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Help...I'm drowning in web hosting information!

by dleona53 / January 15, 2012 2:07 AM PST

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<span style="'font-family:" "Arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 11pt;'>I'm new to
the forums and I'm looking for some experienced advice from the veterans. Thank
you to all who take the time to read this and offer any help.
<span style="'font-family:" "Arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 11pt;'>I have
"some" web building experience. I know basic html, Dreamweaver,
(cough, cough) access. I've built mock websites for college and work projects
but never an actual "commercial" website. <?xml:namespace prefix =" o" ns =" "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office"" /><o:p></o:p>
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<span style="'font-family:" "Arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 11pt;'>I've been
getting into PHP and MySQL to build a new website I have in mind. After getting
about half way through a decent beginner's book, I'm starting to realize I will
need a good amount of time to get up to speed to code the type of website I
have in mind myself. Given how much web hosting and tech has changed since I
bought Dreamweaver (7 years ago?) I started researching possible web hosting
solutions that could do most of the coding work for me behind the scenes and
let me get started sooner. I never realized there would be so many possibility
and almost as many stories of past hosting company going under leaving the
website owner to find a new host. Also what I've learned as a project manager
regarding software is that often times there are the consumer versions of
products for those that dabble and business versions for those serious about
what they want to do. Add to that way too many web hosts promising the moon and
I just can't help but to feel this is a smarter way to get the right information (asking
here)...for what I'm looking to do.<o:p></o:p>
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<span style="'font-family:" "Arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 11pt;'>So here are
the details on the website I'm looking to build:<o:p></o:p>
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<span style="'font-family:" "Arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 11pt;'>1. A user
content driven website with the possibility (every website builder's dream
right?) of the input/use growing very large. Most content will remain on the
site for reference. The content will initially be mostly text but some video
which may eventually grow in content real estate. <o:p></o:p>
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<span style="'font-family:" "Arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 11pt;'>2. I'm assuming
the web host will need to have database software back ending the website. If
it's out there, it would be nice just to build the forms and let the software
code for the database end as well as generate the queries when users request
info. The database(s) wouldn't be terribly complex...4-6 tables, if that.
(automatic database coding may be a given, but I'm new to web hosting offering
build services.)<o:p></o:p>
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<span style="'font-family:" "Arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 11pt;'>3. Message
board capability and building software. Again if it's out there, more of a drop
and drag and let the coding take care of itself. This seems like standard fare
though for message boards. <o:p></o:p>
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<span style="'font-family:" "Arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 11pt;'>4. Of course
general website building software as well. A good library of professional
templates doesn't hurt. <o:p></o:p>
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<span style="'font-family:" "Arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 11pt;'>My first
main concern is scalability for possible future growth. Most hosts seem to
offer unlimited size and traffic, but as an <span style="'font-family:" "Arial","sans-serif";'>extreme example what happens if your
site starts approaching Ebay like proportions in terms of size and traffic. I
have to believe there is a limit to "unlimited" and finding a host
that won't translate increase size into decreased speed. And forgive my newbie
ignorance, but it appears database size is different (and often limited) then
website size. Can someone clear that up for me as it seems they both make up
the website, why are they grouped separately when quoting limits?<o:p></o:p>
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<span style="'font-family:" "Arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 11pt;'>My second
concern is strong security provided by the host.<o:p></o:p>
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<span style="'font-family:" "Arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 11pt;'>My third
concern is if you haven't inferred my laziness yet, a quality host with very
easy to use front end software that codes by itself in the backend. I'm mainly
looking at being able to build forms that code the database and pulls the
subsequent user frontend queries themselves. I have found things like Caspio
(an easy to use database piece by itself however costly) but I just can't help feeling a few
web hosting sites probably offer it all. <o:p></o:p>
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<span style="'font-family:" "Arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 11pt;'>It will be downright
foolish of me to finish up whining about costs. It is a reasonable concern but
at the bottom of my list. <o:p></o:p>
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<span style="'font-family:" "Arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 11pt;'>Thanks
again!<o:p></o:p>
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<span style="'font-family:" "Arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 11pt;'>Dan<o:p></o:p>
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Clarification Request
Unreadable.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 15, 2012 4:53 AM PST

Not your fault. Try again?

All Answers

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Answer
I'll be as straightforward as I can
by Sovereign Forum moderator / January 15, 2012 3:48 PM PST

<b>1. A user
content driven website with the possibility</b>.
I immediately think of Content Management System (CMS), because it allows for user roles and provides user's with the ability to publish content right out of the box.

2. I'm assuming the web host will need to have database software back ending the website.
Most web hosts will have that if they allow you to install a CMS.

<b>3. Message
board capability and building software.</b>
A popular CMS will most likely have a plugin for this or the ability to build this out.

4. Of course general website building software as well.
If you use a CMS, that's given as well.

Most hosts seem to offer unlimited size and traffic.
Yes, but no. They say unlimited for things like space, bandwidth, emails, etc, but usually in the fine print you'll notice that because you are on a shared server, you are not allowed to use more resources than the average user. If you do, they can and will force you to purchase a higher plan. So, while it is probably a good idea to start out with a plan like that, if you're truly serious, you'll be looking at a VPS or something like it down the road. Also, regardless of which host you go with, backup, backup, backup. If things go sour, you can always take your data and go to another host.

It appears database size is different (and often limited) then website size.
Most of the time when they say you have x amount of space, that's including any files and your database combined. Rarely do I see hosts separate those two, but some do, so it will depend on who you go with. It's best for them to be combined so you don't have to worry about that.

My second concern is strong security provided by the host.
If you're on a shared host, security should be a concern.There are going to be many other people on the same server under the same IP address. If any one of them screws up or gets the IP blacklisted, it will affect you. If security is a big concern, I would not recommend a shared host, but rather start with an entry level VPS. You get a certain amount of space, ram, and your own IP address. I find it better to pay for something where you are guaranteed x, y, and z, as apposed to having that be a question mark and never knowing how close you are to outgrowing a shared plan. On a shared plan there are simply too many variables to deal with.

<b>A quality host with very
easy to use front end software that codes by itself in the backend</b>.
If you get a VPS with cPanel, and install a CMS, you'll be covered.

Recommendation:

I would recommend you take a look at Drupal. It's user friendly, scales well, and provides you with the flexibility to customize it and make it your own e.g. user-defined content types, views (Google it), etc. Furthermore, it's being actively developed and has a good community, which means there are tons of people that can help you... whether it's forums or you paying a developer to do something specific for you. In terms of hosting, I personally have a VPS with ServInt and I've been very happy with them. It's a managed service, so they take care of the core server and security. Take a look at them and make their services your baseline to compare them with other hosts.

~Sovereign

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