One of the first steps in self-publishing in the internet is to learn some basics of webhosting. In this article I’ll go through some basic terms that will help you if you are just considering to get yourself a domain name and webhosting.
Domain name is simply the internet address of your site. For example this post is originally published at GameProducer.NET which is the domain name of my site. Domain names cost around $10 per year. GoDaddy is one popular domain name registrar. I personally have been using Namecheap which – even with a bad sounding name – has worked fine years for me.
Space (or storage)
space is the number of megabytes or gigabytes you can store files on your webhost. For example, if you have a game that takes 7 megabytes of space from your harddrive, and your webhosting provider has granted you 50 megabytes, then you could upload your game to the server and still have 43 megabytes space left for emails, website and other files.
Bandwidth is the amount of traffic your site can receive – in other words: how many downloads your game can get. For example, if your 7 megabyte game is downloaded by 1000 people, you would need to have 7000 megabytes (about 7 gigabytes) of bandwidth quota to handle all the traffic. Bandwidth is usually checked monthly, which means that with 10 gigabytes of bandwidth you can get this amount of traffic each month.
Shared hosting means that you share the server with other people. This is the typical way to set up a webhosting. There are plenty of companies that offer hosting, and here are some guidelines on how to pick a webhost for you. When we were starting we used Hostgator and it worked fine for our needs in the beginning.
Reseller hosting is suitable for people who have several domains or want to start selling web hosting for others. Reseller is quite similar to shared hosting. The major difference is that resellers are able to create new accounts with different package options. For more information about reseller hosting, I recommend checking out the reseller forum at webhostingtalk.com.
Virtual Private Servers (or VPS)
A virtual private server is a step higher from reseller hosting. VPS means that you get your own part of a server so that theoretically if some other account (in the same server) is causing problems, your site function okay. I’ve had bad experiences with VPS which makes me bit poor example to tell you that I won’t recommend them, I’m sure there are good VPS solutions, but our $50 monthly VPS certainly wasn’t working for us. I would rather recommend to find a few people together and purchase a dedicated server and split it among you.
Dedicated servers are just that: servers dedicated to you. You get your fully own server without fear that other people would slow your site down. Dedicated servers cost more, but they provide faster and better webhosting. At the moment I have split the server with my business partner. We are using LiquidWeb and so far it’s been working fine for us.