When it comes to web hosting, you will find that there are thousands of options out there, with hosts all over the world offering their services. Some will be large international companies with data servers in different continents, while others will be small independent web hosts who may be renting the servers that they use for the hosting.
The majority of web hosts will have a number of different options available for their hosting, with the most popular option being shared hosting. Others more advanced options include VPS (virtual private server) hosting or a dedicated server.
Shared hosting is what the majority of people who are getting started with websites and hosting will use. As the name implies, shared hosting is where the resources of a server are shared among hundreds, and potentially thousands, of clients, each with their own portion of resources such as disc space, data transfer, CPU usage and various others.
There are a couple of downsides with shared hosting in that there may be instances when other clients on the server are overusing the resources that they have been allocated, which in turn can affect every other user on the server, but these problems are often quickly resolved by the host when spotted. However, if you are using very cheap $1 a month shared hosting, then you should expect such issues to occur more frequently than you’d like.
Many web hosts like the shared hosting option as it is relatively easy for them to set up a server for this, and they can offer this for a much cheaper price when compared to something such as VPS hosting, which is a much more powerful option. You find some excellent comparisons of shared hosting at the Fortune Lords website, which is packed full of useful information and reviews.
Managing your hosting account
One of the most popular control panel systems for managing shared hosting accounts is cPanel. It is a very powerful system and provides you with everything you will need to effectively use your hosting account.
At first glance, you might sign into your hosting account and see the multitude of different sections and options of cPanel and feel a little nervous about how to use it. However, don’t worry. For most users, you will only ever need to use very few of the options in front of you. In this article, we will take a look at the most important features that you need to know to get your websites up and running.
The domains section of cPanel is where you add your domain name to the system. Depending on the hosting package that you signed up for, you might be limited to a single or small number of domains. Other packages will offer you the ability to add unlimited domains to the server, which is the best option if you are someone who has a large number of sites to manage.
To add a new domain to the hosting account, simply click on the “add-on domain” option. You will then need to enter the domain name and set the folder location for where the files for the site will reside. The folder for each domain name you add should be inside another folder which is called “public_html”. Sometimes you may actually need to enter this as well as your folder name when adding a site. Other times it might be set to default to that folder.
The file manager option is where you have the ability to manage all of the files on your hosting account. If you click on the “file manager” button, a new window should open in which you will see all of your files. For the website files, you will want to navigate to the “public_html” folder.
You can upload files to your site folders through the file manager, but this must be done one at a time. If you have a multitude of files to upload you should either compress everything into a zip or rar file to upload, and then decompress inside the folder, or to use an FTP program, which connects with the server and allows you to upload multiple files at the same time. If you do want to use an FTP program then FileZilla is an excellent choice. It’s a free download that is very powerful and extremely easy to use.
Once you have your website up and running, you will most likely want to create an email account for the site. Simply click the “email accounts” option, where you will be able to see any existing email accounts, as well as the ability to create a new one.
Simply click on the “new” button to create a new email account. Enter the name for your email, such as info, hello or anything else. Then select which domain name you want the email for. If you have multiple domains added to the hosting account, you simply use the drop down menu to select the one you want.
Then you enter your password – which should be a combination of numbers, letters and capital and lowercase. There is a password generator option that you can use to create an automatic password for you which will be secure. If you want to set up your email account in a program such as Outlook on your computer, then you can click for the email settings details, which will list all the information including the mail servers.
Alternatively, you could use the web based mail that cPanel provides, and log directly into the server to check or send any emails.
You can also set up any forwarders, so that copies of emails can be sent to additional emails, or even create autoresponders, which will automatically send a message any time an email is received.
Some closing thoughts
Hosting your own websites needn’t be something to be troubled or anxious about. There are just a few things you need to be aware of with your hosting package. There are lots of advanced features that you probably won’t ever need, so don’t panic when you open cPanel for the first time and see so many different sections and options.
As mentioned earlier, cPanel is the complete hosting management system, and provides a huge range of features that many power users may need, but for the average user, they probably won’t ever need to click on over 80% of the options on the screen. Of course, if you do have questions or need help, then get in contact with your host. They will be in the best position to assist you and take care of any problems you are facing.