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HELP! Server, domain, web host - I'm confused.

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HELP! Server, domain, web host - I'm confused.

Old 01-30-03, 03:43 AM
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HELP! Server, domain, web host - I'm confused.

Our class needs to set up a server so that we can host lectures in real-audio. The files are about 8MB a piece, and we do on average 20 lectures a week. We'll be needing as much as 1.5GB to host all the lectures for an entire course. There will also be transcripts for the lectures and other miscellaneous files. We have an existing site with our institution, but we're running out of room. We are just examining other options to see if it is feasible for us to do it on our own.

From what I understand, there are two things I need to host a website - a domain name and a web host. Since our needs are limited, we can and should use a parked domain. Parked domains are inexpensive and can be had for as little as $10 a month. Our website is simple and our main focus is providing the lecture audio. Therefore, we need a host that can provide adequate bandwidth and server space. The cost associated with web hosting will be much more expensive and will be at least $50 a month. Did I leave any factors out?

I think we have a parked domain (script.meis.uab.edu). Is it possible (assuming the school would let us) to use the domain name but change web hosts? Also, I am looking for a cheap, but reliable web hosts that can give us about 1.6GB in webspace. Bandwidth is another issue, but at the moment, I have no idea what our site statistics are.


Thanks,

qs
Old 01-30-03, 05:16 AM
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I don't believe you need to concern yourself with parked domains. They are really just a way of having multiple domain names point to the same website.

Most every web hosting company will provide DNS service for any sites they host for you, so you only need to worry about registering a domain name. Many web hosting companies can help you with registering the domain as well, but that's something you can do separately if you want.

If you want to use the script.meis.uab.edu domain, you've got to find out who administers the DNS server that's authoritative for that sub-domain (meis.uab.edu). He or she can point that domain at any web server on the internet. If you're not sure who that is, a person to ask may be the technical contact for the primary domain (uab.edu).

I haven't shopped for web hosting services in a while so I can't really help you much there. I used to use Pair.com and looking at their current offerings, they have a High Volume account that offers 1.5GB of storage and 2GB/day 60GB/month of traffic for $130/month. I have no idea if that's competitive. On the face of it, however, it doesn't seem like you'd need that high of a traffic quota, so I'm sure you can find better deals if you looked hard enough.

My only other concern about your plan is that RealAudio doesn't stream unless you have a server that supports it. If you put .rm or .ra files on a regular web server, the Real Player client will simply download the file and play it from the hard drive. Of course, that may not make much difference for your purposes.

If you don't need streaming and you don't already have a bunch of files in Real Audio format, I'd suggest that you look at using other codecs. I really despise Real and forcing your users to install their client software is IMO really, really evil.

MP3 may be a good way to go, but if you just can't get the bitrate down low enough, then maybe Windows Media might be better.
Old 01-30-03, 11:08 AM
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If this is for a class at a University, then I not sure I'd be looking at paying for it. I'd probably be calling the folks in ITS about it first. They should be able to provide you with a static IP to put on a box that someone in the class is willing to let sit in an office. This would likely give you as much or more bandwidth/storage than an ISP would, with none of the cost. They could also setup the DNS, probably provide some degree of security/firewalling/etc.
Old 01-30-03, 12:48 PM
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The webiste isn't for a single class. Rather, it's for the several classes we take during a single block. Our IT department, MEIS, has not been able to help us in the past. The script and mail servers go down for a few hours about twice a month. After researching this option, I don't think it'll be cost-effective to find a different web host. I hope MEIS will be able to get us more storage space and to replace the dated computers in the labs. However, I do not know what it would require for us to get more storage space. Would it require just a larger hard drive? Or, would it require a new box?

Thanks for the suggestion. I will look into using other codecs to use. Lectures are being encoded in 20kbps, and I suggested that we started encoding the lectures in 12 or 16kbps to conserve some space. However, I never even thought about using a different codec.

Just a few more questions. Thanks so far. The response has been great.

Is a parked domain the same as a 3rd level domain?
I thought it would be cheaper if our domain was just script.webhost.com instead of uabscript.com.

RAM files point to the RM file on the server, right?
I thought RAM files, which are just text files with a server address, redirect the browser to the RM file. I didn't know server support was required for the re-direct.

Thanks,

qs
Old 01-30-03, 02:20 PM
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Originally posted by quietsoul
The webiste isn't for a single class. Rather, it's for the several classes we take during a single block. Our IT department, MEIS, has not been able to help us in the past. The script and mail servers go down for a few hours about twice a month. After researching this option, I don't think it'll be cost-effective to find a different web host. I hope MEIS will be able to get us more storage space and to replace the dated computers in the labs. However, I do not know what it would require for us to get more storage space. Would it require just a larger hard drive? Or, would it require a new box?
Hasn't been able to help, as in provide poor support for the boxes they host... or as in won't give you an IP and setup DNS? If it's the first, then running the box yourself removes this from the equation. As for getting more space, it should only require a larger HD... but, if it's on a server used for multiple purposes, taking it out of use long enough to make a change may be an issue.


Is a parked domain the same as a 3rd level domain?
---------------
What is a Parked Domain?

A parked domain name is an additional domain names pointing to the same place as the main domain name for your account. A parked domain name can be used for accessing your web site and e-mail forwarding.
---------------

I thought it would be cheaper if our domain was just script.webhost.com instead of uabscript.com.
Yes, this should be cheaper as it doesn't require a new name registration.
Old 01-30-03, 02:50 PM
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There are webhosting companies out there that will provide you with a domain name like:

name.webhostname.com (third level domain).

This name does not need to be registered (as webhostname.com is already registered and pointed to their dns servers [hopefully])

If you wanted your own domain name, godaddy.com has .us names for $6.95/year. Register a domain name and use that to reference your hosting account.

Parked Domains are typically registered domain names that point to a DNS server but either point to an active hosting service using another name or no hosting service at all.

Buying 1-2 GB of space from a web hosting company can be pretty expensive. The space itself is not costly, but the rationale here is that the account will utilize a lot of bandwidth if they are using that much space.

*OPINION FOLLOWS*
I use lightning servers (http://lightningservers.net/shared.php). You can perhaps get their $15.99/month account and ask them to up your storage to your needs. If you explain your situation (student) and you actually do not abuse their bandwidth allotment, they might agree to your increased use of space. They have been quite responsive to my requests in the past.

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