Business Web Hosting

Happy April Fools’ Day!

Before we get to our regular Monday topic, Web Hosting, here’s a quick roundup of April Fools’ gags from Google, Sony, Twitter, and other companies.

And now, no fooling, back to web hosting. Specifically business web hosting.

business web hosting - business website plus hosting planBusiness Web Hosting Defined

What distinguishes regular web hosting from business web hosting? Sometimes nothing, because the terms are often used synonymously. But there certainly are several requirements for a web hosting service to be called business web hosting.

Business web hosting clearly means that the web hosting service is intended for businesses, probably small to medium-sized businesses (the term enterprise web hosting is often used for the largest businesses).

The number-one distinction for business web hosting would be from various forms of free hosting intended for personal consumer use. EarthLink Internet access, for example, gives dial-up, DSL, cable Internet and other subscribers a small amount of free webspace that we host on our home.earthlink.net domain (rather than at their own domain name). People typically use these very small, simple sites to share their interests or post something about their family.

Domain Web Hosting

Business web hosting would always be a domain web hosting service, meaning it would support your website at its own domain name (e.g., www.YourDomainName.com). EarthLink Web Hosting plans support from 5 to 50 domain names depending on the service level, and all plans come with one free domain name. Having your website at its own domain is the main requirement of a business web hosting service. (Take a look back at this post about the best website domain names for SEO, branding and online success.)

Business web hosting often provides domain email service as well, although some web hosting providers outsource this to another email provider. EarthLink Web Hosting plans come with from 100 – 1,000 business-class email accounts, so business employees’ and departments’ communication with customers is a branded experience. (See our previous post about domain email addresses for your business.)

Other business web hosting features may include FTP accounts, database support, support for multiple programming languages, content management tools, and marketing tools (our Business Website Plus plan provides a comprehensive suite of online marketing tools).

Ecommerce Web Hosting

When some people use the term business web hosting, they mean ecommerce web hosting: the hosting of a website with online store capabilities. While ecommerce hosting is always business web hosting, not all business website hosting is ecommerce hosting. Ecommerce hosting is specifically geared towards those businesses that need to provide real-time credit card processing on their website, so customers can buy from an online catalog or store, using an online shopping cart. However, not all businesses, even very large ones, need an online store.

Cloud Hosting and Dedicated Server Hosting

Other hosting terms related to business web hosting are cloud hosting and dedicated web hosting or dedicated server hosting.

Cloud hosting means building and hosting a virtual server in the cloud (at the cloud hosting provider) that is dedicated to one company (for that reason it is also called cloud server hosting). Cloud hosting isn’t always used for web hosting; often the cloud servers are used for application hosting or other IT needs. Cloud hosting for websites offers businesses a greater amount of performance, scalability and security, since the business website is on its own virtual server.

Dedicated server hosting is when you lease an entire physical server from a service provider such as EarthLink Business. When the dedicated server is used for a website it is called dedicated web hosting. Dedicated web hosting offers an even greater degree of control, reliability and security since you have control over an entire server housed and monitored by the hosting company.

If you have basic business web hosting or ecommerce web hosting needs, EarthLink Web Hosting offers six of the best web hosting plans. For very high-traffic sites or complex web hosting or security requirements, you should probably give EarthLink Business a call at 1-855-873-1393 to ask about Cloud Hosting or Dedicated Server Hosting.

 

12 Reasons to Get EarthLink Web Hosting

Happy Holidays from EarthLink Web HostingAn early Merry Christmas to all of you celebrating the holiday tomorrow!

In honor of the 12 days of Christmas (which traditionally start tomorrow or the day after Christmas), I decided to put together this quick list of 12 reasons to choose EarthLink for Web Hosting or ecommerce hosting. My apologies to all those features and benefits I didn’t have room to list here (there were so many on my complete list I almost expected to see “a partridge in a pear tree”).

  1. Experience and expertise: EarthLink has been a top web hosting provider since 1995. With almost 18 years experience satisfying our web hosting customers, we’re a provider you can trust.
  2. Helpful support: We’re a customer-first company that believes in providing customer support excellence. We offer easy-to-use DIY support tools, support by chat, and helpful toll-free phone support.
  3. Build your own website services: We make it simple (and affordable) for you to make your own business website with our free, easy-to-use website builder. Choose from our vast array of professionally designed templates, enter your business information to customize, and click to publish.
  4. Professional website design services: Our web design pros can work with you to build your business website based on your requirements and provide ongoing maintenance. Our low monthly pricing lets you avoid the steep upfront costs of most professional website design.
  5. Ecommerce web hosting services: If you need more than just a promotional website, we offer DIY and professional web design sites with full ecommerce capabilities: secure credit card transactions, robust online shopping cart, and more.
  6. Affordable prices: We don’t believe in cutting corners to be the cheapest, but at EarthLink Web Hosting we believe in providing you a great value. Our web hosting and ecommerce services are feature-rich, but you don’t have to be rich to afford them. It’s actually a great investment in the future of your business.
  7. Free domain names: When you sign up for EarthLink web hosting or ecommerce hosting, you get to choose a free domain name for your website.
  8. Free mobile websites: Most of our web hosting plans include a free mobile website that’s optimized for smartphones and tablets. That way even more people can find your website.
  9. Free SEO tools: Search engine optimization (SEO) can help you generate more traffic to your website. Our free tools help you optimize your business website for search engines and also list your website on 60+ online directories and GPS systems.
  10. Free social media tools: Our free SocialStream tool can help you take better advantage of the benefits of social media. Manage multiple social networks from one simple interface and simultaneously post to Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
  11. Free email marketing tools: Email is still an effective way to reach customers. Announcer Pro makes it easy to create compelling email newsletters, manage customer contact lists, and track in real-time the success of your email marketing campaigns.
  12. WordPress blog installer: WordPress is the #1 blogging software in the world, making it simple for you to build and maintain a blog for your business. Our WordPress Installer is designed to work seamlessly with your EarthLink Web Hosting account.

Happy Holidays from all of us at EarthLink!

The Difference Between “Standard” and “eCommerce” Web Hosting Plans

EarthLink Web Hosting now offers two main web hosting plans: Traditional and eCommerce Web Hosting plans. One of these plans will fit your online business needs perfectly.

Both plans (the “web hosting” and “ecommerce web hosting” plans) can be either Do-It-Yourself (you either code your own site or use our easy-to-understand template-based site builder) or Do-It-For-Me (an EarthLink professional web designer builds your site for you).

(Check out our comparison article if you want to learn more about these options)

EarthLink’s ecommerce hosting plan includes the features of a web hosting plan with one main addition: ecommerce plans also include an online store (also called a “shopping cart”) that allows customers to buy products within your website using a credit card.  This is a wonderful choice for businesses that sell hard goods (like mugs, keychains, teddy bears, etc).

A standard web hosting plan does not include an online store, and is good for service-oriented businesses (such as a counselor, dog groomer, or other appointment-needed business model).  The website promotes your business (and it will probably generate calls that eventually turn into sales), but is not a web “store.”

Ecommerce hosting plansare priced higher than standard hosting plans, but being able to sell online can quickly offset that cost, especially when the following features are also included:

  • StoreCreator Pro – Easy-to-use shopping cart builder.
  • Rapid SSL Certificate – Secures online transactions; increases customer confidence
  • One-Page Mobile Website *
  • Call Tracking – Call-tracking and analytics service helps you improve your online and offline marketing. You get a unique toll-free or local phone number so you can track and record customer calls. Includes click-to-call and other features.
  • Advanced Website Template Gallery – More than 5,000 templates to chose from.*
  • OneList – Enhances SEO with directory listings submissions to 60+ North American-based online directories.*
  • Announcer Pro – Send your customers engaging email newsletters using graphic-rich HTML email templates.
  • 1,000 Business-Class Email Accounts – Allows for comprehensive email system as your business grows.
  • 500 GB Website Storage – Standard website hosting plans include up to 300 GB of storage.

(* above designates features that are not included in our standard Website Plus hosting plan but are included in both Business Website Plus and eCommerce Website Plus.)

And if you want an eCommerce package with the Do-It-For-Me option, there are even more features in that website design eCommerce package.

Web Hosting Glossary – All Web Hosting Terms

Web hosting glossary: We answer your questions about Web Hosting.

Last week, we posted the first part of our web hosting glossary .

This week, we’ll add on to that glossary list, so you can bookmark this one post rather than 2 separate lists of web hosting terminology. Let us know if there are other web hosting terms that you’d like us to add to the web hosting glossary.

  • Availability: Also called “uptime,” web hosting availability is the expected or guaranteed percentage of time that your web site will be online, available for your customers/visitors to view and interact with. EarthLink Business Web Hosting plans include a 99.99% website uptime guarantee.
  • Bandwidth: Also called “web traffic,” “data transfer,” or “web transfer,” web hosting bandwidth is how much data can be sent from your web site to visitors’ computers (which occurs when they visit your web pages). There is typically a limit to the bandwidth included with your web hosting account’s monthly price. For example, EarthLink Web Hosting’s DIY web hosting plans come with 2,000 GB  –5,000 GB per month of bandwidth (in non-technical terms…that’s a lot).
  • Cloud Hosting: Also called “cloud server hosting,” cloud hosting is a service that offers remote computer servers (often virtual servers) for a company’s IT and computing needs. Often seen as outsourcing IT services or replacing in-house computing hardware with remote computing services, cloud hosting is becoming more popular as a way to reduce IT costs and increase a company’s flexibility and speed. EarthLink Cloud offers fully managed or self-managed cloud hosting services.
  • Colocation: Colocation means keeping a web server that you own in the facilities of a web hosting or colocation service provider who maintains the server for you in their data centers. EarthLink Business offers data center colocation. EarthLink Cloud also offers several colocation plans.
  • Dedicated Hosting: Dedicated web hosting means you pay for the use of an entire server that is dedicated 100% to you and not shared by other customers. Customers often choose dedicated hosting when their website is very large or they need increased levels of control, performance, or security. EarthLink Cloud offers dedicated server hosting.
  • Disk Space: Also called “website storage,” this is the amount of space – typically measured in megabytes (MB) or gigabytes (GB) – that your website takes up on a web hosting server. The more pages your website has, and the more graphic- and video-intensive it is, the more disk space you will need. Most web hosting plans include a maximum amount of space with their monthly price. EarthLink’s DIY Web Hosting plans include from 200 – 500 GB of disk space.
  • Domain Email: An email address that uses your own domain name (such astom@mycompany.com) instead of an email service provider’s (such as tom@gmail.com). EarthLink web hosting plans come with a free domain name and 100 – 1,000 domain email addresses. We also offer domain email as a stand-alone service.
  • Domain Registration: This is the official process of claiming a domain name that is not already registered by someone else. You must register your domain name with a domain name registrar, typically for a period of 1 or more years. A free domain name and registration for 1 year is included with our Web Hosting services.
  • Ecommerce: Internet-based transactions, the buying and selling of products from a website, are called ecommerce. A website may be a business website without being an ecommerce website if it promotes the business without allowing visitors to purchase products from the website. An ecommerce-enabled website will typically have an online “shopping cart” that can be used to make purchases. Web hosting providers such as EarthLink typically offer basic web hosting and ecommerceplans as separate options.
  • Email Marketing Tools: Tools that make it simple to create, send, and track the success of email marketing campaigns and newsletters to inform and engage your customers and prospects. EarthLink Web Hosting plans include email marketing tools.
  • Error Pages: Error pages automatically inform people trying to reach your web pages that there has been a problem. For example, a 404 error means there is no webpage at the URL the visitor entered in his or her browser. Instead of generic and unhelpful error pages, many web hosting companies such as EarthLink allow customers to set up custom error pages that offer your visitors a better user experience and consistent website branding.
  • FTP: Acronym for File Transfer Protocol, a way to transfer files on the Internet. Often, website files are uploaded using an FTP program by someone who has an FTP account with access to your website. EarthLink Web Hosting plans come with unlimited FTP accounts. They also offer a template-based website builder that does not require FTP to upload pages.
  • HTML: Acronym for Hypertext Markup Language. This is the code that web page are created with. This code tells your web browser what to display when you visit a website.
  • IMAP: Acronym for Internet Message Access Protocol. Along with POP3, it is one of the methods for retrieving email messages. With IMAP, a copy of your message is saved on the mail server until deleted (rather than downloaded/read). This makes IMAP convenient for people who use their email from multiple computers. EarthLink Web Hosting offers both IMAP and POP3 email to customers.
  • IMAPS: The secure, SSL version of IMAP email (see above). EarthLink Web Hosting also offers IMAPS email access.
  • IP: Internet Protocol. This is the main communications protocol of the Internet. It is responsible for addressing hosts and routing packets (how information is sent over the Internet) from source to destination.
  • IP Address: This “address” is actually number. It is a unique number that is used to identify every device that’s connecting to the Internet. IP addresses have typically been groups of numbers up to 255 that are separated in four parts by periods, such as 172.16.254.1; the newer Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) has a more complex address system.
  • ISP: ISP stands for Internet service provider. An Internet service provider is a company, like EarthLink, that provides customers with one or more kinds of Internet access, such as dial-up, DSL, cable Internet, or satellite Internet (EarthLink is an ISP that offers all those forms of access). Many Internet service providers, like EarthLink, are also web hosting providers as well, meaning they host the web sites of their customers on their servers.
  • Joomla: A popular open source content management system for publishing web pages and managing online content. It is typically recommended for intermediate to advanced web developers, not beginners. EarthLink Web hosting offers a simple Joomla installer to web hosting customers so they can manage their websites with Joomla.
  • Megabyte (MB): In computing, a unit of size. Some web hosting features (such as disk space or bandwidth) are measured in megabytes. 1MB is equal to 1,024 KB (kilobytes). 1GB is equal to 1,024MB.
  • Mobile Website: A website that is specifically optimized for people surfing the web on smartphones and tablets. A mobile website is often a much more streamlined and simple version of a website. Most of EarthLink’s web hosting plans offer customers a mobile website with special features designed for mobile visitors in addition to their main website.
  • MySQL: A database system often used for website files. EarthLink Web Hosting includes 25 MySQL databases with our most basic Website Plus web hosting plan.
  • POP3: POP is an acronym for Post Office Protocol. Along with IMAP (see above), POP is one of the two most common protocols for retrieving email. POP3 is the most recent version of the POP standard. POP email is typically set up to download email messages to the user’s computer and delete them from the server (as opposed to IMAP, which leaves a copy on the server). EarthLink Web Hosting offers both IMAP and POP3 email to customers.
  • POP3S. The secure, SSL version of POP3 email (see above). EarthLink Web Hosting also offers secure POP3 email access.
  • SEO: Acronym for search engine optimization. SEO is a general term for all the strategies you use to get your website to be listed as high as possible on the search results page of the major search engines such as Google and Bing. All EarthLink Web Hosting plans include EasySiteOptimizer, an advanced SEO tool that can help you optimize websites so they get found in search engine results. Select plans also include directory submissions and other SEO tools.
  • Shopping Cart: On the Web, a shopping cart is software that allows site visitors to select items for sale and order them online. Ecommerce hosting plans, such as those provided by EarthLink, will typically provide shopping cart software to their hosting customers. EarthLink eCommerce hosting customers can easily set up online stores and sell their products (including to mobile customers) with the included shopping cart software.
  • Social Media Marketing: This is the practice of using social network sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others to promote a business website. This is done to generate awareness, traffic, buzz, followers, leads, and sales. It can also help with SEO (see above) since search engines now account for social media activity in their rankings. All EarthLink Web Hosting plans include social media marketing tools to help you optimize this online marketing channel.
  • Spam: Unsolicited, or junk email. Spam is usually sent in bulk to try to sell products or services. It is also sent to spread viruses or phishing scams. EarthLink Web Hosting email services include powerful anti-spam tools to help eliminate junk email that wastes your time and increases your security risk.
  • SSL Certificate: An SSL Certificate allows for secure, encrypted connections between a webserver and a web browser. It is an important for security of online credit card transactions and other sensitive data transactions. An SSL certificate gives online customers the confidence that any information they submit on your website is secure.  SSL certification increases the credibility of an ecommerce website and is a necessary security credential for any online store or other websites that use online transactions. EarthLink ecommerce hosting plans come with free SSL certificates.
  • Web Analytics: Web Analytics lets you learn about the traffic coming to your website. Analytics can tell you how many daily visitors you are getting, how visitors found your website (search engine, external link, typing URL directly), what browsers they are using, and other relevant statistics. EarthLink Web hosting includes free web analytics to help you maximize the value of your website.
  • Website Templates: Templates are one of the easiest ways to build a website. You choose a template for the type of website you like and then fill in the details that are specific to your own website. EarthLink’s regular Web Hosting plans all include an easy-to-use Website Builder that includes scores of attractive and professional website templates.
  • WordPress blog: WordPress is the #1 blogging software in the world. WordPress makes it simple to build and maintain a blog for business or personal use. EarthLink Web Hosting customers have easy access to a WordPress Installer that is designed to work seamlessly with their web hosting accounts.