Every website needs to be hosted somewhere, and every web developer will need access to the hosting server in order to perform tasks such as setting up email accounts, managing databases and creating FTP (file transfer protocol) accounts. Since most websites are hosted with a third-party hosting company, odds are that your hosting provider has installed some form of server administration tool, such as cPanel or Plesk. These tools provide a web-based interface, or “control panel,” for web developers to administer their domain settings. Let’s take a look at some of the most common administration tasks.
The ability to create and manage email accounts is an important feature in any hosting account. Every developer should have access to at least create email accounts as well as change their passwords, set up autoresponders and forwarders, and manage web access to email. Most control-panel interfaces provide an easy, straightforward method for managing email for that domain. Your hosting company usually sets the number of email accounts allowed with your domain.
It’s hard to think of an ecommerce website that doesn’t require at least one database. It’s equally hard to imagine a web developer without the ability to create and manage databases. Most hosting providers will provide you with a database application such as MySQL, PostGRES or MSSQL. Make sure when choosing a hosting provider that you have the ability to create databases, create database users and manage your databases. Again, most control panel interfaces make creating and using databases very simple and easy to understand. Database management, however, is a different story. Make sure when choosing a hosting account that either database management tools are included or that you can use another database management application with the server.
You will need some way of uploading your files to the web server. This will require some sort of FTP application to actually upload the files from your computer to the server. In addition, web developers need to create FTP accounts on the server to facilitate this connection. A hosting control panel should provide web developers with a method of creating FTP-user accounts and managing those accounts. Without this ability, FTP applications will not be able to connect to the server and uploading files will become difficult.
Server administration and management is as important to web development as creating the actual website files. Get familiar with the server administration tools, or control panel, available for your domain hosting. Knowing what resources and capabilities are available is crucial when planning and developing ad website.