Hosting/ web hosting enables you publish your website to the internet. Hosting, webspace, domains are necessary parts of successful blogging. Learn more
The starting point: What is web hosting?
Web hosting is a space and bandwidth you rent to publish websites on the internet. The space quantity is how many files in your site you can put online and the bandwidth is proportional to the amount of traffic your site can handle.
When choices are too little or too many, it becomes harder to choose one, discriminating the other. As web hosting companies are increasing in number and allure users with their offer, one needs certain tips or criteria to discriminate and choose one accordingly. These tips could be used as basics or check points to choose hosting platforms.
Here Are 7 Basic Tips, You Can’t Avoid.
- Avoid free domain web hosting if you are looking for serious blogging. It is a fact most of us started on free platforms to test or to learn our interests without spending too much. But when deciding to become a professional or even a hobby blogger, then it becomes obvious that it should be more owned. This means when you blog on free sites, everything you write is on other’s servers and you don’t own the content.
In addition, some lost their domain, taken by others, without realizing that they had to register it. For example, penzine.com is a hosted website. But if it had been hosted as free site, for example let’s say on platform called freehost.com, then penzine.com would have looked like penzine.freehost.com. We call ‘free host’ a sub domain. If one forgets to register penzine.com and if taken then it would, as you can imagine, be useless to blog on subdomains as the traffic would go to the dot com domain.
… if your free blogging service goes belly-up for some reason, your blog might suddenly cease to exist, especially if you can’t transfer your files to another host. Sure, they’ll probably let you know well in advance if they’re going to leave you high and dry, but there’s something disconcerting about knowing that you don’t have the ultimate control over your site.John Biggs and Charlie, bloggers book camp
- Separate domain registrar and hosting platforms– And again even if you avoid free and join the other, remember to separate the registrar and the hosting platform. This means you would have to research for two companies. This is because if you do it in one place, one, your site’s fate would be same us the #1, owned by one company that has access to both your domain and data. Two, if something happens to the server, example virus, hacks, as they are somewhat likely to happen, then you atleast can save one, your name or your file.
They say a mouse with two holes won’t die fast. Separate your domain and hosting.
- How much space and bandwidth- most hosts give you a space that should be enough for blogs and simple sites. Image or video sites might need a different category of hosting, for security and the space they need. (see tip 6 for more.) Moz also advices the basics offer of most hosts would be enough (for beginners)
You get good services (in most hosts) …as less as $5 a month…the disk space… 10-70 GB…Plus, the bandwidth up to 500 GB…is good enough for your web business.MOZ
- Backups-penzine also advises to choose host that has a regular back up system without you involved. Website security is a bit tricky. It is hardly true that your site is fully protected even with plugins and other security software. Viruses are born every day. The host should backup your file regularly even if you forgot to do so.
- Uptime is also necessary, perhaps needs priority on your check list. Uptime is for how long your site is up and running, without disturbance for server updates or maintenance. Most hosting companies promise uptime of 99.9 %.
…the aforementioned features are valuable … but none matches the importance of site uptime. If your site is down, clients or customers will be unable to find you or access your products or services. … our review process… the results show that most Web hosts do an excellent job of keeping sites up and running.Jeffrey L. Wilson, Pcmag.com
- Price is also important, especially if you are bootstrapping. As per the amount of your files and the traffic you have, you have four choices.
- Free hosting- usually you have no or little authority on the look of your site. They usually have ads and limited access. It is free.
- Shared hosting might cost you up to 20 dollars/ month. Your site will be put on same server with other clients, although is separated for security purposes. This is what most bloggers use.
- VPS (Virtual Private Servers)- This could cost up to 40 dollars per month. This is chosen for privacy and security purposes as the websites need to be secluded from other sites.
- Dedicated Server-You pay ten times the VPS amount as you own your own server. In this option you don’t get a space on a server but the server itself. It is fast and secured.
- Web host reviews- what people are saying about hosting services? This is crucial, especially if you tend to be perfectionist as many people are. It would be expensive to use trial and error to choose your fit. People tell, usually, frankly based on their personal experience. There are review sites that let users tell their stories and experiences with their hosting company. Reading these would be useful for the process.
Whoishostingthis, for example, has 346 Hosts Reviews, 8,251 Unique Reviews and 10 Shortlisted Hosts. The reviews are updated with certain schedule, that makes it updated and reliable. For example, the post Announcing the best web hosts of 2016 gives you a great insight on other’s experiences with hosts and hosting.
By Jeffrey L. Wilson Senior Analyst, Software writes The Best Web Hosting Services of 2016 He notes the price, capability, services and uptimes of ‘top 10’ hosts. Detailed reviews are included for each host.
Reviewdotcom also analyzed more than 15,000 web hosting companies (self-claimed) and they chose 3 top services. The best web hosting includes criteria for choosing these services and they made their pick based on these criteria.
Cases: where top bloggers are hosting their site.
Where should I host my blog? If you have not decided yet on where to host your site, then this would help.
Let’s see 10 example websites and where they are hosted. The lists are directly taken form Top 10 Most Inspirational Bloggers in The World post by lifehack.org. These are blogs from different topics/niches (chosen by penzine to show where blogs with diverse topics are hosted on the internet.)
|Blog name||Niche/ topics||Name server||Host/ registrar|
|1||GaryVaynerchuk.com||Personal Development/ personal branding and business…||domaincontrol.com||godaddy.com|
|2||SEOmoz.org||SEO (search engine optimization)||—||—-|
|5||thedishdaily.com||Food/ cooking||domaincontrol.com||godaddy.com, llc|
|8||Fourhourworkweek.com/blog||Life hack/ life style||wordpress.com||wildwestdomains.com|
|9||TimothySykes.com||Penny stock trading/ money||stabletransit.com||godaddy.com|
What is the best hosting for a self-hosted WordPress blog?
There are few sites that have managed word press hosting, that provide special attention for WordPress users. This might include one click WordPress installation instead of hectic uploads, MySQL forms and more. It only takes minutes to finish installing. It might also have themes for the website; or different space and bandwidth that is compatible with WordPress
In pcmag’s review 2016, except inmotion web hosting and hostwinds web hosting the rest have managed WordPress hosting.
How I chose my first domain registrar and hosting company.
At the beginning years of learning about blogging, it easy to get overwhelmed in information flood. Although most infomation on the internet is similar, there are few that struck us and remind us the necessity of understanding the basics. Tips mentioned above were part of the selection process. Any hosting company who promised otherwise were eliminated from my list.
At the time I had three choices: namecheap, bluehost and godaddy, chosen after simple research. (By no means these agencies are the top nor am I an affiliate)
These three hosts fulfilled my criteria for web space and bandwidth with small only difference. This makes it hard to choose one over the other. All three have automatic backup system and promised 99.9 up time that is check for tip #4 and #5. Shared server also seemed appropriate for my beginner blog. Then price seemed a tool to choose one. (note: prices are not accurate for present use)
|Domain||$10.7/ yr||$13 /year|
|Hosting||$47.82/ yr||$84.3(now is cheaper)||$47.88 euro|
The data represents only prices that existed years before the time this post is written.
Best option= 47.88 + 10.7= 58.58
Second option= 47.82 + 13= 60.82
Amazingly I could save some money by choosing based on numbers: adding and subtracting.
The Action: registering domain and hosting
After learning the theoretical and practical aspects of hosting, now is time to register and host our own. The first step to register domain is to find one and check if it existed or if it is not already taken. You can do it in different domain name checking sites including whois.com or whois.net.
The best way to check your domain is on the domain registrar site itself. As I explained on the process I chose my registrar years before (not affiliate), name cheap was a good one for my budget and my taste. The process is usually similar to other registrars.
For the purpose of example let’s use one of the domain names from the post ‘129 unregistered domains you can register and use today ‘ What you have to do is just enter the domain name, without spaces or no capital letters, into the search box. Then the site will search for other similar domains and return on the next page. It displays ‘The domain is available’ or ‘The domain is not available’. The page also suggests other extensions other than .com. This might include .org, .net, .xyz, .club, .online, .website.
Then click on the domain you liked then it will enter to your cart, that is visible on the right side of the page.
Click ‘view cart’ will direct you to the next page that shows forms and questions including how long you need to register, and if you are interested in extra security which most usually ignores (until you become known). Make sure you selected how long you need to register your domain. (usually, they inform you when the expiration time closes)
This will take you to next page that asks you to enter your credentials or to sign up. After that you approve your payment, you can pay with PayPal or credit card.
Congratulations, within minutes you owned your domain. From now on (unless it expires) that specific domain belongs to you. No one else could have same domain with same extension like you have.
The next process will be finding a good host, that is different domain registrar. (tip #2) For illustration, let’s take godaddy for our hosting choice. Click on hosting, it offers you choices including web hosting, WordPress hosting, dedicated IP and premium DNS and other server options. If you are blogging the chose WordPress hosting. This will direct you to next page. For basic site or for beginner bloggers, the basic option would be enough.
Click on ‘configure’. On the next page, leave other options unchecked and click continue. Here it asks you to enter your domain. Make sure your domain is registered on the other registrar first, in this case, we did it on Namecheap above. Usually, first-year domain registration is free if you host and register it in the same place. (which I don’t recommend)
Since you registered your domain on name cheap click ‘continue without my free domain’
This will lead you to product page where you see the price and you can proceed to check out.
Click ‘proceed to checkout’ and same registration process will continue.
Once you finished the process they will send you steps to connect your domain to your host and process of entering your admin page. From there you can install WordPress or other scripts where you can start blogging.
Hosting can also be tricky sometimes. As most registrars and hosts work to get as much money and as much client as they can to dominate the market. Careful analysis of the hosts would be useful. The tips listed are necessary and should be used as baseline for choosing your host and registrar.
If you are like most people you are probably waiting for something to happen before you chose your domain or register and host your site. It is probably better if you fail many items than waiting for a perfect moment, which actually doesn’t come. I wish you the best in your endeavors. Please comment below, I would replay soon.