Okay, you have your website name and it’s registered to you at namecheap.com. Now, let’s move on to Step 2, acquiring space on a web hosting server.
A web host is a service that allows individuals and organizations to make their website accessible on the World Wide Web. Web hosts are companies that provide leased space on a server for use by clients, typically in a data center.
In order for others to see the website you build on your computer, it must be hosted somewhere. There are many different web hosts. Some are free, others offer standard hosting, and still, others offer dedicated or virtual hosting.
Which to choose?
Free sounds like a pretty good deal. But, choosing a free website is one of the most common mistakes made by beginning website builders.
WordPress.com — that’s the .com version, not WordPress.org — and Blogspot at Blogger.com are two of the more popular free sites. But, the important thing to remember is that you will never own the site and you have to operate under the rules set up by the site administrators. For instance, you can’t monetize a basic WordPress.com site and to get the right to do fancy things with your site you’ll have to pay more than a web host would cost you.
Oh, and this is just as true of Facebook websites. You don’t own them, you have to operate by their rules and Facebook does shut websites down, sometimes for being too popular.
Almost every web host gives you access to WordPress.org — again, that’s .org not .com. WordPress.org gives you access to thousands of themes and tens of thousands of plugins not available to WordPress.com websites. And once you pay your monthly hosting expense, everything about WordPress.org is free
I’ve been building websites since 1996 and I have experience with several different web hosts. Currently, I’m using A2 Hosting. The service is good, uptime is good and customer support is excellent.
Now, let me give you a couple of things to watch out for:
First, Ignore the numerous “Best Hosting Company” lists you’ll find online. These sites are nothing but sham sites designed to generate commissions…and web hosts pay some darn fine commissions. The lists are generated based on which host has the best deal going.
Second, Avoid sites owned by Endurance International Group (EIG) like the plague. EIG has bought up numerous sites — large and small — over the past few years. Once great sites — such as HostGator — have become slow, with major downtime and you’ll wait forever to get customer service…and you will need customer service.
For a good read on how bad EIG web hosting is, check this article at Review Hell. This site pulls no punches and if you go with an EIG owned site after reading this page, don’t say you weren’t warned.
As for A2 Hosting, it isn’t owned by EIG, and that immediately is good for points in its favor. Wait times for customer service are short whether it’s on the phone or online chat and even email has a quick turnaround. Plus, the tech support people on the phone are all native English speakers Many hosts have started outsourcing their customer support and that’s a definite negative.
When you are purchasing commercial hosting make sure that they have a record of being up at least 99.8% of the time. If you need functionality like a shopping cart or autoresponder, make sure that the web host offers these services.
Coming up, what we’ve been working toward…going live…publishing your website on the Internet.
By the way, if you click on some of the links on these pages and decide to use the respective services, I’ll be paid a small commission. It won’t cost you any more and it helps me to pay the costs of producing this website. If you’d rather visit the services I recommend, just Google the names and use the search results.