Let’s just say it as it is! People that want to own a website do not know much about choosing great hosting. In the past there were not many options that you had to go through. Nowadays everything is a lot more complicated. We are faced with a huge diversity in both hosting providers and available hosting options. Choosing can be quite difficult. Even some of the top web designers do not know everything about hosting so you can only imagine how tough it may be for a beginner.
We have three main steps that have to be considered whenever creating a website as a beginner:
- Choosing web host
- Choosing a domain name
- Choosing the application to manage and create content
How Can I Choose The Best Web Host?
As already mentioned, this is the very first step you have to take when you start a site project. Every website is hosted somewhere, with a hosting provider. Web hosting includes the computer space where the files of the site are stored, extra services and traffic. Extra services that are offered include technical assistance, firewall protection, domain name registration, site building tools, FTP access and a lot more. Whenever you look for a web hosting package, you have to consider the following.
Free Versus Paid Web Hosting
Most webmasters are currently looking for a free provider. This is especially true for the first site created. It is a process that is totally understandable and you might think the same as there is a pretty good possibility that you do not know how to properly compare the hosting services. Because of this, the price cannot properly be analyzed.
The problem is that there are many things that count. You cannot just think about the price tag. Most of the really cheap or free hosting packages will come with ads that are published on websites. Few of them offer technical assistance. Because of this, the paid hosting is usually the one that you have to consider.
Choosing the paid hosting packages is difficult. Since we are talking about choosing hosting from a beginner’s point of view, let us think about the most important things that have to be considered.
Customer Feedback – Technical Support offered
This is the most important thing that you need at the end of the day as a beginner. You want to have someone to solve your problems in the event that you run into them. Use major search engines like Yahoo or Google in order to find sites that talk about hosting providers. You will there see if the considered provider is reliable, if the tech issues are quickly solved, if uptime numbers are met, if customers enjoy the experience they have and a lot more.
Technical support is necessary sometimes. You may run into problems when you start, when you upload files, when you create your very first email and so on. Technical support allows you to ask questions and receive answers from someone working for the hosting provider.
In some situations the questions need to be answered immediately or really fast. With this in mind, the hosting provider should offer round the clock technical support. Many believe that this is only offered when dealing with complex services like VPS hosting but that is not the case. Technical questions always need to be answered after around 2 hours.
You should also take a close look at the technical competency offered. Phone support may seem like something that is suitable but that is not actually the case. You want to be offered the use of a well built ticketing system. This helps beginners a lot more than other options.
What Hosting Features Are Offered?
Web hosting plan features are hard to understand. As time passes, more seem to appear. For instance, around the year 2003 we had maximum disk space of 5 MB offered. Nowadays we have access to unlimited everything. Checking the TOS is a really good idea as you get to see exactly what is offered.
Read articles and see if the considered provider offers the following since they are usually necessary for all people that build a website.
You buy a domain name and a hosting package so you surely want to have some sort of dedicated email like [email protected]. Do not assume that this is all you need. The provider should also offer POP3, IMAP and SMTP in order to allow you to use software or even a GMAIL address to easily check the email address. If you are particularly busy and you expect a lot of email, you should also have autoresponders and an email forwarding service.
The necessary website tools for every user vary. Nowadays most people want blogs. In this case you should look for a hosting provider that offers automatic WordPress installation or at least a similar platform so it is easier to build the website that you want to have. The alternative would be to install manually. The same goes for galleries, CMS and even forums. Take a look at the website tools listed and see if there is something that you can use. The more tools offered, the bigger the possibility that you will save money on professional developer and designer fees!
PHP And MySQL
Nowadays it is important to have PHP and MySQL so do not choose a host that does not have one. You can use other languages but these are the ones that are the most acceptable for most beginners. The cron jobs are also sometimes a necessity since you might have programs that have to periodically run.
This includes SSL, shopping carts and basically anything that would help you to build an online store with ease. It is worth mentioning this since there is a growth in the number of people that want to build websites through which to sell something.
Keep in mind that you usually need to pay more for the security certificate and the inclusion of a really good shopping cart. However, if you want to save some money, different hosting providers do give access to easy installation of open source shopping carts. You can use this on your first website. However, the SSL certificate is always a must have when you want to allow credit card payments.
The Control Panel
Your control panel should be really easy to use. We recommend cPanel since it has a fast learning curve and it is incredibly easy to find tutorials about it on the internet. Remember that the control panel is the one that allows you to upload files, change site files, passwords, modify email accounts, properly manage databases and a whole lot more.
Learn all that you can about cPanel and you will see a lot of interesting features. It is a good idea to learn about it before you actually buy a hosting package. A few days dedicated to this will help you to set up the website faster.
Start With A WordPress Blog!
If you are a beginner and you do not understand much about web hosting packages, the best thing that you can do is use WordPress to create your very first website. This blogging platform is really easy to be used in order to develop a site of any kind. You will surely appreciate the fact that you have access to a lot of features, plugins, themes and much more. Nowadays many web hosting providers offer one click installation of WordPress.
The internet is basically filled with tutorials about WordPress. You will have your site operational really fast after you buy the domain name and the hosting package. In many situations the first article written on your site will be done in just 15 minutes. As time passes many modifications can be made.
The best thing about WordPress is that it is free. Why not start with something like this since it would mean that the only financial investment you make is in the hosting and the domain name.
Pay Attention To Special Features That May Be Necessary!
Based on the type of site that you want to build, there are situations in which some hosting packages would not be available since they do not have some software that is vital for the proper operation of the scripts you would use. For instance, when dealing with a traffic exchange script, you may need a lot of things and the regular cron jobs may not be enough.
Before you choose your hosting provider, look at that special script that you want to install. There is always a list of server requirements listed. Compare that list with the full details offered by the web hosting providers. These need to match.
Shared Versus Dedicated
A shared web hosting package means that your site will be hosted together with other websites on the same server. The dedicated server is the one that you have all for yourself. We also have virtual servers but that is not something that you will consider when you are a beginner.
The choice is usually really simple. Most beginners should choose the shared web hosting option. Only professionals look for dedicated websites. However, there are situations in which you may need dedicated options. This usually happens as your site grows.
Whenever you are faced with traffic growth, there is a pretty good possibility that you end up with your hosting package to not be suitable. You need to be sure that you are looking at suitable and supportive hosting. If you see that there is a timeout when you try to access your site or various problems appear while browsing, there is a possibility that you will need an upgrade.
Do not instantly think about the dedicated option. In many situations you will need to talk with a hosting provider and see what upgrades are available. With this in mind, remember the point that was mentioned above about technical support. It is important that the people working at the hosting provider help you to make a switch to something more suitable.
Have Patience To Make A Correct Choice!
On the whole, you need to look at the different options that are currently available on the market. You will definitely locate a good hosting provider. Do not try to go for the companies that you cannot find out a lot about. There is a reason why the top hosting packages are currently the top hosting packages! It is always better to go for something that has a very high popularity instead of something that is cheaper by a few dollars every month. This is how many end up with a service that is not great as they just want to save some money.