Though often overshadowed by the market dominated Windows and Linux platform, Unix remains a widely used platform and a popular option for web hosting. This article will introduce you to seven features commonly found in Unix hosting plans. Though basic, these features are very important and should not be underestimated.
1. POP3 Email Accounts – An example of a POP3 email account would be “firstname.lastname@example.org“. Most hosting companies will provide you with a large number of email accounts to use for yourself or distribute to your employees.
2. Webmail and SMTP – As soon as your website goes live, email will likely become your main source of communication. The tool you need to make this an easy process is a webmail program such as Horde or Squirrelmail. This process can be even faster when downloading your messages to email clients such as Microsoft Outlook or Eudora. However, in order for this to work, you need a Unix hosting solution that supports messaging protocols such as IMAP and SMTP.
3. Spam Filter – It doesn’t matter who you are, no email user is immune to spam messages. In this day and age of the internet, having a reliable spam filter is a must. These applications are installed on the web server where your site resides and typically offer features such as blacklisting, whitelisting and greylisting to mitigate spam. The more flexible filters will allow you to make configurations to tag spam and have it delivered straight to a quarantine folder to keep it from cluttering your inbox.
4. FTP Accounts – FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is a method that allows you to upload your files and maintain them on the server. A Unix host that supports this protocol usually provides the ability to create a certain number of FTP sub-accounts. This allows you to provide your clients and users with access to password-protected directories, which is very useful for sharing files in a more efficient and secure manner.
5. Backup Utility – While most web hosts perform automated backups on a regular basis, you should never put the fate of your website in their hands. There are many ways to backup your website data, but the easiest way is with a utility specifically designed for this task. Most of today’s control panels come included with built-in utilities that allow you to easily backup your site in minutes.
6. Web Stats – Analyzing your visitors and traffic can play a crucial role in the success of your site. Popular web stat software such as AwStats and Webalizer run on the back-end of the server and can provide you with detailed reports on your statistics. This can give you the knowledge to make the needed adjustments or additions that increase traffic and boost sales.
7. PHP and MySQL – Similar to Linux, almost all Unix plans come with support for PHP server-side programming and the MySQL database server. These features are generally provided for no extra costs and can give you the power to create a dynamic, data-driven website.