If you are developing your website on a host that charges less that $5 a month, make plenty of backups as you are likely to loose your website files when the webhost goes out of business without notice. Indeed, be extremely wary of any such host. Once your website is attracting getting visitors, get your website hosted with host that does not foolishly try to over sell his server resources. And, expect to pay at least $15 a month or more for the added security and reliability of such a host.
I highly recomend you look for a host that has the latest version of cpanel and fantastico installed. Fantastico is one of the greatest tools for web developers that I have seen in a long time. I can remember the time when installing a script meant that you had to spend an hour or two setting various parameters and permisions in different files everytime you wanted to add a guestbook or shoppping cart to your website. With Fanstastico you have numerous of the latest open source scripts like mambo ( content management ), coppermine( image gallery ), oscommerce ( shopping cart ), phpauction ( ebay style auction ) , and more all just clicks away. All you do is spend a few seconds telling Fantastico the directory that you want the script installed, the admin password, and you're done. This may not seem that exciting to you if you've never spent hours trying to install a script only to find that there was one little line somewhere that was causing the whole thing to fail. What I'm trying to say is that there has never been a more exciting time to create a website of the most stunning quality even if you know nothing about HTML, PHP, or CSS. Look for a web host with Fantastico.
Even if you don't want to do anything behind the scenes and you have hired a webmaster to work for you, ask him if he would rather work with a host that has Fantastico. There is nothing more stupid in my opinion than to pay a webmaster tens of thousands of dollars to create a website for you that ends up looking and functioning just like a website that has an open source solution. You've just ended up paying to recreate the wheel. Even if you think that you have a new and unique idea for a website, it may only require a modification of a Fantastico script. And, in this may mean an 12 hour job from a webmaster rather than an 12 month job.
There are a few Fantastico scripts in particular that I have found to be outstanding. One is Mambo. Mambo is a content management script. What is a content management script you ask? Well, it's a script that has an admin interface that you can open with your web browser to do everything from create links to more advanced features like managing articles, blogs, news, and link directories. It's much more simple than to use Mambo than it is to use an expensive wyswig editor like Dreamweaver or Frontpage. You don't even need to know the basics of HTML to run a complex happening website with Mambo working for you behind the scenes. Even if you don't understand the most simple HTML code like a href=... or table rowspan=... you can create a website with Mambo that looks and functions as good or better than the majority of websites out there. For a demonstation of what Mambo looks like please visit GB Web Hosting.
Another script in particular that I like is Open Realty. Open realty can create a website for realtors who wish to list their featured properties online. It has a full admin interface where they can add accounts for all the realtors in their office to add ,edit, and delete their featured property listings. They just fill out the fields that are most commonly used in real estate listings like address, city, square feet, bedrooms, bathrooms, etc and add the rest in a "full details" box. They hit submit and instantly the property appears on the website formated and looking sharp with pictures and captions neatly displayed below. If you are a realtor and are looking for a property listing website make sure your web host uses Fantastico with Open Realty ready to be installed with next to no effort.
It amazes me that more website owners are not catching on and taking advantage of this awesome tool called Fantastico. It has got to be one of the greatest things since sliced bread. Get a web hosting account with Fantastico and you can be sure that you have everything that you need. It's that simple.
Please feel free to post this article on your website, but you must include this footer and you must not modify or delete the links. Troy Smith is an experienced web developer who owns GB Web Hosting