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Development, Web Hosting

If a picture can tell a thousand words, then a video can be even more effective on your blog or website. You can add your favorite YouTube video to your blog by following these easy steps.

Have you ever been midway through a software development project, and had your client request a change in features?

That never happens in software development - said no one EVER, right!? Because it happens pretty much all the time.

Drupal lets you define just about any type of content you can imagine using the Taxonomy module. Here's how to create a form that lets regular users create taxonomy terms, without being able to modify existing terms.

Quick Response Codes - QR codes for short - can be linked to web pages. Here's how to create one that links to your website.

Question: I've seen people's blog posts showing up in their Facebook and LinkedIn profiles. How do they do that? Answer: (this question is waiting for an answer. If you know the answer, please feel free to use the comment form below and be sure to leave your name and a link to your website, so I can give you credit for your answer)

Question: I have an idea for a new website, but how do I get the web site name, and how much will it cost?

I'm often asked how to set up a website, either for personal use or for a new business. Fortunately, it's easy and very affordable to create a new web site, or to add a blog or forum to an existing web site. You don't even have to know HTML or web programming, thanks to several free and powerful website templates.

Here are three steps to creating a new web site from start to finish.

Check if your domain name is available.

A domain is the name of your website, such as rickysays.com or dad-eblog.com. Domains normally end with .com, .org, .net, .biz, and .info - the most popular being the .com ending.

Here's a link to check if your domain name is available: Check now (click "Domain Check" once you're there)

Checking if a domain is available is completely free, and there's no obligation to purchase the domain. However, if you think of a great idea for a website name, you're smart to reserve it as soon as possible - before someone else snatches it for themselves!

In fact, most web hosting providers give you a free domain name when you sign up with them - read on:

Sign up with a web hosting provider.

A web host is a company that stores your web pages and makes them viewable on the Internet. They also provide email accounts, blogs, forums, and even online store fronts.

Most web hosting providers include free website template building software to help the average non-programmer build a web site, such as SiteBuilder or the CoffeeCup software suite that Lunarpages offers. These are great tools that can help you get your new web site up and running very quickly.

However, if you want to customize any of your web pages with some dynamic behavior then you'll need to know a web programming language like PHP, ASP, Java, Perl, or Ruby. For example, let's say you want to make some money from advertisements on your web site. A common practice is to use an ad banner rotation script that displays a different advertisement every time the page is refreshed.

The most common web programming language that's supported by the majority of web hosting providers is PHP. This is a widely supported programming language that's used to build millions of web sites, including this one. You won't have any problems finding a web host that supports PHP, and all of the web hosts listed in my Web Hosting Provider Comparison support PHP.

You'll have a little harder time finding a web host that supports ASP or Java however, and especially Ruby although it's starting to become more popular. ASP is Microsoft's popular scripting language that uses Basic syntax, and Java is Sun's creation.

Here's a list of web hosting providers and the programming languages that they support:

Web Host PHP Perl Ruby ASP/
Blue Host
IX Web Hosting

* Last updated June 27, 2007

Choosing a web host that supports a wide variety of programming languages is a wise choice, because it increases your chances of finding a web developer who can help you customize your site.

Bandwidth is the amount of data that can be downloaded from your website in a given month. Every time someone visits one of your web pages, they're downloading anywhere from 10KB to several megabytes of data depending on the content of your web page.
So how do you know if your web hosting account has enough bandwidth?

Back in the days of dial-up modems, bandwidth was expensive (and so was web hosting). I can remember paying $24.95 for a 100 MB of web traffic a month. Dial-up modems have been replaced by smoking fast broadband modems that can easily download 100 MB in just a few quick minutes. That means visitors to your website are able to download far more data than ever before.

Fortunately web hosting providers offer far more bandwidth than they did in those days, and for much less money. Take a look at my web hosting provider comparison and you'll see that even the worst provider on my Steer Clear List (GoDaddy) offers 5 GB of monthly bandwidth, and for only $3.99 a month.

Webmaster Tip:

You can check your monthly bandwidth statistics to see how many people are visiting your web site. Visit your web hosting account Control Panel (cPanel) and select "Web/FTP Stats". You'll see a link for Bandwidth, which will give you the number of bytes transferred for each of your sites.

To help answer the question of how much bandwidth is enough for your site, let's look at a real life example. I run over 10 active websites on a single HostMonster web hosting account. Here are my monthly bandwidth transfer stats for June, 2007 which add up to about 5 GB (as of the 25th). A few of these sites get over 200 unique visitors a day, which takes a lot more time and effort to generate than most people realize.

prosoftapps.com 3.57 Gig
online-etraining.com 494.54 Meg
dad-eblog.com 412.51 Meg
blogbelt.com 339.50 Meg
roadbikeaddicts.com 153.41 Meg
sellsharewareonline.com 97.11 Meg
restlesslimbs.com 86.03 Meg
myfamilyspaces.com 68.41 Meg
dog-eblog.com 32.35 Meg
online-ecoupons.com 30.17 Meg

GoDaddy's web hosting account clearly wouldn't cut it for me, but how many people will need this much bandwidth or will have this many websites? I suspect the average person will start out with a single web site and will do fine with an economy web hosting plan for the first year or two.

But let's say your website becomes successful much sooner than you anticipated. Maybe you've thought of an idea that's destined to become the next Digg.com or you're sure you have the real answer to Ask.com. Almost overnight your bandwidth requirements could become a major roadblock to your goals and dreams.

You know the old saying "You never know with the Internet..."

Take another look at the web hosting provider comparison page and look how much bandwidth the recommended web hosts are providing. Lunarpages offers a whopping 3500 GB of monthly bandwidth, which is literally 700 times the bandwidth I'm currently using for all 10 of my active websites!

Monthly bandwidth is an important consideration when considering which web hosting provider to choose. However, with many web hosts offering far more bandwidth than most web sites could ever dream of needing, it no longer needs to be the deciding factor.

Instead, find out what kind of hardware your web host is using (CPU, memory, hard drive space/speed), how many other accounts are sharing the same server that your site is running on, and the extensibility of your account (the number of sites you'll be able to run on a single account). These factors will have a greater impact on your web site's performance than bandwidth, and will help ensure that your site holds up the next time it gets the vote on StumbleUpon or Plime.

I highly recommend HostMonster or Lunarpages if you're looking for top notch web hosting at an affordable price. I've worked directly with both of these companies for many years, and they'll provide you with the best value for your money when compared to other hosting services (free add-on domains, high bandwidth limits, numerous databases, and great technical support).


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