Welcome to the Ultimate Guide to Hosting. In this guide, you will receive several lessons that will help you learn the ins and outs of how hosting works, and a review of some good and not so good companies, so that you can choose the best hosting company for your website.
For starters, let’s talk a little about what web hosting is, what features you should look for and how to choose a reliable hosting company. You will want to know this if you are looking to build your own website or hire a website designer.
One way to understand what a web hosting is might be to think of a web host as another computer that has a great deal of space. This is not just another computer like you use at home or in your office. It is a specialized type of computer that acts as a hub to quickly connect to other computers.
Servers can store and manage massive amounts of information. They provide the data backup, storage, email and internet access that we have all come to depend on. This is why they are used by web hosts for customers’ websites.
Customers pay a web host to put their websites on their servers, which allows their websites to be displayed online whenever someone types in their URL or clicks on a link.
There are many different web hosting companies to choose from online, with prices and services ranging from, free, a few dollars a month to hundreds of dollars a month.
When it comes to choosing a good hosting company there are a few important things to consider.
Like good technical support. This is probably one of the most important factors to consider because if your websites aren’t working for some reason, whether it’s a server problem or another glitch, you
will end up losing visitors and customers.
Your web host’s technical support will be where you need to turn for help, so you want them to be fast and reliable!
Here is a tip:
Test the tech support before signing up with a company so you can see how fast they respond and what the experience is like. Most hosting companies have a link to their technical support on their homepage, so click on it, ask them a question and see what happens. If they don’t have a support link/phone number, you should avoid them all together!
You’ll also have to decide what type of hosting account you will need. There are different types to choose from including; shared, VPS, dedicated, etc. Some hosting companies only offer shared hosting, while others have a range of plans available. A company with multiple levels of account is often the better choice because you can upgrade to a higher level account as your websites grow, without having to move your site to a different hosting service.
If you are following along with the Blitz training, we are using “cPanel Ultimate” package.
Finally, you’ll want to check the specifications of the hosting account. This includes things like storage space, bandwidth limits, control panels, and other technical details. So that you can be sure you’re getting enough storage, bandwidth and so on to run your websites effectively.
The process of selecting a web host for your website can be quite confusing for many people. As I mentioned earlier, there are countless hosting providers on the Internet to choose from. In fact, if you do a
search for ‘web hosting’, you will see hundreds of pages of results (if not more).
Here are a couple of tips that will help you decide if a hosting review site is legitimate:
– First of all, if you see only positive reviews on a website, beware!
Any trustworthy website will have both positive and negative reviews. In addition, take note of the content of the reviews. If the reviews are all very simple and do not contain any specifics, it is likely that they were not written by actual customers of those web hosts. Real reviews will contain details, such as a comment about how a technical issue with the host was resolved or an opinion about how easy the control panel is
to navigate and why.
– Legitimate host rating websites will also break down the ratings into categories.
These categories can include types of hosts, such as shared hosts, dedicated server hosts, and reseller hosts. They may also include features, such as cPanel hosts, one-click WordPress Install, E-Commerce hosts, Green hosts, and more.
Once you have found a credible and trustworthy website that is rating web hosting, choosing a web host provider for your website will be much easier.
Keep in mind that not all websites that rate hosting plans are alike! Many are created with the sole purpose of getting people to sign up for the web hosts that they recommend so that they can earn a commission.
(Transparency Note: I do have affiliate links for some of the hosting companies I’m going to review. I refuse to promote, for profit or not, a product or service I am not willing to use myself.)
There is no doubt that it can be tempting to use free web hosting, especially if you’re strapped for cash and have no way to pay for web hosting when you’re first getting started. While there are times that free hosting can work out OK, there are a few things you need to keep in mind before making the decision to go with a free host.
The biggest drawback to free web hosting is the fact that ultimately you don’t control it. You will always be at the mercy of the hosting company that’s giving you the free hosting. If they decide to shut down, change the rules or the way they operate you’ll have no choice but to accept it.
This can put you at risk of losing, traffic, income and any websites that you’ve built because they could disappear without notice.
You may also be limited on how you can configure your website on a free host. For instance, you may not be able to point your own domain at the site, which means you could wind up with a subdomain on
another site. As an example, if you set up a site on WordPress.com, you could wind up with a URL like cjhallock42blog.wordpress.com.
This is a lot harder to brand as your own site, and it can also make it harder to get ranked in the search engines. Some free hosts, like WordPress.com, do let you use a custom domain so that can be a decent middle ground if you have to use a free host.
Another drawback is that free hosts also often include their own content and advertising on your web pages. If you have a personal website this isn’t a very big deal, but if you are building a business website this can hurt your own conversions for things like email list sign-ups or purchases of your own products.
When it comes to choosing a good free web host it is no different than looking for a paid service, just be sure to do your research, read the reviews and compare features. The bottom line is, free web hosts can be great for personal websites, as feeders to send traffic and build backlinks to sales sites, but they are best avoided for building business websites and generating revenue.
Now, we are going to talk a little bit about the technical side of web hosting, so that you can better understand the technical terms that most web hosting companies use and explain what some of the more important ones mean.
For those of us who aren’t “tech savvy” when it comes to choosing a web host, it can be even more intimidating than buying a new PC. All of the technical terms that the hosting companies use to describe what they have to offer might as well be written in ancient Greek.
Probably the two most critical factors when choosing a hosting plan are storage and bandwidth.
First, let’s take a look at storage. This is the amount of hard drive space you will have access to when you purchase a hosting package. It is used to store all the files for your websites. Including pages, content,
scripts, images, videos, etc.
How much storage do you actually need?
This is a difficult question to answer because it will vary depending on a number of factors:
– How large do you plan to make your website?
– Are you using static HTML or a CMS like WordPress or Joomla?
– Are you going to be using a lot of multimedia content, like images, audio, and video?
Video, audio, and images take the most space so if you expect to use a lot of multimedia content, you will want a hosting plan with more storage
– some even include unlimited storage.
Next, we have the bandwidth. This is the amount of data that is transferred by your web host.
In other words, how much data your visitors are transferring to and from the server when they visit your website. Larger files like; video, audio, and images use up more bandwidth than text-based content. Keep in
mind that as your traffic grows, or if you get a large influx of traffic your bandwidth will also increase.
This can often be hard to calculate before they happen, so it’s a good idea to find a hosting company that offers unlimited bandwidth or at least has an upgrade option available. This way as your needs
grow you will be covered. It is important to look into this ahead of time because if your bandwidth limits are exceeded, the costs can go up quickly and you will be left holding the bag.
The control panel offered by your web host will play a big role in how you will work with your websites. It is designed to simplify the management and administration of your website. It also helps you automate many of the tasks that will make your website more functional.
One of the most common control panels is cPanel. It allows you to handle all of your own administrative tasks like; adding and removing email accounts, managing your database, checking website statistics installing content management functions like WordPress etc.
A web host that has cPanel, will make many aspects of working with your website much easier. Especially if you have no experience with website coding, HTML, or programming. Through cPanel, you can also handle your own administrative tasks.
There are many different control panels available depending on the web hosting company you choose. As you begin your research you may find these more common ones:
Plesk – Its interface is similar to Windows XP and its features are
similar to cPanel.
DirectAdmin – its features are quite similar to cPanel as well.
Hosting Accelerator – It mainly supports a Windows server, it lacks many features common to others and isn’t very user-friendly.
InsPanel – This is a Windows server supporting control panel with many well-organized features.
In this last section, before we review our list of hosting companies, we are going to talk a little bit about shared hosting reseller hosting and dedicated servers, so that you can make the best decision for your websites.
First, let’s talk about the difference between shared and reseller hosting. We talked a little bit about shared hosting earlier in this guide and we learned that it is what most basic web hosting plans offer. With shared
hosting there will be many different websites on a single web server, all of which share the resources such as storage, RAM, and bandwidth, hence the name shared hosting.
Reseller hosting, on the other hand, as the name indicates, is made for people who want to be able to resell hosting to others. It gives you more control over the management of your sites, as well as the ability to set up a unique account for each new website you build.
But most reseller accounts still run on shared servers, so you don’t necessarily get any more resources this way. The main advantage is how you can manage multiple accounts on each.
Shared hosting will let you run multiple websites on one account with a feature called add-on domains. This lets you set up separate websites through a single account, but ultimately they are all running on the same account. As you add more website to the account, managing them all will get more and more complicated. I would recommend you use a text editor for keeping all your information in one location.
Reseller hosting doesn’t usually cost much more than shared hosting. You can find reseller accounts for as little as $7 a month, comparable to many shared hosting accounts. These lower cost plans generally have
a limited amount of storage and bandwidth, but most hosting services will let you upgrade to higher level accounts as you build more sites and your traffic increases, so this isn’t really an issue.
Just make sure you don’t sign up for an account without checking into the hosting company’s upgrade policy. You don’t want any unexpected fees or other surprises when the time comes that you need to upgrade.
In either case, shared or reseller, it’s a good idea to find out how many sites the host will load on a server. Many cheaper hosting companies run hundreds of websites from a single web server. Having so many
sites on a single machine can have negative consequences for your websites.
In fact, it can seriously impact your website’s performance, and you can also be exposed to more problems if any of the other websites hosted on that same server are doing anything shady. You could be found
“guilty by association” by the search engines and other services.
Before we close this final lesson I want to tell you a little bit about dedicated hosting servers and managed hosting services. While you may never have a need for this type of hosting it is a good idea to at least know what they are and what they can do.
These are a type of hosting in which you would lease an entire server that will not be shared with anyone. This is more flexible as well as more costly than shared or reseller hosting.
With this type of hosting you will have full control over the server, including choice of operating system, hardware, etc. Server administration is usually provided by the hosting company as an add-on service. In some cases, a dedicated server can offer less overhead and a larger return on investment. You will also be able to use as much bandwidth as needed without sharing with other websites.
When it comes to selecting the right web hosting company it is definitely a big decision that should be carefully considered and researched. So, before you select any hosting company, learn about its service, check out its reputation and you will rest assured that you will make the right choice for you.
Hope this helps you!