Website Hosting also Free Choices

Standard
Nowadays I see a lot of folks talking about web hosting. Most of the time, people don’t know that different websites require different solutions and therefore different hosts. They also don’t know the difference between a host and a domain name, and that there are services for each one of those problems. Here I will try to tackle this a little bit and give you a few suggestions.Thus, by the end of this article, you should be able to answer the following questions on your own:

  • What is Web Hosting and Domain Naming?
  • Is a Domain Name absolutely necessary?
  • What are the main difference between Static Web pages and Dynamic We pages?
  • Is my website static or dynamic?
  • What free solution should I pick to host my website?

Definitions

For the purpose of this article, we will use the following definitions of web hosting and domain naming as follows:

Web Hosting

Consists in hosting and keeping files and data for websites, in machines called servers, that give away part of they available disk space to maintain the data. Web servers also provide internet access, which can be payed separately.

Domain Name

A name owned by a person or a company, made of a string composed by letters, number and special characters, used as an internet address that identifies the location of specific webpages.

So, now that we have these two aspects defined let’s see how they play together. A Web Hosting service, will give you a machine with a connection to the internet, where you can put your website’s data. Because the machine is connected to the internet, everyone can access it’s contents by using the machine’s IP address. However, IP numbers are long sequences, and are also very hard for people to memorize. To fix this problem, the Domain Name System was created. Shortly put, this system maps IP numbers, to website names that you can memorize.

Your needs

So, now that you know that Web Host service will give you a computer (server) to store data, and a Domain Name service will map the server’s IP address into a name that people can memorize, it is time to understand what your web site needs.

To know what your website needs, you must know the type of your website. Websites are made of Web Pages, and there are two main types of these:

  1. Static Web page: Also called flat page/stationary page, this is usually a web page that never changes, and that presents the same content in the same way to all users no matter what. Static Web pages are usually made using only HTML and CSS, and are the easiest to create because they don’t require databases, nor advanced programming skills. Some Static Web Pages can also use javascript and jquery to present content, but there is never the need to store data from the user in any case. To deploy a static Web page, all you need to do is to place your files in a server connected to the internet.
  2. Dynamic Web Page: A dynamic web page is generated in real-time. These pages usually include web scripting code and require access to databases in order to keep and manage information from users or programs. These Web pages usually use frameworks, and languages like Ruby, PHP, Python, Java, Javascript and so on to make the communication with the server’s local database easier.

With this information we can then make the following statement: If a Website contains one or more Dynamic Web pages, it is a dynamic website, otherwise it is a Static Website.

Overall, Static Websites are easier to create, and are ideal for beginners. Dynamic websites, require more knowledge and are harder to create, but they are a lot easier to maintain then static websites due to all the automation they have.
The list of advantages and disadvantages between static and dynamic websites goes longer, but these are the basics you need to know.

Your choices

So, now that you probably know the type of website you are building, it’s time to evaluate the market that exists. The important thing here is the type of Web hosting service that you will need. Some web hosts only allow for static web sites, while others also allow for dynamic.
Domain Name services are independent of your web host, however, sometimes the web host company also provides an integrated web naming service that you can use.

Free Web Hosting for Static Websites:

Free Web Hosting for Dynamic Websites:

All these web hosts will make your webpage available online for everyone for free, however they will create very long and horrible links for your websites. This is where Domain Naming comes in.

Free Domain Naming services:

Using Custom Domain with Google Drive:

Using a Custom Domain with Dropbox:

An alternative to choosing a domain and a name for your website is also URL shortening:

Free URL shorteners services:

For more information about this section, please visit the Sources Section.

Summary

By now you should be able to answer the formulated questions presented in the introduction. Web hosts provide servers that can hold your data and are connected to the internet. Domain Names are pretty much “masks” that map IP addresses and other horrible long names into string that people can actually memorize. URL shorteners can therefore be seen as a sort of Domain Naming service, provided of course that you can actually memorize the URL they give you.
Last but not least, the more complex your website is, the more complete the service you rent must be. Dynamic websites many times require complex online platforms such as Heroku or Google Apps to be deployed, and there are many others out there depending on the language set you use.

Sources:

Definitions:

Web hosting: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_hosting_service
Web hosting: http://www.w3schools.com/hosting/default.asp
Domain Name: http://www.techterms.com/definition/domain_name
Domain Name: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/domain+name
IP address: http://www.techterms.com/definition/ipaddress
Domain Name System: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domain_Name_System

Your Needs:

Static Web Page: http://www.techterms.com/definition/staticwebsite
Static Web Page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Static_web_page
Dynamic Web Page: http://www.techterms.com/definition/dynamicwebsite
Dynamic Web Page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamic_web_page
Static website’s advantages, disadvantages and examples: http://nellen.co.za/static-websites
Dynamic vs Static Websites, what’s the difference?: http://www.edinteractive.co.uk/article/?id=4

Your Choices:

Dropbox free web Hosting: http://www.groovypost.com/howto/host-simple-website-dropbox-free-hosting/
Best free Domain Naming services: http://www.prchecker.info/web-hosting/best-free-domain-name-services/
How to Host a Website on Google Drive : http://www.codeitpretty.com/2013/03/how-to-host-website-on-google-drive.html
Extra URL shortners: http://www.webdevelopersnotes.com/resources/shorten-url.php

Special Thanks

 

Hope that helps.

Lima Kilo

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