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Which Web Hosting Plan Do I Need?


linux or windows?

how much space?

how many mailboxes?

how much bandwidth?

do i need web stats?

Many factors influence which web hosting plan is best for you and this page can't cover all eventualities and circumstances. It will however clear up most questions and help you make the right choice. If you get it wrong then don't worry too much as it is easy to upgrade from one plan to another. If you want to be absolutely sure then talk to us before you make your mind up. We are contactable during UK office hours Monday to Friday on 01386 792972 (from outside UK +44 1386 792972). It is well worth a try at other times too as we like what we do and are often here on Saturdays and weekday evenings. Failing that email us and we will get back to you.

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Linux Web Hosting or Windows 2000 Web Hosting?

Linux (and its close relation Unix) and Windows 2000 (and its close cousin Windows NT) are types of software (known as operating systems) that web servers use to do the kind of things that web servers do. You do not need to know any real detail of either to make a decision as to which you need but here a few guidelines.

By and large Linux/Unix servers are more efficient, run faster and so cost less than Windows 2000 or NT web servers for an equivalent configuration. Windows 2000 or NT servers generally offer more sophisticated features than Linux and Unix servers and make it easier to develop advanced web site functionality, especially where online database applications are concerned.

If your site, like most web sites, is what might be termed "brochure-ware" then Linux servers are ideal. By brochure-ware I mean a site that offers the kind of information that in the past might have been provided on paper in the form of brochures, newsletters or data sheets. Brochure-ware sites will offer some interaction through enquiry forms and can certainly incorporate online purchasing and other routine e-commerce functions.

If however your site incorporates an online searchable database or interactive chat facilities then Windows 2000 or NT will be a better bet in most cases. It will cost a bit more but you'll get that back in reduced development time and simply better functionality.

However if you are not sure then email us or call us on 01386 792972 and we'll help you decide by talking through the issues. However little you know about the technicalities of the internet don't worry, you probably know more than we do about your speciality. So we will explain without jargon and we'll get to the right answer together!

CLICK HERE FOR LINUX/UNIX WEB HOSTING

CLICK HERE FOR WINDOWS 2000/NT WEB HOSTING

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How Much Web Space Do I Need?

The web space you need is the sum total of the size of all the files you want to put on your web site. In general these will be html files, image files and possibly program files or scripts. If you have an online database then there will also be database files and all the stuff round the edges that supports a database. If your site is going to offer the opportunity to download files then the files for downloading come into the equation also.

The html files are usually pretty small and there is usually only one per page on the site. Image files are often more numerous, several per page, and a single image file can easily be as big as a whole web page's html file. So if you expect to have lots of pictures on the site then you might use a fair bit of web space. A database might have prices for ten types of coffee cup which would be very small file or it might include descriptions and prices in 35 languages and 125 currencies for a range of 50,000 different types of designer bed-socks which would be a very big file indeed.

Our smallest, lowest-cost plans include 10 MB, the next size up gives 50 MB, and so it increases through the range. Bear in mind that a typical html file is probably between 15 KB (0.015 MB) and 45 KB (0.045 MB), an image file shouldn't really ever be more than 50 to 100 KB (0.05to 0.1 MB) as it will load too slowly, and that a 2 MB database would not be a small database.

This tells you that usually other things will determine which plan you go for rather than web space. You will usually have more web space than you really need because it doesn't cost us very much! Disk drives, even on web servers, have huge capacities, great performance and low prices. All this section is trying to identify is the unusual requirement where there is a large demand for web space but this is not matched by other requirements. As always, if you are not sure, get in touch.

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You will usually have more web space than you really need because it doesn't cost us very much! Disk drives, even on web servers, have huge capacities, great performance and low prices. All this section is trying to identify is the unusual requirement where there is a large demand for web space but this is not matched by other requirements.

How Many Mailboxes Do I Need?

Generally email is a bit like the web space issue. You usually get more than you need. The one case however where it can be an issue is in choosing between the two lower cost plans.

The Starter Plan provides a single mailbox whereas the Business Plan provides ten mailboxes. In both cases each mailbox can have unlimited aliases. If you know what this means skip the next paragraph or so but if not read on!

A mailbox is a location where email arrives, a bit like a real mailing address. So a mailbox of mail@yourdomain.co.uk is a bit like, say, 99 Your Road, Your Town, Your Code would be where posted mail is concerned.

That mailbox can have several aliases. For example "fredsmith" might be an alias for "mail" and so anything sent to fredsmith@yourdomain.co.uk would end up in the mailbox called mail@yourdomain.co.uk just as a letter sent to Mr Fred Smith, 99 Your Road, YourTown, etc would physically be put into the same mailbox as a letter sent to The Occupier, 99 Your Road, etc.

The letters all land on the same doormat, you can see who they are for and you may choose not to open Fred's letters for him but there is no real security between the different aliases. You can set up as many "fredsmith@" aliases to a single "mail@" mailbox as you like and for a family or even small business web site that is just fine.

However if you require some privacy you need more mailboxes. Imagine you are a small business, you might not want the employees to see emails sent to the boss! It might be irritating for the technical department to sift through the hundreds of emailed sales enquiries generated by your wonderful web site to find the three a day sent to them. So give them each seperate mailboxes, sales@, technical@, boss@, whatever you like. They can still have multiple aliases per mailbox so charlie@, sidney@ and mabel@ can all end up in the same sales@ mailbox but each function can be kept seperate as far as you wish.

Each plan clearly states the number of mailboxes included, each mailbox can have as many aliases as you like and the whole thing is set up, without any need for technical expertise, through a special web page we give you called the control panel.

And if you are unsure - contact us.

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Each plan clearly states the number of mailboxes included, each mailbox can have as many aliases as you like and the whole thing is set up, without any need for technical expertise, through a special web page we give you called the control panel.

What is bandwidth anyway? And how much do I need?

Bandwidth is sometimes made a bit of a mystery by web hosting companies but it is a vitally important element of the web hosting you choose. It is simply a measure of how much load your web site puts on the facilities of the web server where your site resides. And obviously the higher the load the higher the cost is going to be.

Bandwidth is expressed usually as so many megabytes (MB) or gigabytes (GB) per month, so how is it measured? I'll try not to get too technical so please try to follow me.

Imagine we have a web page which has an html file with a size of 10 KB and the web page then contains two images, one of 15 KB and one of 25 KB, i.e. 50 KB in total. If someone calls that page through their browser then those three files totalling 50 KB will be downloaded from that site's web space onto the visitors PC so they can see the page. When that happens it consumes 50 KB of bandwidth. If that happens 20 times in a month then 20 x 50 KB or 1 MB of bandwidth per month will have been consumed.

So bandwidth is sort of related to the size of the files and the number of files and the number of pages and the number of visitors and how often they came back and so on ... The bottom line is that a busy site uses more bandwidth than a quiet one! So if your site starts off being quiet, but then becomes popular and it costs you a bit more for a bit more bandwidth, then usually you don't mind because it's the cost of success!

As with other aspects even the smallest plans we offer have a generous allocation of bandwidth but you need to be aware that it is a factor. In particular images and downloads can consume bandwidth greedily. If you are a software house and you let visitors download a demo of your software, and the demo is a 5 MB file (not large by demo standards) you consume 5 MB of bandwidth each time someone downloads it. Equally if you have a simple little personal web site which has a photo of your new grandson that has not been shrunk down for web site use (the photo that is !) you could again use up several MB of bandwidth.

250 MB per month is the bandwidth of our smallest lowest cost plan so don't get too worried as even that is a lot of files, pictures, downloads. However we would rather you were aware of the issue. Good bandwidth is the most important factor of quality web space. It is why we make a charge and you get good performance and why the freebie services can't give that performance.

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250 MB per month is the bandwidth of our smallest lowest cost plan so don't get too worried as even that is a lot of files, pictures, downloads. However we would rather you were aware of the issue. Good bandwidth is the most important factor of quality web space. It is why we make a charge and you get good performance and why the freebie services can't give that performance.

Do I Need Web Statistics?

Lets start by saying what web stats are.

Most web servers create what are called log files. These are files that sit on the web server and summarise all the activity that takes place on that server. Some of the information is gathered for technical purposes so we can spot any errors that occur and head off problems. Some is for commercial reasons so we can keep track of how much bandwidth individual users are consuming.

These log files contain lots of other information that is potentially of value to web site owners. This can include the number of visits the site has had, which pages the visitors looked at most often, even how long they stayed on each page. We can learn which sites visitors came from, which is mainly used to assess which search engines do us the most good, but is also very useful for measuring the value of reciprocal links from other web sites. We can even learn in some instances what phrase the visitor used to find us on a search engine.

Our lowest cost plan has some very basic web statistics but all others have sophisticated traffic analysis software. Good web stats don't come cheap! Almost the entire cost difference between our Starter Plan and the Business Plan is accounted for by the cost of the web stats. This why you get nothing worth having with a free hosting service.

So who needs it? If you ask me everybody! But then I'm biased. If the purpose of your web site is to enable your cousins in Australia and Canada to see up to date pictures of Aunt Edith's new canary then I guess it's not necessary, but even then I'd be curious to know how often they took a peek and when and whether anybody else ever took a peek also. On the other hand, if your site has any commercial ambitions to speak of, you really should have the best intelligence you can get. Which pages work best for you? Did that last change bring more visitors or did it least make the visitors who did come stay longer?

To View a Demo of UrchinĀ® Click Here

And of course, if you want to know more, get in touch.

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If your site has any commercial ambitions to speak of, you really should have the best intelligence you can get. Which pages work best for you? Did that last change bring more visitors or did it least make the visitors who did come stay longer?

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