All About Web Sites, Hosting and Domain Names

If you’re new to the world of websites, here’s the basics of what you need to know about the various pieces that make up the ownership of a website.

The InterWeb

Domain Names

The first, and most important part of the whole web site system is the domain name, such as google.com or cnn.com. This domain name is your on-line identity. It is obtained from an official internet domain name registering company, such as Network Solutions, Register.com, or GoDaddy. You can change your web site, move to different web servers all you want and people can still get to you the same way they always have. This is because the domain name is configured to point to the current web server. Besides your web identity, it also serves as your email identity.

The domain name needs to be legally owned and ultimately controlled by the person or business it is for. It is common to delegate tasks related to the name (like making sure it points to your web server and making sure the renewal fee gets paid) but you, the owner, have the final say in who get these jobs. When Element Engage does a web site for someone just getting an on-line presence, we often obtain the name for them. But make sure the ownership is in the client’s name and that they understand how to take care of it.

Cost is around $15 per year per name. You can find much cheaper prices around, but keep in mind the extreme importance of the domain name. It’s very important that you trust the registering company and have the ability to control the name yourself. Losing control of your domain name means losing control of your web site.

Web Hosting

The second part is the web host. This is the physical computer server on which your web site lives. Basically, the domain name is set to point to this server. It can be located anywhere in the world. The server is always on and always connected to the net. There are different types of servers with different features, but they all serve the same basic purpose of sending out your pages to people who ask for them.

Cost generally depends on the size of your web site, the amount of traffic you get and the features you require. However, cost for very similar services range from one provider to the other quite a bit.

Element Engage utilizes high performance web servers located in reliable data centers within the United States. These servers run Unix, or Linux, operating system with Apache web server software. This type of web server is the most secure, most reliable, and most common available today.

Web Sites

The third part is the web site. This is the group of files that are located on the web server. This is what you see on your screen, so not too much explanation is required. There are mainly two different types of sites; static and dynamic.

Static sites are traditional sites that simply show pages with information on them. There may also be simple animations and forms to fill out. The content on static sites needs to be put in place by someone with a fair amount of technical ability, like a webmaster.

Dynamic sites, like WordPress, are sites where the pages are assembled on the server depending on what the user requests. They are typically used for sites where company staff members frequently change content or for sites that offer interactivity, like blogs and forums, where the visitors themselves can make content appear on the pages. For many dynamic sites, once the webmaster puts the web site into action, changes may be made by delegated people via a Content Management System. This allows a non-technical person to do most of the web site maintenance, thus saving on webmaster costs. Predictably, static sites are cheaper than dynamic sites to implement. But, depending on how often the site will be updated, dynamic sites may be cheaper in the long run.

Either type of site can be very effective in getting your message across to the visitor. Dynamic sites are generally more search engine friendly, faster and more reliable. However, even though dynamic sites allow a world of opportunity, they require continual watching and software version updates to remain stable and secure.

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From writing to video and imagery to the complexities of the web and digital media, the goal for me is to bring it all together for you. The name of my company, Element Engage, which comes from the idea of bringing all of these elements together and engaging them for you within one service.

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