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Defining Web Hosting

Maybe you have been surfing online for several years now.  Perhaps you have created accounts on a few social networks and you consider yourself to be an expert at handling email and RSS feeds.  But as far as website creation and management goes, you are basically a newbie.  So, you hired someone to design your website.  Now, though, you are supposed to make a decision about web hosting–and you aren’t even sure what that is.

Don’t worry–web hosting isn’t a difficult concept to understand.  In fact, after reading this short article, you will be able to answer when other people ask, “What is the definition of web hosting?”  So, read on–and you will soon be on your way to understanding why you need a web host for your website.

Perhaps the easiest way to think of web hosting is to imagine your website as a house that has been built in a factory, but that needs land on which to be placed.  A web host would be the land for your website; hosting providers give websites a place to live.

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Another way to understand what is the definition of web hosting might be to think of a web host as another computer that has a great deal of space.  Customers pay to put their websites on that space–the space on the web host–which allows their sites to be displayed online.

People who are just a bit more technical might understand that the web host is not merely another computer; web hosts provide the space for their customers on servers.  A server is a specialized type of computer that acts as a hub to connect computers.  Servers store and manage information as well; this is why they are used by web hosts for their customers’ websites.  Another function of servers is that they provide data backup and storage.  They also serve to provide email and internet access–chances are, you have already been using servers before when surfing the internet and accessing your own email.  The servers for web hosting providers aren’t all that different; they just hold more information.

So, why do you need web hosting for your website?  The short answer is that without it, no one except for you will be able to see your website.  You need web hosting in order for your website to be live; in other words, web hosting allows the world to have access to your site.  There are other services that are provided by web hosting providers, however.

Through a web hosting provider, you will be able to register a domain name–this is the address of your website, such as mywebsite.com.  You will also be able to have an email address at your domain name through which people (customers and clients, perhaps?) can contact you.  Your email may be something like myname@mywebsite.org.  A web host also allows you to back up your data online, manage the look of your site, and much more.

Web 2.0 Basics Page 4

Web 2.0 sites differ in their mission and purpose from traditional web pages. Some provide users the opportunity to share personal biographies, pictures and journals. Examples include sites like MySpace.com. This fast and growing site is popular among the young and old. Even celebrities use the site to post pictures, update their fans and promote their latest shows or movies.

One of the advantages of Web 2.0 is users can use it to express their opinions or passions, but also passively promote their products or services in the process. Here are some other common sites characteristic of this new trend.

Social Bookmarking Sites

Social bookmarking sites are sites that allow Internet users to classify and share their Internet bookmarks or favorites with others. They are similar to social networking sites, where users share content, personal photographs and other information. Social networking and social bookmarking sites alike both work to promote a community-type look and feel.

While the intent of social networking sites is more to create communities of like-minded people, social bookmarking sites concentrate more on increasing the popularity of common Internet bookmarks or favorites. You can tell the whole world what your passions are, and increase the page rank to your favorite sites, by placing tags on them and listing them in social bookmarking networks.

Social networks are nothing new, they have existed for decades on the Internet. Only recently however, have people taken a keen interest in their potential, especially from a marketing perspective. Think about it; you put bookmarks to all your blogs, sites and lists in a public forum. Others can link to your sites and click through to visit your sites through the social networking site you list with. You increase knowledge and awareness of your sites and also get free advertising and targeted traffic.

If the quality of information you provide is worthwhile, chances are you benefit tremendously from this new technology.

There is little difference between the two technologies, many use them as one in the same. If you do plan to use social networking or bookmarking sites to publicize your content, just be sure you do it in a non-threatening, non-confrontational and legitimate manner. No one likes a spammer, and you can spam social sites.

Remember, people join these sites and post information because they want quality links and information from real people. If you use the sites as a general “bulletin board” or classified ad, you diminish the value and might even get booted off.

In fact, one of the more commonly cited “drawbacks” of these sites is they do not rely on a standard set of tagging or keywords, so people can often set up unclear tags or fill the site with misspelled tags in the name of driving more traffic to their sites. Many sites are more likely to corrode as people use them more as a page rank boosting or search engine tool than to provide valuable information. Don’t book the same site repeatedly or you will get into trouble.

Weblogs

You’ve probably heard the term “blog.” This is short for web log or weblog. This is a site that allows users to create journal or diary-like entries in a chronological way. Users often post blogs or short entries and articles on information they are passionate about or have an interest in. Still others focus on providing content about news, entertainment or political commentary.

Many use these as online journals and diaries to communicate the latest and greatest events with their friends. Most bloggers now include photos and other graphic elements in their web pages, along with basic text. You can even use MP3 or videos to enhance the quality of content provided in blogs.

Most bloggers allow visitors to post feedback or comments about their blog entries, so in some ways web logs serve as a mini community or forum. Popular blogs may receive hundreds of visitors every month. There are search engines whose sole purpose involve tracking blogs and related sites, including Technorati.com for example.

Web 2.0 Basics Page 3

Now that you have a better idea of “what” Web 2.0 is, let’s look at some of the different platforms used by users. Remember, not all Web 2.0 sites are alike.

Web 2.0 and Business

Web 2.0 is not popular among consumers only. Businesses are now realizing the potential benefits Web 2.0 has to offer. While many consumers think of popular applications like MySpace when they ponder Web 2.0, many fail to connect this technology with its potential for business.

Corporations can reduce much of the expense associated with installing and configuring essential software and applications on individual computers when they take advantage of Web 2.0. Rather than have an IT manager set up, configure and maintain a company’s applications and software on corporate servers, a company can now access a vendor’s server to acquire the information they need for their company.

Companies can now also share information and collaborate with one another in new and interesting ways. This will require business managers to start thinking more horizontally, moving away from a hierarchical model of communicating to one where knowledge is shared freely among employees, suppliers, vendors and even competitors.

Some company’s are even encouraging their customers to take advantage of social networks to help them advertise. GM for example allowed consumers to create commercials for some of their popular vehicles a while back. While many of these left much room for improvement, such integration allows for greater innovation and shared interest among key agents – consumers.

A company can also help businesses make working more practical and simpler. Rather than have individuals use stand-alone systems only, company’s can now encourage the joint use of software and computers among multiple users. Data can easily be shared from one person to next, meetings can be held online, and problem solving can take place from a much broader perspective.

As with anything, there are drawbacks to using this technology, even in the world of business. Business entrepreneurs have to ensure they fully understand the implications and utility of using Web 2.0 before they adopt the technology. Many must also realize that this technology has existed for some time, but offers an interactive approach to marketing and everyday business operations. A company should examine how they can integrate Web 2.0 into daily operations while still hedging risks.

What We Learned

We 2.0 is a community-based platform or network, one encouraging shared participation and community effort. Web applications common to this new platform include both Web and non-web applications (like instant messaging). Using this new platform, end-users throughout the globe can share data, information, photographs, personal insights and more.

More and more businesses are also realizing the potential benefits of using a collaborative application and software such as that provided through Web 2.0 technologies. The entire way we do business is changing. Now that your interest is peaking, let us look at some of these applications, and the technology supporting Web 2.0.

Web 2.0 Sites

How do you know if you have landed on a Web 2.0 platform? Chances are, if you are asked to contribute to the content or body of knowledge contained on the site, you’ve hit the lottery. Most sites are those that encourage visitors to add their insights to a page, whether through ongoing commentary, through editing or by any other means available.