Basic Website Hosting FAQ

Welcome to my basic website hosting FAQ. These frequently asked questions and answers are aimed at website novices. The answers below are to questions many website novices often find themselves asking.

February 2021 update: I originally published this blog post here in 2012 and the FAQ is still relevant all these years later! I’m still using the FileZilla FTP client and every so often I perform actions covered below.

Q. Does the same company have to manage both my domain and website hosting?

A. No, your domain can be managed by one firm, but the domain DNS pointed to name servers elsewhere.

Q. How do I upload my files to my web hosting?

A. There are usually two methods used, the easiest for most being to upload files via FTP, which means File Transfer Protocol. To do this you typically use a FTP client application, such as the popular FileZilla client. The second method is to log into your web host’s control panel and see if they have a file manager. However most people don’t use this for uploading multiple files, which in most cases would be too time consuming.

Q. How do I change a file on a web server to be read-only or writeable?

A. Often you can do this via two sometimes three methods in most cases. The easiest being to use a FTP client such as the FileZilla client to change the file permissions. You do this by connecting to your server via ftp, then right clicking on the file in question and changing the permissions. 644 makes the file read-only and 777 makes it writable by any person or system with access. There are security concerns when using 777, so it is worth researching what the minimum setting is you can use for your situation, such as 755 or other permissions for example and avoid using 777.

It is good practice when making changes to a file on a one-off basis, to change back to original state afterwards. i.e. Changing a .htaccess file to 777 to enable for example WordPress or a plugin that requires write access to make a change to the file, then afterwards manually change the file back to 644 (read-only).

Q. How do I create a .htaccess file?

A. To create a .htacess file you use a text editor. It is harder for Microsoft Windows users due to the file format, so Windows users should create a htaccess.txt file, upload the file to their server, then rename to .htaccess . Linux users can create a .htaccess file via a text editor such as gedit without any issue.

Q. How do I backup my website?

A. How you backup your website depends on whether you are using a content management system, plus the features available to you from your web host provider, such as a backup facility via your control panel. A wise decision is to automate the process, as most people forget to regularly backup a website. For CMS packages such as WordPress there are plugins that can help you automate the process, including emailing you a copy of the MySQL database.

Q. What is a hexadecimal colour code?

A. Hexadecimal colour codes are used primarily in style.css files to define the colour (color) of an element such as a background, border, font etc. By using colour codes, it enables you to use a wider selection of colours, such as navy blue and garden plum, rather than just blue or purple. A typical hexadecimal colour code will appear as a hash followed by six characters. i.e. #000000 #ffffff

Q. What does parking my domain really mean?

A. Parking a domain is when you don’t wish to setup a website for a domain. However if you are considering parking a domain as you intend to resell it, then you can consider using services such as Sedo’s domain parking service to help you sell the domain.

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