educational

Finding an Adult Host

James Edwards
You have just registered your domain name — the greatest URL ever conceived of for the adult industry. Now you are ready to build the sexiest, wildest site in the history of the human race, a site that will make you thousands of dollars in revenue. What's your next step?

Once you register a domain you need to find a hosting provider. Even if you don't plan to go live for a year, a place to store your files and an HTTP interface to test delivery of your web-content over the Internet is helpful. Without this environment, it's hard to develop a website, let along get out the bugs. Hence, next to registering a domain name, picking a hosting service is one of the first things you need to do as a rookie adult content provider on the web.

The good news about this task is that there are many free or very low-cost hosting companies. The bad news is that, as an adult content provider, you will have to read the fine print for each service.

What makes a hosting site a hosting site? Well you make it one. The moment you buy your domain name you have the ability to point browsers anywhere in the known Internet universe to a given location. This is accomplished by changing the named servers of your domain name.

An even more powerful consequence of choosing a hosting provider is the actual technology made available to the web developer. The tech level of your website is a function of your hosting provider's services and software. Good hosting sites have easy extensive scripting tools that allow you to include sophisticated source code to your website such as Perl or CGI.

You are dependent on your hosting provider's implementation of all languages and web tools, along with the ease and permission levels afforded to these tools for web development. If you are an avid user of a popular web designer package, like Microsoft Front Page, the ability of your provider to deal with this software becomes the most important criteria in choosing a hosting service — not bandwidth or disk space as many advertise.

Thus, choosing your hosting company is like choosing a home. The IP address will be given or sold to you by the hosting company and is the physical location of your website. It is where your web pages are served to the public. You can change it at any time by choosing another hosting company and then changing your named servers.

FREE HOSTING
The best kind of hosting for the beginner is free hosting. There are two categories of free hosting: supported by advertising or banner-less hosting.

Free hosting supported by advertising means that banners or links will appear at random places on your website to finance the free bandwidth. The only advantage of tolerating this is that hosting companies that generate revenue through these obtrusive ads tend to give you more free bandwidth and space to host your website.

The best type of free hosting, of course, is banner-less hosting: hosting with no ads from the provider. Sites like Hyperphp.com or x10Hsting.com will offer you free places to build your website and showcase it to the world. The drawback of most of these free sites is their restrictions on adult material. In most cases for the adult webmaster, mainstream free hosting should only be used for lighter seductive sites that attract customers to your main site.

More daring free hosting plans can be found at PornHome.com or PornWebring.net. The downside with services like these is that they are not always ad-free. Your beloved website will be subject to your provider's advertising whims.

PornWebRing.net claims to have a unique way to pay for your free bandwidth and disk space. In the world of the Internet, whenever a browser can't find a web page, a HTTP 404 error occurs. PornWebRing.net claims to their customers: "We don't keep any secrets from you. We cover the bandwidth expenses simply by advertising on 404 page." If you compute how many of these errors a web hosting company processes in a day, this unique business plan seems actually quite sound. Their declaration implies ads will never appear on your pages — unless your page is not there.

PornWebRing.net also supports PHP scripting and comes with a MYSQL database for their customers. This is vital, since many of the slickest web tools and add-ons today require specialized software to be pre-installed on your web server.

If you really want to go the free route as you enter the world of adult online entertainment, sites like PornWebRing.net also give you free sub-domains. This means that you can avoid the cost of registering a domain name and simply choose a name connected to your hosting provider's sub-domain. In the case of PornWebRing.net, a website with the name "wild studs" would end up with the free URL WildStuds.Porn WebRing.net.

Commercial websites are hard to build and sometimes tedious to maintain. If you want to enter the adult online world with a friendly, quick and free interface to build your website, consider blogs. Blogs allow you to post text, images and links on your adult domain. They come with predesigned slick interfaces enabling even a computer novice to create a blog in only a few minutes — because that's what they were designed for.

An interesting online adult company that offers free hosting for blogs is Thumblogger.com. This site offers free blogs and image uploads of up to 50 megabytes. With this service, you can have a hottie-laced URL running in no time. The important fact to check with these hosting services, if you wish to conduct online business through the URL, is the existence of adequate HTML hooks to allow users to be transferred to the credit card merchant you are using.

PAYING FOR IT
If you are going to pay for hosting, you should expect the best. Whatever web development tools you are using should interface nicely with the software of your hosting provider. Bandwidth is also a large consideration.

Many paid hosting services like GoDaddy.com offer built-in web tools to author your site. This is a good path if you are not an HTML expert nor do you aspire to become one. Traditional web development tools like Front Page or Macromedia are difficult to use and require many invested hours to master.

GoDaddy's website builder is called WebSite Tonight, which can be launched from your browser when you log in to GoDaddy.com. After invoking the package, you are led through a variety of wizards that guide the novice through website design. After prompting you for basic textual information, Website Tonight lets you choose from more than 100 basic templates. A tool like this is almost as easy to use as a blog and produces — for HTML neophytes — a slick-looking website in no time. Of course, the drawback of these add-on hosting tools is they are limited in functionality. Advanced tasks like e-commerce or multimedia still must be integrated separately from the wizard.

If you are paying for hosting and you are an adult online provider, you should consider higher degrees of anonymity when you choose your registrar and hosting services. It is much more difficult to track down your personal information if your hosting provider is in Singapore and not California.

Sites like KatzGlobal.com offer these types of services. Hosting and domain registration in a foreign country gives you an added level of protection. The interesting thing about Katz Global Media is that they offer many anonymous ways of paying for the service. You can buy gold online and then transfer a value portion of that to Katz Global Media or simply mail them a money order. These types of transactions are much harder to trace than simple credit card swipes with a hosting service like GoDaddy.

Choosing a hosting service, in many cases, will determine the look and feel of your website, your e-commerce provider and even your legal status as the owner of the website. So choose thy hoster carefully and don't be afraid to change if you don't get the support you need in this modern environment where the line between your website and your hosting provider is blurred by technology.

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