Web Hosting Basics
Before you can begin creating a dynamic web site via PHP and MySQL, you need a place to put it. This is where a web host comes in.
There are two options when it comes to hosting a site: pay a web hosting company to do it or do it yourself. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages.
Hosting a web site with a company is the simplest option and preferable in most cases. Choosing a web host, however, can be tricky. Different web hosts offer different "hosting packages" with various options. Sorting through to options to determine what meets your needs can be time-consuming. Additionally, reliability and cost are other factors that must be considered.
Fortunately, most web hosts offer inexpensive packages that can meet the needs of someone looking to get started with PHP and MySQL. Look for hosting plans that support both PHP and MySQL. Typically, such options run on the Linux operating system. Some hosts put restrictions on the number of individual databases allowed or the amount of database usage. Be aware of such factors and always make sure to read the fine print.
The alternative to choosing a hosting company is to host the web site yourself. This offers advantages in that you can custom tailor your own server to meet your specific needs, including larger storage capicity or custom server applications. It also negates paying monthly hosting fees. The disadvantage is that it requires a computer to act as the server, knowledge and time to set up the software, as well as occasional maintenance.
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