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The Indefinite Article.

Saturday, November 08, 2003

Re: Computer Questions


  • Domain Name: To get anthonyfreda.com you must register anthonyfreda.com with a domain name registrar. The biggest (and not the cheapest) of these is verisign.com. Most domain name registrars also offer web site hosting or at least domain name parking, where you can reserve a domain name before you get hosting set up. One thing to be on the look out for: some registrars actually register the domain name in their name and then you rent it from them. While any domain name has a periodic fee attached, getting locked into a renting arraignment will limit your flexibility long-term.
  • Web Site Hosting: Web site hosting generically describes the wide variety of services available to store your website and send web pages to people who request them. In evaluating web site hosts, you first have to decide if you want:
    • Co-location: where you own the computer and rent a space in a datacenter with power and a network connection. You pay for bandwidth too. Probably not what you are looking for.
    • Dedicated Hosting: where they own the computer and you rent it from them and pay for bandwidth too. They take care of computer maintenance and backups. Nobody else's website is on the computer. Probably overkill for you.
    • Shared Hosting: where you are renting usage on a computer that is shared with other people (which is invisible to you and to your website visitors). More affordable than dedicated hosting, they take care of computer maintenance and backups. This is probably what you want.
    • DIY Hosting: where you buy an internet connection and a computer and have the domain name point at it. This is funner, but probably not what you are looking for.
    To evaluate hosts you will be looking for:
    • Reliability
    • Space How much stuff can you put on the server? If you are putting up a lot of Anthony's work, then you may need additional space.
    • Bandwidth describes how many web pages/images can your web site host serve up. What is the maximum traffic you think you will have? Is that less than a standard hosting plan? What does additional bandwidth cost from a hosting company?
    • Database/Scripting Access depending on how you build your site, you may need access to a database back end or a scripting language. In part, the web site development will pick your host because most hosts do not support unlimited languages. At its most basic you are looking at Microsoft's ASP (Active Server Pages) or a Unix host with Perl, PHP (PHP Hypertext Preprocesor). Either can also run languages like JSP (Java Server Pages) or CFM (Coldfusion Markup).
    • Cost most expensive may not be more reliable or offer as many goodies
    • Other features such as email hosting, backups, etc.
  • Web Site Development: How does a web site get built? You probably want something a little more elaborate than some text files. What is the purpose of the web site? Is it simply an Internet brochure? Does Anthony also want to use it as a tool for clients to download art? Once you get some theoretical questions out of the way and figure out what you want to do, the web site developer outlines functional requirements for the web site and analyzes whether off-the-shelf software can be used or if you should invest in custom software. The balance between the choices can be described as "no need to reinvent the wheel" vs. "can't put a square peg in a round hole." Other key considerations along with web site function are navigation, graphics, and initial content.


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