Tagged With web hosting

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Web hosting has come a long way since the days of uploading a few static HTML pages, some images and perhaps a few extras like a gallery or discussion board. Today's web hosts need to offer databases, automation, blogging platforms and a bunch more. When you're ready to take your data into your own hands and run your own website you need to find a good web host that can make life as easy as possible for you.

Thankfully, there are dozens of great companies looking for your business. Today, we're looking at five of the best.

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Google has added a new feature to Drive: You can now serve up web content from within your Google Drive folder, even ones that run JavaScript. All you need to do is upload your HTML files and assets, and then make them public.

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Site44 is a free web app that hooks up with your Dropbox account and lets you create multiple websites inside your Dropbox account for the world to see. Create the page with their site builder, and then manage and edit the site locally -- your changes will always sync to the web.

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When you're ready to take your data into your own hands and run your own blog, own your own photos, and host your own apps, it's time to find a good web host that can put it all on the web for you, give you the tools, bandwidth, and storage you need, and support you when you need help. Thankfully, there are dozens of great companies looking for your business, and this week we're going to look at five of the best.

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Most people consider Github just a repository for code and a place where developers can collaborate on projects and visitors can download cool new open-source applications. It's definitely that, but there's much more available to you at a Github user if you know how to take advantage of it.

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Not everyone has the time or inclination to build and maintain a full-fledged web site. If you're just looking for a simple way to unify all your online profiles, these personal landing pages are a perfect fit.

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If you're running your own web site, or planning to, you probably know exactly what kind of space, bandwidth, and features you'll need, along with a price point. HostMonk finds web hosts based on those preferences. The site boasts of pricing and listing more than 2,500 hosting packages from a wide variety of companies, and it does offer up the nitty-gritty details on each one, including their server and headquarters locations, managed or unmanaged status, processor types, Linux or Windows, and all the basic numbers and prices. It seems to tend away from the big names in hosting, but could also net you a pretty sweet deal on data pricing, if you're willing to shop around. It doesn't offer point-by-point comparison selection or comparison, unfortunately, but otherwise delivers the numerical goods without your having to endlessly Google around. Free to use, though many links are connected to affiliate systems.

HostMonk

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If you've ever wondered what hosting provider your favourite website uses, the WhoIsHostingThis web site can help.Simply enter the domain name of the site that you want to know more about, and WhoIsHostingThis will reveal and link to the web host in question. This application could be useful if you need to file a complaint for abuse of your copyrighted photos or blog posts, if you are tasked with researching the competition for work, or maybe you just want to host your personal website at the same place your favourite website does.

WhoIsHostingThis

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Running a home web server and need to lock it up? Want to set up standard hosting for multiple sub-domains? Don't worry about tinkering with Apache server's arcane .htaccess file, just tell the .htaccess Editor webapp what you're looking for. The site's interface is a good deal better than many of its ilk, meaning you can usually guess what it's asking for and why. For budding web tinkerers and those with their own storage space, .htaccess Editor is a time-saving tool worth checking out.

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The bavatuesdays blog points out a publish-to-blog feature that seems to have quietly crept into Google Documents. Not much to crow about if you're perfectly happy with your blogging platform's built-in editor, but Google Docs can seemingly publish to most any blog, even those on hosted servers. Combined with linked tools like Google Notebook, it could make for a nicer thought-compiling and drafting experience for anyone who's an avid online writer. The feature can be found in the "Publish" tab on the right-hand side of a Docs page. Publishing Google docs to your blog

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Want your very own web site address, but don't want to mess with pay-for hosting packages or server configuration? Today you can buy a domain name for around 10 bucks a year (or less) and map it to a variety of free web-based apps for no-mess and no-cost hosting. Typical commercial web hosting starts at around $100 a year and comes with clunky webmail and apps you have to set up yourself. Instead, you can have a full-featured web site with multiple spacious email accounts, blog or static web page hosting, and other services for free. You don't have to lease server space or run your own server to have your own URL. Let's take a look at how you can set up a complete domain name backend for free.

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Dear Lifehacker,

I've been looking into Google Apps for Your Domain, which sounds cool, but I'm confused about what it is and why you'd use it. If I sign up for Google Apps for Your Domain, is Google actually becoming the host for my domain, or just providing a bunch of services for it? What's the advantage to using GAppsFYD versus just vanilla Gmail and the rest? I have my own domain name that I use for my primary email address and my web site.

Signed,
Unsure About Mixing Google and My Domain

Dear Unsure,

Google Apps for Your Domain is pretty cool for folks with their own domain names who want to manage a bunch of email/calendar/homepage users for it. To answer your question, GAppsFYD does not become your domain host, but it does provide a bunch of services, like Gmail, Google Calendar, a Start Page (a la iGoogle), Google Docs, Google Talk, etc. The difference between GAppsFYD services and free vanilla Google services is what you'd expect: your domain.

For instance, if your domain is thesmithfamily.org, using GAppsFYD, you could set up a bunch of users who get Gmail, GCal, a personalised start page, and chat all with usernames like [email protected], [email protected] Your users would log in to a Google hosted control panel (which you can customise with a thesmithfamily.org logo), and all their email would get sent with their custom domain email as the From: address.

Here's a grab of what the domain control panel looks like to administrators:

The advantage here is that you don't have the "hey look at me using a free email service!" @gmail.com address. I know, I know, you can send vanilla Gmail messages from any email address, but it comes through reading "on behalf of [email protected]" in some email clients, and that's annoying. With GAppsFYD, if you decide to move email providers away from Gmail, you can do so without changing or losing your domain address.

The disadvantage to GAppsFYD is that Google seems to roll out new features a little slower for it versus non-domain Google offerings. Google's awesome mobile Gmail app, for example, only works for straight-up vanilla Gmail accounts.

I've got GAppsFYD set up for two domains, and I love it. Basically you get all the goodness of Gmail et al. (storage, spam handing, etc.) with total portability, and if you're a domain administrator, you can easily manage and create other people's accounts, too. At the price of free, that's a pretty sweet deal for small businesses and organizations, especially considering that most web hosts charge for extra email addresses and that kind of storage space.

Like I said, GAppsFYD does not provide web hosting in the traditional sense; like, there's no FTP access to the server, for example. There is Google Page Creator, which has a pretty decent in-browser WYSIWIG web page editor and 100MB of space to upload photos and files, which is perfectly serviceable for a nameplate site. If you want full on web hosting, you can use a non-Google provider but still use GAppsFYD Gmail and the rest.

Good luck Googlifying your domain!

Love,
Lifehacker