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Web Hosting - The Internet and How It Works
In one sense, detailing the statement in the title would require at least a book. In another sense, it can't be fully explained at all, since there's no central authority that designs or implements the highly distributed entity called The Internet.
But the basics can certainly be outlined, simply and briefly. And it's in the interest of any novice web site owner to have some idea of how their tree fits into that gigantic forest, full of complex paths, that is called the Internet.
The analogy to a forest is not far off. Every computer is a single plant, sometimes a little bush sometimes a mighty tree. A percentage, to be sure, are weeds we could do without. In networking terminology, the individual plants are called 'nodes' and each one has a domain name and IP address. Connecting those nodes are paths.
The Internet, taken in total, is just the collection of all those plants and the pieces that allow for their interconnections - all the nodes and the paths between them.
Servers and clients (desktop computers, laptops, PDAs, cell phones and more) make up the most visible parts of the Internet. They store information and programs that make the data accessible. But behind the scenes there are vitally important components - both hardware and software - that make the entire mesh possible and useful.
Though there's no single central authority, database, or computer that creates the World Wide Web, it's nonetheless true that not all computers are equal. There is a hierarchy. That hierarchy starts with a tree with many branches: the domain system.
Designators like .com, .net, .org, and so forth are familiar to everyone now. Those basic names are stored inside a relatively small number of specialized systems maintained by a few non-profit organizations. They form something called the TLD, the Top Level Domains. From there, company networks and others form what are called the Second Level Domains, such as Microsoft.com.
That's further sub-divided into www.Microsoft.com which is, technically, a sub-domain but is sometimes mis-named 'a host' or a domain. A host is the name for one specific computer. That host name may or may not be, for example, 'www' and usually isn't. The domain is the name without the 'www' in front. Finally, at the bottom of the pyramid, are the individual hosts (usually servers) that provide actual information and the means to share it.
Those hosts (along with other hardware and software that enable communication, such as routers) form a network. The set of all those networks taken together is the physical aspect of the Internet.
There are less obvious aspects, too, that are essential. When you click on a URL (Uniform Resource Locator, such as http://www.microsoft.com) on a web page, your browser sends a request through the Internet to connect and get data. That request, and the data that is returned from the request, is divided up into packets (chunks of data wrapped in routing and control information).
That's one of the reasons you will often see your web page getting painted on the screen one section at a time. When the packets take too long to get where they're supposed to go, that's a 'timeout'. Suppose you request a set of names that are stored in a database. Those names, let's suppose get stored in order. But the packets they get shoved into for delivery can arrive at your computer in any order. They're then reassembled and displayed.
All those packets can be directed to the proper place because they're associated with a specified IP address, a numeric identifier that designates a host (a computer that 'hosts' data). But those numbers are hard to remember and work with, so names are layered on top, the so-called domain names we started out discussing.
Imagine the postal system (the Internet). Each home (domain name) has an address (IP address). Those who live in them (programs) send and receive letters (packets). The letters contain news (database data, email messages, images) that's of interest to the residents.
The Internet is very much the same.
Web Hosting - How To Select A Web Host As with many purchases, our first impulse when selecting a web hosting company is to go with the cheapest. Hey, they're all alike, why pay more? Au contraire. There are a number of objective criteria that separates one web hosting company from another and money is only one of them. And not the most important one. Selecting a company based on price alone is equivalent to selecting an auto mechanic on price alone. Sure, he may maintain or fix your car cheaper. But will the car spend all the time in the shop and none on the road? The first consideration is 'horsepower'. Do they have the capacity to carry your load and deliver decent performance? Most hosting companies will advertise that they have huge bandwidth and hundreds of servers. They're usually telling the truth. But there's a difference between existing capacity and usable capacity. If they also have thousands of sites with millions of visitors per day the available or free capacity will be much lower. A big pickup truck may be able to tow 5,000 lbs. But not if it's already carrying 4,999. Be sure to ask about available capacity, and have the prospective company back it up with reliable numbers. If you can't interpret the information they provide, find someone to help you do so. Next, and a very close second, is reliability. A lot of power is worthless if it's cut often. Outages are a normal part of business. Even Google and Microsoft go down from time to time. The difference is, it happens rarely and they have failover plans. That means, if their site/system does go down it's either up again in a flash, or you never see the outage because a backup system kicks in automatically and seamlessly. Be sure to grill the company closely about their up time. They'll often tout 99.6%, or some such figure. But, like the on-time figures of the airlines, those numbers can be shaded by adjusting the definition of 'up time'. What matters to you is whether your visitors will be able to reach your site at any time of the day or night they might want to. Find out what systems, both technical and human, they have in place to deal with failures of all sorts. Servers can go down, networks can fail, hard disks can become defective and lose data even when the other components continue to work fine. The result is YOUR site is unavailable, which is all that matters to you. The web hosting company should be able to deal with all of that and have you up again very quickly. Last, but not least, is security. With the continuing prevalence of viruses and spam, you need to know that the web hosting company you select has an array of methods for dealing with them. That means a good technical plan and staff who are knowledgeable in dealing with those issues. The old saying: 'an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure' is more true here than anywhere else. All these issues are central to finding a web hosting company that can deliver the services you need. After those criteria are satisfied by a number of candidates, then you can start narrowing them down by price.
Understand Group Publishing (group publishing) When you want to have one your books published, you will work hard to get your book finished and then you will seek out a publisher. Sometimes it is very hard to find the right publisher, but the good news is that there are several different types of publishers that you can use to get your works on the market. Large companies are not your only option. The world of publishing difficult to break into and if you get an acceptance letter--that is only the start. There are many types of publishing companies out there and they all have a different way of publishing their products. Here is a look at some of the more common types of publishing including group publishing. Group Publishing: Group publishing is the process in which a large company publishes your work in the name of a larger company. For example, there are big name publishing companies out there. They operate smaller group publishing companies. The larger publishing company serves as a kind of umbrella over the smaller group publishing companies. Sometimes these companies operate several smaller companies that produce different genres of writing and books. This is also sometimes called trade publishing. For example, a large publishing group may produce best selling adult novels, but may also operate under a smaller name to produce certain non-fiction books, cookbooks or children?s books. Group publishing is a popular way to publish a book. Educational Publishing: Besides trade publishing, there is also educational publishing. These are companies that deal specifically with educational material. They may deal with only college textbooks, or they might deal with textbooks and materials for grades K-12. Besides textbooks, these companies might also produce other forms of educational material, which include posters, workbooks, CD-ROMS, software, testing material and maps. There are several big name educational publishing companies. University publishing?University Press: This type of publishing is not like group publishing and it is not the same as scholarly publishing. These types of companies are usually non-profit and are run by universities, colleges and even sometimes museums or other organization. These usually publish books by scholars and other specialists and they usually are used within the university system. Sometimes these books do get published by a larger trade publish; however, they do not market these types of books. Independent publisher: Independent publishers are often the best way to get your book published if you cannot find a publisher to produce your book. These are generally smaller companies that are privately owned. Many times, these companies only publish a handful of books each year and they usually are about certain subjects. They have the freedom to publish just about anything they wish. Software and other Media: You might not consider software and other types of media as being a publisher, but they are. Think of all the e-books, CD-ROMs and even books on tape that are on the market. These have to be published, too. These types of companies are often associated with larger trade publishers. In fact, many large publishing companies have their very own media publisher in house to take care of this type of publishing. It is a very large business and these types of publishers are just as important and lucrative as the large trade publishers. As you can see, there is a whole world of publishers out there waiting to get your book or other media published. If you do not have luck with a large trade publisher or group publisher, then don?t give up. Keep looking and the different types of companies out there until you find one that wants to work with you and your book.