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renting wewb space


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#1 themightyfred

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 01:36 AM

Hi, I would like to rent a website that has the built in features of allowing users to enter in information and also to retrieve information stored.
How would I go about doing this? How much would it cost to temporarily purchase this web-space needed to store the information entered by the users?

Would a better route be to turn my own computer into a web-server and hook up a whole lot of old computers to it (to add to the storage space)?

Do I need to be a professional web programer to accomplish such a feat?


Thanks.

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#2 Andrew

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 01:58 AM

Can you give more information? What sort of data are you collecting? A survey for people to fill out? A job application for people to fill out? A suggestion box? How long will you be collecting this data? Depending on exactly what you need, there may be paid-for services that handle everything for you (such as the case of surveys) or you could set up a cheap website at a hosting company with a simple form that e-mails you the results of each user's visit.

#3 themightyfred

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 07:26 PM

Thank you for the reply, Andrew.

I am looking to collect information that doesn't have a specific type to it. Any information could be entered by the users in theory. I would need to have all of this information stored and then also have a search feature whereby visitors to mu website could gain access to it. The information would be text only.

The information would need to be stored indefinitely. At the beginning there would not be much information stored but if the site grew then more information would need to be stored and available for retrieval.

I am interested in the cost of renting storage space with a hosting company (perhaps by the month?) that could offer me in addition to the storage space an easily built web-site with these features built in (information addition and retrieval by visitors).

I would imagine it would be quite expensive, depending on the traffic I expect/amount of information stored. I really just want to know if there are companies that offer such a thing as this and if they do, whether it would be a better idea to just try to build my own webserver in my basement (even if I went without an outside host I would eventually want to set up my own web server as the primary 'base of operation').

Please keep in mind I am not very knowledgeable about computers.


Thank you for your help once again.

Edited by themightyfred, 21 January 2012 - 07:28 PM.


#4 Andrew

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 09:47 PM

For what you describe running your own server, with all the associated costs and headaches, wouldn't be at all worth it. Pretty much any low- to mid-range shared hosting service should get you off to a great start, and they only cost between $10 and $50 per month, depending on the hosting package and provider.

There are several common web applications that seem to meet your criteria. The first one would be a web forum very much like Bleeping Computer here. As you can see, users (like yourself) are able to enter textual data of almost any type and it will be stored in a database indefinitely, wherefrom searches of the stored texts can be made. There are a number of free and paid-for forum software packages available, and many shared hosting providers offer one-click installs.

A related web application would be the guestbook. Guestbooks have fallen out of favor somewhat in the last 15 years, but there are a number of free guestbook widgets still floating around. From Wikipedia: "A guestbook (also called guest book or visitor log) is a paper or electronic means for a visitor to acknowledge their visitation to a site, physical or web-based, and leave their name, postal or electronic address (if desired), and a comment or note, if desired."

A third option would be to write a simple custom web app. This would give you the greatest control over how information is collected, searched, and displayed. This does carry with it the requirement that you, or someone you employ, knows how to write a web application. It's not terribly difficult, but it would certainly slow you down to have to learn from scratch.

#5 themightyfred

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 09:56 PM

That is a great help. I think that of those three options the custom web app would be the best fit for my needs.

This seems like a friendly, knowledgeable place. I will have to stick around.

#6 Andrew

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 12:46 AM

OK, so the next step is to either hit the books, or hire a developer. The two most widely available web application platforms are PHP and ASP.NET, with usually a SQL database backend.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_application_development
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/cc163854.aspx
https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Entry_Level_PHP_Web_Application_Development

-or-

http://www.rentacoder.com/

#7 tripflex

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 10:26 PM

I think your best bet sounds like it would be to setup a Wiki. What type of traffic are you talking about? I run a web hosting company so I can help you to determine what your exact needs will be. I would say start off with a shared hosting account and if you get too much traffic your host will certainly let you know. From that point they would probably recommend to move up to a VPS or even renting a dedicated server from a data center.

Are you trying to protect this information or will everything be public?

I understand you don't want to specify what it's for but in order to get you in the right direction we need a little bit of info about where you're trying to go with it. If you're looking for a site where people can register, and post anything they want, leave comments, etc, that sounds like some type of blog. It all depends on the features you want your site to have.

Do you want files or just text?

Protected or unprotected?

There's all kinds of amazing software out there already for free that you can use you just need to figure out exactly what you want to do.
There's no place like 0.0.0.0, i'm tired of being at 127.0.0.1




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