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(http://www.networksolutions.com/) , Register.com, dotster.com, or godaddy.com. Most
of these services also offer domain parking , a service that allows you to host your
domain with them temporarily until you choose a hosting provider or set up your own
server. The prices vary, so shop around before registering your domain.
Setting Up Your Own Server
If you're really courageous and want the ultimate in web publishing, running your own
website is the way to go. You can publish as much as you want and include any kind of
content you want. You'll also be able to use forms, scripts, streaming multimedia, and
other options that aren't available to people who don't have their own servers. Other web
hosts might not let you use these kinds of features. However, running a server definitely
isn't for everyone.
There are two options here. The first is to set up an actual computer of your own and use
it as a server. However, the cost and maintenance time can be daunting, and you need a
level of technical expertise that the average user might not possess. Furthermore, you
need some way to connect it to the Internet. Many Internet service providers won't let
you run servers over your connection, and putting your server in a hosting facility or get-
ting a full-time Internet connection for your server can be costly. However, this might be
the right answer if you are setting up a website for internal use at your company or orga-
The second option is to lease a virtual server. Applications exist that enable companies to
treat a single computer as multiple virtual computers. They then lease those virtual com-
puters to people to use for whatever they like. So for a modest price, you can lease a vir-
tual server over which you have full control. From your perspective, it is your computer.
Companies such as Slicehost (http://slicehost.com) and Linode (http://linode.com) offer
virtual servers, as does Amazon.com through their EC2 service.
If you can't afford to pay a web hosting provider to host your website, some free alterna-
tives exist. For the most part, free sites do not offer the opportunity to create your own
pages by hand and deploy them. Instead, there are services that host particular kinds of
content like weblogs (http://www.blogger.com/), journals (http://www.livejournal.com/) ,
or photos (http://www.flickr.com/). These are just some examples. The trade-off is that
the pages on these sites have advertisements included on them and that your bandwidth
usage is generally sharply limited. There are often other rules regarding the amount of
space you can use, too. Free hosting can be a good option for hobbyists, but if you're
serious about your site, you'll probably want to host it with a commercial service.
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