For those who have jumped on the blogging bandwagon hosting has always been an issue to have a plan that allows you complete control of your blogging vision but yet is not too expensive.
Hosting at WordPress or Blogger is totally free but places you at the mercy of these companies and you do not have complete control of your blog and many bloggers have spent months on their sites only to have them removed for policy violations of the company. Another option is using a paid hosting service, which has many advantages such as a dedicated URL and total freedom to post and present your blog as you wish. While dedicated server hosting can be expensive for a blog shared hosting is a little more affordable. Many blogs are for personal reasons so paying for hosting may be a financial push for a site, which does not make the site owner ay money.
There are becoming other options, which are free web hosting services specifically for blogs. These hosts are more tolerant for what is placed on the blog, give the ability to use a URL, and are absolutely free to the blogger on a budget.

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Free web hosting sounds like a great deal, who does not love the word free after all. But if you are considering using a free web hosting company than there are some considerations you need to take into account before you place your site on such a server. These server setups are usually the type which are not nearly as reliable as dedicated servers and you will face more potential down time and slow loading pages. The restrictions on the size of your site and the available bandwidth usage you will be allotted is usually very small.

Though it is not all bad to hosting your site on a free server. For the small personal site this is really the best solution. Why pay for web hosting space for a site that is just a small personal page on the web that will not be making you any money. These servers are also a great playground for the budding developer to get their feet wet in working with servers and scripts. You can experiment with various coding and scripts and not really have to worry about how they will affect a site on the server, which does truly matter to you. And as a big bonus it is not costing you anything!

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Is Your Hosting Service Value For Money?

As we enter 2008 many webmasters have taken to review their hosting packages and check to see if their rates are still competitive in an ever changing industry. Are you still getting the best terms for the services which you take? Is your host reliable? When was the last time that you moved?

As we see more and more changes in the hosting industry prices seem to change on a regular basis, with hosts looking to attract more and more new customers. However, there are a number of potentially uncompetitive hosting companies out there who have remained fairly rigid in their charges and services and perhaps not moved with the times. These are companies who seem to thrive on webmasters who are not proactive and more than happy to stay put for the longer term, avoid companies that offer too good to be true cheap dedicated servers. How proactive have you been?

For those of you out there who have maybe not been as proactive as you should have been, it may well be because of the potential dangers of transferring your sites, a fear that something will go wrong? If this is the case then you really need to look again! Your new cheap web hosting will bend over backwards to attract you and ensure that you take on their services, and in the vast number of instances they will actually arrange the transfer of your sites – taking the pressure and worry away from you. But can you trust them?

Let’s not forget that hosting is their business, their niche and they will transfer multiple sites every day of every week. If this is the only thing which is holding you back then you need to look again, can you save money? Can you improve the services to hand?

You may be very surprised how far the industry has moved even in the last 12 months, how prices have changed and the opportunities which you are missing!

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The DNS was not meant to address security issues and for this reason, it does have security issues. One of the more common security threats to a domain server is cache poisoning. Cache poisoning can lessen the profits of a page and make the website lose visitors. In worst-case scenarios, cache poisoning is used to spread viruses and Trojans to a website’s would-be visitors. This is caused by sending the visitor to an infected website. Until the DNS servers become more secure, DNS spoofing will continue to exist.

Cache Poisoning

What does it mean when a cache is poisoned? It is called cache poisoning when a cache has incorrect information that it shares with other servers. What it means is that a DNS server can sometimes get the IP address of a domain name wrong. This can be through error or by somebody purposely providing false information to the server. The problem occurs because a DNS server was not designed with security in mind. The DNS will blindly follow the information that is given to it, sometimes, without even checking the IP address with the domain name.

DNS Spoofing

When incorrect information is purposely given to a DNS server, this is called DNS spoofing and it is considered malicious behavior. The incorrect IP address is filed and served to anyone who makes the request for spoofed domain name, which is why it is called cache poisoning. When a person is involved in DNS spoofing, the person will take advantage of the DNS security weakness and replace the correct IP address with an IP address of their choosing.

A cache spoofer can use a rogue server of his or her own to provide false information to the system. Usually, visitors are sent to a website that is under the control of the DNS spoofer. The spoofer will match fake addresses and files with the IP address. The spoofer may also insert a virus into the DNS server. The DNS server would then infect the computers of unsuspecting users when a user visits the incorrect IP address.

Denial of Service

There are two main reasons why a spoof attacker will spoof. The first reason is denial of service (DoS). A spoofer sends a negative response to a DNS name that means that the user making the request will be denied service or the user will be sent to another DNS that does not have the service for which the user is making a request. A spoofer can also cause a server to crash from supplying incorrect information to a server.

Cache poisoning is a serious threat to the ability of a website to conduct business. Sometimes, cache poisoning has been found to be from the efforts of an unhappy worker. In order to combat this problem, there is now a secure DNS, DNSSEC, which uses a digital certificate to check the legitimacy of IP addresses and other data. Until DNS servers check each domain name, request and resolver for legitimacy, this type of security problem will continue to exist.

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There are a plethora of companies out there willing to offer free web hosting to anyone that wants it. This is not an act of charity. Such companies are not simply acting out of the goodness of their hearts. They, just like the paid hosting companies, are in it to make money. How do they do this? Through advertising revenues – that’s how. Free hosts will often display adverts on the sites of their users. The presence of such advertisements could be detrimental to the success of the site by annoying users or directing them elsewhere, however, this is the indirect price to be paid for free web space.

Whether or not free hosting is for you depends on what you need the hosting for. Most companies would shy away from free hosting as it would make them look cheap and unprofessional. On the other side of things, not-for-profit organisations or hobby sites could not be criticised for not wishing to pay for hosting. Many bands, for example, choose to have MySpace pages rather than having an independent website. This is especially true of up-and-coming bands. As far as I can see, there is nothing wrong with this, so long as MySpace serves their needs. For the most part it does; it allows bands to develop a fan base and gives this fan base access to samples of their music. However, if a band wants to look truly professional it may be better served by having its own .com, allowing them to have their own media player, forum, store and much more. Ultimately, it is a case of weighing up costs against benefits, including the amount you think you can make from your site.

In short, while a free web presence is sufficient for many individuals and amateurs, it is not usually appropriate for a corporate identity. For those that believe the cost of hosting makes having a website impractical, free hosting is a godsend , in such cases the presence of unrelated advertisements is a small price to pay.

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As competition continues to grow in the web hosting industry we have seen a large increase in the number of so called “free web hosting” services, with the likes of Google and Wikipedia entering the arena. So who are these free services really aimed at, and what do they really offer?

As you would expect in an industry which is so competitive, the strategy of many big name companies is to snare a client first with a free offer, then leverage their services towards paid hosting. The free web hosting offers are more than adequate for the standard webmaster who has a site for personal use or a simple everyday blog. It is when you move towards a more professional approach that the likes of Google and Wikipedia will start to roll out the improved services and a move towards paid web hosting.

While it is always helpful to keep your costs to a minimum in the early days of a new venture, if you are serious about making a success you will inevitably need to look to upgrade those services, the space available and the bandwidth, to more reflect you future requirements. In business every customer has a value, the value of advertising divided by the number of new customers equals the cost of recruiting a customer – always the hardest part of building a business.

However, if you are able to offer a free service which is passed along by blogs, chat rooms and word of mouth there is every chance that in the long run this type of “promotion” will be more cost effective than traditional marketing routes. As the likes of Google and Wikipedia are already well known in the internet world, they already receive much business and traffic by word of mouth.

Free web hosting is suitable for many basic sites, but if you are truly serious about making a success of your online business you will need to consider upgrading your services at some stage – which will mean a switch to paid web hosting, which is a whole new area for us to look at.

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