknowledge can help both when shopping for a new site, and when administering it once the purchase is made. This articles covers some online resources that will provide good basic information.
Website hosting isn't like basic home phone service. Once a plan is purchased it doesn't just happen like hooking up the telephone. There are complexities to both buying and maintaining a website, not to mention creating one in the first place. Going blindly into the process can cause problems when things do not go as smoothly as hoped. The web offers a great deal of resources to those unfamiliar with the basic terminology and processes. This article covers a few that are easy to find and provide accessible information.
Completely New to the Internet
Those new to both the Internet as a whole, much less website hosting, have a little catching up to do. The BBC provides a fun visual guide to the absolute basics of the Internet with its "Webwise Online Course". The course is available both in Flash and text versions. The Flash version is more visually engaging, and the Flash plugin should be fairly simple to obtain if it not already installed by default. Webportal About.com offers an entire section on the Internet for Beginners as well. They provide a variety of articles covering everything from email to web search and introductory netiquette.
Website Hosting Resources
Finding learning resources dealing specifically with website hosting can be difficult among the rather prolific variety of sites that would like to teach you and sell you hosting at the same time. Most significant website hosts have some learning resources on their sites, and these resources are important because they deal specifically with the applications their customers need to learn in order to use their hosting. It is important to choose a host with a solid online learning / tutorial section that clearly explains their tools.
More general information on website hosting as a whole can be found at the Devshed Web Hosters Portal. Along with articles dealing with current topics in the website hosting industry, they provide a variety of FAQs and HowTos that are more suited to the beginner than the seasoned professional. Learning this information is important before setting out to shop for website hosting services, as it will enable the customer to more objectively analyze the claims their prospective host is making.
There are a variety of forums devoted to website hosting, though these may or may not be friendly for the beginner. One of the largest is Web Hosting Talk. It is heavily trafficked and represents a good snapshot of current issues in the industry. There is usually no shortage of posters who will help out someone new to website hosting with answers to their questions.
Website Design Resources
Unlike hosting, the web is replete with forums, sites, and tutorials devoted to website design issues. What one will find useful in these resources is dependent on what is expected. Those seeking to learn the actual code behind websites, HTML, XTHML, and CSS for example, may find the W3Schools online tutorials useful. The W3Schools provide tutorials for everything from basic HTML to advanced scripting and database languages. They are presented in small, encapsulated formats, easy to take in short doses. About.com also has a web design section with various resources that cover not only coding, but common design programs such as Dreamweaver.
The web is well-stocked with resources to give the novice a helping hand. Hosting a website requires some basic skills and knowledge regarding the methods by which the hosting works. The resources listed in this article are by no means the only ones available. Open up your search engine of choice and more will be found easily. The resources provided by the hosting company are important as well, as they provide specific information on the applications the user needs to know in order to administer their account.