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Guide to web site hosting


How to choose hosting for web site

What is behind "unlimited web space"? Web hosting company is offering unlimited web space. How much you will spend for an average website. Probably 10 to 30MB, not more. Web hosting company is offering unlimited bandwidth. How much you will spend? 1-2 GB, maybe 5GB, not more.

These above are averages. Somebody can spend more, somebody less, very small percent of users are eating space and bandwidth. There is no unlimited bandwidth and web space, that is marketing trick to get new customers.

Todays, when CMS and blogging are popular, more important is processor power and RAM. Many newbies are messing up their blog and CMS installation using non optimized plug-ins, spending more and more of processor power. That is limitation factor today, so avoid happy bloggers communities.

What is important when you are looking for good web hosting?
Visit web hosting forums and read what others have to say. Doing search at google, you can find some reviews, but stick to the forums. Do not try to save on web hosting. If your site is earning $100 at day, refund for server downtime is something not worth to even talk about.


Shared hosting

Shared hosting means that many sites are hosted on the same IP, what could be a problem when your site is hosted along with search engine spammers sites. Search engines will not ban entire shared IP due to spammers, but sometimes even that could happen.
So, shared hosting with "unlimited" domains offer is sometimes thing to avoid. Dedicated IP could solve that possible problem with search engines and it is not that big investing.

When looking for reliable hosting, you can use whois tool at whois.sc (they have a free whois tool for download, too). Entering known domain name, along with classic whois info, you can see where that website is located, is it blacklisted or not, how many other domains are hosted on the same server, and a list of a few domain names (trial), where is possible to conclude, according to those listed domain names, is it neighborhood of that site "spammy"

DNS (Domain Name Servers) listed (NS1, NS2), could show you where that domain is hosted. It is not the case always, so performing search for listed DNS, you will probably find FAQ page from hosting provider where those domains are mentioned (DNS setup FAQ)


SEO webhosting

SEO (search engine optimization) web hosting is the latest buzz. Since on shared hosting you cannot do extensive linking between websites on the same IP address (penalized from search engines), you need to take separate hosting account for every website (different IP). SEO webhosting is solving that problem offering different C class (IP address = A.B.C.D) for every website, under one account. Prices are little lower, but similar like with separate hosting (different webhosting companies). Advantage is, if webhosting Company is reliable, less headache than with separate hosting accounts. But, stop, what you think, who will use this advantage of different C class first? And who will later find and blacklist this practice?


Server location

Server location is important too. If you plan to make site for USA based visitors, you will not buy web hosting in China. It depends where is your target market. If is USA, buy hosting in USA and get Top Level Domain (com,net). If you are targeting local area (some Country), buy hosting there and register domain with that Country extension if it is possible. Server response is faster (for visitors) when it is located in targeted Country, and search engines (Google for now) will give you a boost in local searches.
On many web hosting companies sites (about), it is possible to find where servers (data center) are located and how they are connected to the Net. To get server location, you can also use tools on dnsstuff.com.
Read here more about server location and search engines: web hosting location article


Server UpTime

Nobody can guarantee 100% UpTime. Servers are computers. There is maintenance, rebooting, and that is not 100% uptime. Because of that, 99,9% uptime is "invented".


Hosting Plans

Keep in mind that your small site can be big one day, so be sure that you can upgrade to more space and bandwidth. Which plan to take, depends of what kind of web site you plan to host. PHP and MySQL are recommended. If you don't need it now, you will need it later. If not for the first site, maybe for second or third.

One month, three months, six months, year, what to choose? Is it option for one month, go for it. Test web hosting, so you can decide is it worth. Yes, I know that whole year is cheaper, but it can be more expensive when host is not reliable. Go for a year only if you are sure that web hosting is good. How many days of money back guarantee? Check that too.

Free domain or not free domain? If "free" domain, with hosting account, is offered, you can take it, but be sure that domain is registered on your name/company.

How many domains, subdomains? Five, six, unlimited domains? Every add-on domain is potential new site. So, more domains, more sites. But then they are dependable of the same server. What means, if sever is down, all domains are down.

Carefully check plans and compare with your needs. Look for hidden charges (setup fee and additional offers what should be included), look at fine print at bottom, avoid hosting company who is pushing only advantages of their offer with a big letters. Always look for a small print, there is always some catch behind, especially if offer sounds too good to be true.


How to save on web hosting

There is big competition in this field, and every hosting company is doing everything to get more customers and there is always some promotion and some coupon around. Discount, when you take 2 years or more is an one more way to save, but go with that only if you are sure that web company is reliable.


Web hosting support

It is nice to see when web hosting company has support forum opened to public. That means there is nothing to hide. And forum is good pre-selling tool, even when there are problems with servers. But, there is no web hosting without problems. If you see support forum and large knowledge base, you can be sure that support is good. Support is important, and will be good to make a few test calls to test response.


Additional checking

Hosting company checked in forums, nothing bad, checked in search engines, nothing bad. Now, go to whois.net and check their domain registration date. How long they are in web hosting business? Reseller account is not expensive. Everybody can become a host, and sell web hosting to you. If that hosting company is new, you can't be sure that they will be there next year.


Free web space - free web hosting

If you really don't have any other choice, you can use free hosting for the first time. You must know, that sites hosted on free web space are simply ignored from search engines. I don't need to tell you that with all banners from free webspace provider displayed on your site, you are paying more for hosting than paying customers. What means, with your banners or google ads instead of theirs, you can pay hosting expenses and earn additional income. In other words, forget free hosting if you are serious. While there was one banner per page in the past, today is free hosting overloaded with annoying ads and popups.


Where to host your new site?

This site (and not only this one) is hosted on BlueHost
Recommended hosting, according to my experience from 2006. ($50 Yahoo and $25 Adwords included)
Another one I can recommend is HostGator.
Check, compare, decide. I have only good experience with them.
About domains. You can register new domain along with new hosting account, but I suggest, to have a better control, to use one of the domain registrars, say, popular Namecheap.com

One more advice when you are looking for a good hosting.
Avoid cheap plans. Something like $3.99/mo is only for personal sites. You can't expect too much for that price. If you are short with money, you can take cheap hosting plan for start, but be sure that company is reputable and you can upgrade later. HostGator (above) has one good cheap hosting plan for starters.



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