Picking the Right Web Hosting Company When You Don’t Know Jack

Let’s set the scene: You’ve been dabbling around with free blogging sites, lenses, hubs, and your own space for some time now, but lately you’ve been entertaining the idea of taking your online presence in a different direction, expanding it and maybe even monetizing it.

Those free sites have you over a barrel with respect to their strict terms of service, severe monetization restrictions and someone else’s idea of what makes a good layout. They can also suspend or terminate your account without warning and there goes all your hard work. Perhaps you know of someone who had it happen to them.

Time for Professional Web Hosting

Shopping for web hosting doesn’t have to be hard, but it’s important to compare the various offerings from a good cross-section of hosting providers and then pick a suitable plan at a decent price. We’ll be discussing shared hosting running Linux, the most affordable type of web hosting. We’ll sort through the fluff and get down to just the “must-have” basics. For the most part, everything else is just icing on the cake.

Ease of Use

Web hosting is a complex thing, but luckily skilled technicians take care of all the geeky stuff in the background. That should leave you with an easy-to-use interface, also called a control panel, for managing your web hosting account.

– My #1 recommendation is cPanel, the leader in web hosting control panels. Everything is neatly organized in logical categories and it’s got a great software installer called Fantastico.

– My #2 recommendation is vDeck only because its newly updated interface is more user-friendly. Its software installer is called InstallCentral.

Free Domain Name

Should you take advantage of free domain name offers? Buyer beware. Some are free for the life of your hosting account and others are only free for the first year. In either case, if you cancel your account or the name comes up for renewal, you’ll have to pay a fee that’s 2-3 times the going rate. If you accept the free domain offer, you will not own the name, the web host will. You will also have to pay extra for privacy protection. My best advice is to not let a free domain name offer become a deciding point in selecting a plan. Instead, register your names at a registrar where you’ll have complete control of all settings, including privacy protection for your personal information.

Multiple Domains

Most top web hosting companies allow to you host unlimited domains on a single account. These additional domains are called add-on domains. If they only allow a single domain or even a handful of domains, find a different host. You may only need one domain now, but if you catch the bug and want to explore affiliate marking or have other projects you’d like to pursue, you’ll need multiple domain capability so you don’t have to pay for more hosting.

Bandwidth

More appropriately called data transfer, it’s the amount of data travelling both to and from your overall hosting account and it’s usually metered by the month. So how much do you need? Think of it in terms of file sizes being uploaded to and fetched from the server. It includes web pages, images,.pdfs, videos, emails, music, requests from the databases and more. However big they are, that’s how much data is being transferred. Play it safe and go with unlimited (unmetered) bandwidth (data transfer) so your visitors don’t get the dreaded “Bandwidth exceeded” page instead of your site.

Site Builders

I have yet to see a hosting provider that doesn’t have some type of site builder found in the control panel, but be forewarned, you might be locking yourself into something that you can’t easily escape from should you choose to build your site with one. If you change your mind, there will be no way to migrate it into something else except to copy and paste the text from your pages. If you ever switch hosting companies, the new host may not have the same site building software so a backup will be useless in a transfer. Plus, the template selection usually consists of boxy layouts in gaudy colors in hopes that you’ll upgrade to a professional design. My advice is to not be romanced by “free site builders”. However, all hope is not lost…

Site Builders, Part Deux

WordPress is a free blogging platform and it’s become the absolute easiest way to deploy and maintain a site. It’s not just for blogging, anymore. You can run an entire business in it. WordPress is free and it’s easily installed via your control panel, but make no mistake, it’s not the stripped down version found at WordPress.com. This is the “big boy” version, what’s referred to as the self-hosted version of WordPress.

Two of WordPress’ most powerful features are themes and plugins. There are literally tens of thousands of free and paid themes to be found online that can be uploaded to your site and changing themes is a snap. Plugins extend and expand the power of WordPress to perform custom tasks not found in an off-the-shelf installation and most of them are free. It’s like Clark Kent putting on the Superman suit.

I highly recommend building your sites with WordPress. Besides, the search engines, love WordPress. Most of the top web hosting companies have WordPress available in the control panel with 1-click installation, but if you find a company that doesn’t, skip it and move on. Yes, you can install it yourself, but no web host is worth the effort if you have to roll your own.

MySQL Databases

Each installation of WordPress requires one database installation. So if you’re going to have 20 websites all running WordPress, you’ll need 20 MySQL databases. If the plan you’re looking at has an unreasonably low limit on databases, skip it.

CRON Jobs

CRON (short for chronograph) is often over-looked and just when you need it, you may not see it in your control panel because it’s not available on some shared hosting accounts. It’s a time-based job scheduler for setting up scripts to be run in the background at a particular time. As an example, it could be some type of nightly process you want to run during non-peak hours, or a month-end process that ages accounts. Most people will never use it, but I don’t want you to over look it.

Email Accounts

Most plans come with unlimited email accounts. You’ll at least want one account per domain, but more if you have customer service, an ordering process, tech support, payments, personal emails for staff, or just want to keep certain correspondence separate from others. It’s also a great time to break away from your ISP email or free email services and have a more professional email address that will follow you every where, even when you change ISPs. Unlimited is good.

Money-Back Guarantee

Most providers offer a 30 or 45 day money-back guarantee, but you won’t get back any setup fees or domain name purchases. That’s just standard, so expect it. The money you get back will be for hosting fees only. Some companies now offer an Anytime Guarantee. It’s by far the best way to go. They’ll prorate the unused hosting fees regardless of how much time is left on your plan. Definitely look for it.

Green Web Hosting

Green hosting isn’t a must, but I’ll mention it. Web hosting companies keep their servers in data centers and these centers use enormous amounts of electricity, 25% of which is used for air conditioning to cool the computer equipment. So how do they go green? By using energy efficient equipment and powering their operations with renewable energy such as wind or solar in the form of purchased of carbon offsets. Most companies purchase 100% of their power usage in offsets, but I’ve seen as high as 300%. Some also participate in global tree planting programs, have rigorous recycling programs in the office and encourage telecommuting for remote employees. I urge you to purchase hosting from a green provider, especially since it usually doesn’t cost any more.

Price

You should have no problem finding the perfect yearly plan for around $5-6/month, even cheaper if you purchase a longer term. It all depends on how much you want to spend up front. If you go with a long term, make sure they have an anytime money back guarantee so you can at least get part of your money back should you decide to leave.

Renewal Fees

Check how much it’s going to cost to renew when your term is up. Some hosting companies will run special offers for a discount up-front, but charge you full price at renewal time. Yet, there are some that keep your plan renewing at the same price you initially paid for it. When in doubt, submit a pre-sales question and ask them. Or you can go to the order form and see the plan selection for yourself. It should say something like “$4.95/month billed every 24 months”. And always be on the lookout for *’s on the order form. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see what they mean.

Better Business Bureau Rating

The BBB rates businesses much like school grades from an A+ to an F. Companies don’t need to be a BBB member in order to get a rating, but if they aren’t members and they do have a rating, you can pretty much bet the farm that it’s going to be a D or F rating because people are complaining about them, not applauding them. Look for the BBB logo on the host’s site.

In Summary

Look for these features:

– cPanel control panel

– 1-Click WordPress install

– Unlimited domains (add-ons)

– Unlimited bandwidth (data transfer)

– Unlimited email accounts

– Unlimited MySQL databases

– Anytime money-back guarantee

– BBB rating of B or higher

– Stable, non-increasing renewal fee

– Green web hosting (optional)

– CRON jobs (optional)

Ignore these features:

– Free domain name offers

– Free site builders

Use WordPress Cloning To Move Web Hosts, Sell A Business In A Box, Or Sell Your Entire Site

When you’re talking about cloning a site or backing it up or restoring it, it sounds kind of boring but it’s actually a very exciting once you imagine the possibilities. You can move your site from one host to another so that someone’s business in a box or sell your site for a quick buck.

What does it mean to move your site from one host to another? It means that maybe you have the same website, the same.com domain name but you’re moving from one provider to another. Maybe one is cheaper. Maybe one provides you with more space or it’s faster or better services.

If you back up your WordPress site and then move to a new web host and restore that WordPress site, you have an exact copy of it now. What’s great is that you might be moving your site from one web host to another or someone may be paying you even $100 or several hundred dollars to do the moving for them and all it takes is backing up your site, going to somewhere new and restoring it in the new location.

A great opportunity for WordPress users is this thing called a developer’s license. What this means is that you pay a little bit extra to plugin owners to theme developers for a developer’s license which means that you can use their theme and plugin on your site. You can’t sell that theme or plugin but you can set it up on someone else’s new site.

What if you bought a $300 theme? If you bought several $100 premium plugins and configured WordPress in an exact way that got people to read it, looks great and made sales then someone could pay you something like $100 or $500 for you to not sell them the plugin or the theme but to set it up to install it on this additional new site. You’re not selling any kind of content, not doing any kind of resell rights, you’re simply setting up your exact WordPress configuration in this way that the developer’s license allows you to. This is a business in a box.

Finally, something I’ve been saying more and more of is if someone is selling a site, the site on a domain name with a.com name alone is not going to make a lot of money. If you just say, “I’ve got this web address for sale, that’s not all of the money.” But if that property has been developed, if it contains subscribers, traffic and content now that site can sell for a lot more especially if you can show that the site makes a certain amount of monthly income.

You could offer someone on a site such as SitePoint or Flippa, I will sell you this site with the blog, with all the content. I will move the site and I will no longer have a copy but I will also install it for you and all it takes is you sell the site and you back it up, go to their new site and restore and now the site has been moved over for them.

The Best Web Hosting Company For My Business

When you find yourself looking for a web page service provider there are numerous significant things to contemplate. We are going to take a look at reliability, ease of use, features, tech support, and cost. This post investigates Hostgator, which at this time host about 4 million web pages.

Reliability

The main factor to observe when purchasing a web page host is reliability. It doesn’t matter how good your websites are if no one can view it when your website service provider is down. The most dependable hosting company is Hostgator. A number of other hosting companies just have only one datacenter. Hostgator includes four high-tech datacenters situated in different parts of the us. Every datacenter is monitored around the clock by staff members that is on site. Numerous hosting companies hire out the monitoring of their datacenter to a corporation that isn’t even in the same part of the world.

There’s two significant variables that keep a datacenter running economically: ample electric power and ample cpu cooling. Datacenters require a lot of electric power. And once the electric power goes out a backup power generators is crucial. Hostgator incorporates two electric power feeds from 2 different sources each and every datacenter. Whenever the power company has complications, it will not usually affect both power feeds. But if it does, Hostgator is prepared with many backup generators to deliver continuous power. Hostgator also offers parallel power cooling down systems to ensure the datacenter stays cold even tough an individual air conditioning crashes.

Hostgator works by using 10 distinct network providers to make certain that your website is always online. Daily backups occur in all datacenter. The back-ups have been saved off-site so your info is free from danger should problems occurs. Various other web site hosting companies don’t deliver this valuable amount of consistency.

User Friendly Set Up

Hostgator encompasses a flexible and uncomplicated to use Control Panel which helps you to very easily create your internet-site and view your internet-site statistics. Hostgator even offers through 4,000 web themes plus a convenient to use web page building program termed SiteStudio. The layouts together with SiteStudio are bundled without spending a dime to get your website up quickly and easily. No other web site service provider affords this many design templates without spending a dime!

Features

Each individual web hosting service package features limitless storage space, limitless data transfer rate together with unlimited email accounts. Hostgator gives you free of cost domain transfer as well as web page transfer from another web host that makes it easy to change from another web site web host. Each account also has a $100 Google AdWords credit to help you get started making a living with Google.

Technical Support

Hostgator possesses leading tech support which can be found 24 hours a day, seven days per week. Quite a few web site hosting companies just offer email based service. Hostgator affords technical support by phone, live chat or mail. Frequently it’s useful to be able to consult with someone about a dilemma as a substitute for seeking to make clear it by mail. The Hostgator team is knowledgeable and prepared to assist with any difficulty you could have with your web page. The Hostgator web page also offers over five-hundred how to videos and about 700 self-help posts.

Price

Costs begin at just $4.95 per month to host a single internet domain without an extended contract required. All of their web hosting service packages deliver unlimited disk space together with unlimited data transfer. If you may have a couple of web page you can host every one of them for just $7.95 per month. Hostgator also provides a no questions asked 45 day refund policy. Hostgator provides best value and most reliability of any web site service provider.