Thanks for reading our part two of the Start a website from scratch series that will focus on picking a hosting provider. We are going to continue on in this post from where we left off! For those that did not read the last post, here is the quick overview to make sure you are caught up and not missing out on any important details!
In the last post, we took time to discuss the first step of starting a website from scratch – purchasing a domain. We went over the best site to buy your domain from, GoDaddy, and even walked through how to check on your domain’s status. If you have any more questions about this, please refer to the previous post, and hopefully there will be an answer to your question there!
Moving forward – we are going to dive into setting up hosting for your website! As mentioned in the last post, the domain is only the address people will use to find your site. Sort of like your home address if you will, but now you need a way to broadcast that address out to the world! That is where hosting comes in.
Web Hosting Basics
I bet you are excited to get moving and let people find your website, but hold your horses there cowboy (or cowgirl). You need to learn a few web hosting basics first.
Hosting packages and companies are something that needs some serious thought. By using the wrong hosting provider you could potentially be costing your self hundreds to thousands of dollars down the line and countless hours of frustration. Hosting is basically the step that could largely determine a few very important things for your digital future:
- Website up time
- Page load speed
- How many sites you can host
- Emails accounts
- How many visitors you can have
These are just some of the reasons I say picking your hosting provider AND HOSTING PLAN is extremely important. Understand this could seriously be the most important thing you do in setting up your website. I am going to go through each of the listed items and describe why it is important, and what to look out for when signing up with a hosting provider and plan.
At the end of it all, I will tell you the hosting provider I started out with, what happened that made me leave that provider that could of cost me thousands of dollars, and the hosting provider I am with now that I love but is more expensive. Let’s dive into website up time.
Website Up Time
You might not know this, but websites can go down or go off-line at times. This is almost always due to the hosting provider’s lack of service or unavailability. What typically happens is the hosting provider’s servers need to be updated, fixed, or simply managed which correlates to your site not receiving hosting service during this time.
While these periods are usually short, they can be up to 24 hours periods in the event of real server problems. Now, if you are only looking to blog once a week and not take it seriously, then you might not really care about this. Although, it is definitely something to look into when signing up for hosting providers before hand.
Typically on a monthly basis, the hosting provider needs to have at a minimum a 99% up time on average. Anything less than that and you really do not want to waste your time. Trust me, there is nothing more annoying then going to your site to check your traffic or post a new blog and being unable to access or even find your site! You really do not want to deal with this.
Page Load Speed
Oh boy, this is one thing that really sets good websites apart from bad ones.
Page load speed is a huge deal when you start to dig into some of the statistics for how long people wait before clicking off of a site. Typically, any page that loads slower than 3 seconds is considered poor by most rating standards. Unfortunately, with almost all of the early or low cost hosting packages, your page speed will be quite slow.
You see those low cost packages just group a bunch of sites onto certain servers that are really are not designed for performance lets just say. Therefore, the hosting provider you go and plan you pick will definitely effect your page load speed.
Another important thing to know is that Google rates sites by their page load speed. If you site loads too slow, the crawlers will ping it and Google will not rank you as high. It basically effects your domain authority in the end, which ultimately means less people will find your blog. If you are running ads, affiliate links, or planning to sell things on your site, this can cost you big time.
The last thing to consider is user experience. Have you ever been on a seriously slow website where every page takes 10 to even 20 seconds to load? Well, if you are not careful, that could be your site. Make sure you take page load speed seriously is all I am getting at.
How Many Sites Can You Host
While you are setting up your first website, you probably are not concerned about this.
Although, it is great to plan ahead. In most cases, you will want more websites. It is sort of like starting a new hobby. You get your feet wet, realize how much there is to learn, find out ways to draw more attention, and then bam, you have 10 websites. I am not saying this is how it works for everyone, but more often than not, you will want more than one website. There could be an additional portfolio site you want to set up for yourself, a second blog site, a side business, or even a website for a friend!
All I am saying is, it sure helps to be able to host multiple websites on a single plan. There are many plans in addition that account for this, and the plan I am currently on “Enterprise” allows me to host as many sites as I please!
In the end, this is entirely up to you. If you just want this one site, and you are sure you will never want any more, then don’t worry about it!
Email accounts are an important part of any online business or website, and this is something you will need.
For example, I have several blogs and occasionally I get people messaging me to guest post on them. Great, I think. Every post on my site is just more content for me to rank for, it is a win win in my opinion. Although, the only way they were able to reach out was through the email I set up for my blogs.
You might be wondering, why can’t I just use my personal email? Because – it will get flooded with spam. There are thousands and millions of bots, crawlers, and creeps scanning the internet for emails and phone numbers. It is important to get a separate email for your website to avoid any unwanted attention or solicitation.
Can you not just create a gmail account? Of course you can! Although, gmail looks quite unprofessional for websites to have listed, but if you are just making a personal blog then go for it! For my websites and businesses, I have personal emails for each that were set up through my hosting provider. They came with the plan I purchased and really make the sites look professional. Most people will look for emails that represent the website like: firstname.lastname@example.org. I would suggest going ahead and setting this up if you are serious about your website or trying to start a business!
How many visitors you can have
New website owners may be unaware, but hosting plans only come with so many “visitors” in each plan. I was fully unaware of this even 9 months into blogging and it really bit me in the butt.
I had 3 blogs at the time, one in particular was getting anywhere between 200 – 500 visits a day. Some days, articles would take off on social media channels leading to thousands of unique visitors in a single day. My most popular day I had over 5,000 unique visitors on my largest blog! I really had no idea what to do, it was an amazing feeling the first time my blogs took off like that.
Unfortunately, it all came crashing down when out of the blue my website was taken down. Not only was it taken down, but the other two were as well for a period. I panicked and reached out to my hosting provider for an explanation.
Apparently, I had over used my hosting plan by a lot. By a lot I mean, My website had over 65,000 unique visitors in the first 9 months! That sounds great, but my plan was not made for that type of exposure. On top of that, my website was getting a DDoS attack where people spam requests from your site to try and get it shut down. This was due to the popularity and some of the content I had written on their competitors. I had not done anything wrong, my site was just too popular, and the hosting provider I had could not handle it.
What’s the point of the story? Plan ahead. Like the emails and the hosting plan for number of sites you can have, it is vital to your website for you to plan for success. In that case, plan to have a bunch of visitors in the first year!
Pick a Hosting Provider
With all of that knowledge tucked away in your heads, it is time. Time to review the two hosting services I have used, the research I did, and what to look out for.
The hosting service I started my blogging and website journey with is the well known HostGator!
HostGator Hosting Experience
Let me preface this by saying, in no way was I mad or unhappy with my service at HostGator.
In the process of learning how to blog, the internet world is a scary place. There are a ton of ways you can mess things up or simply destroy your website if you are not careful! In addition, there are plenty of services that will fully take advantage of your lack of knowledge and take your money for little in return. HostGator does not do that.
HostGator is one of the more beginner friendly hosting services out there with plenty to accommodate new website creators. A great thing about HostGator is their cheap price plans as well! Basically, this hosting provider is for noobies just looking to try out blogging, websites, and online businesses. It is not for professionals, and definitely not the best on the market.
- Easy to use interface and backend
- Low prices and services
- Friendly customer service
- Consistent up time
- Easily set up wordpress for your site
- Plenty of YouTube tutorials to learn from
- No hidden fees
- Not the best service tools
- Slow page speed on almost all the plans
- Limited usage as my story tells above with most plans
- Lack of professional help from customer service – you probably won’t need any of this type of help as a beginner
- Not scalable for long-term success
Although, what it lacks it makes up for with dirt cheap prices, friendly customer service, and consistent up time. I can hardly remember if my sites ever went down while using HostGator, and I do not think they did.
I would recommend HostGator people looking to dabble in websites or to get a feel for the space, but not someone looking to get serious with it.
NameHero Hosting Experience
The second hosting provider I went with was found from hours upon hours of research. I watched almost every single comparison video online, did review research, looked at up time, pricing, page speed indicators, and even talked to a few friends that blog and own sites.
I came to the conclusion that NameHero was one of the best options on the market for long-term sustainable growth. This was heavily important to me since what happened to me before cost me weeks to fix. Not to mention I had to migrate all of my sites, files, posts, images, themes, and everything to the new hosting provider with the help of a personal friend who is a sufficiently good coder.
Even with his help, and he is a professional by all means, it took us 2 to 3 weeks to get everything back setup and running on the new hosting provider. Imagine having to pay someone to help with that, it would have cost me hundreds and probably thousands of dollars for someone to do all of that work for me. Seriously, take your hosting provider seriously because it is a mess trying to migrate to a new one. Back to NameHero –
Why Choose NameHero
For starters, they had everything I required for my plethora of websites and more. I ended up going with their “Business Cloud” service which allows upwards of 100,000 visitors a month and a ton of other features. I chose this plan for several reasons:
- Unlimited websites
- Fast page load speed
- Unlimited customized email accounts
- Extremely helpful and functional backend
- Professional support
- Scales extremely well with all of the websites I have long-term
- Reasonable Pricing for the features I was given compared to other market alternatives
Theses are some of the main reasons, but the ones that really sold me where the price, page speed, and large traffic I could now have. This just mean more traffic for ad revenue, website ranking, and readers! What is a blog without readers am I right?
Hosting Provider Overview – Picking a Hosting Provider
I hope this post on web hosting basics was helpful in some way. You should know the importance of hosting providers now, and be able to go out and make your own informed decisions! Remember, most people discussing these platforms on the web or YouTube, are probably incentivized, so make sure you do plenty of research.
This post is absolutely 100% not incentivized in any way. I get absolutely nothing for you going to HostGator or NameHero, so please think long and hard before you give your money away to not only these platforms, but any platform.
With that being said, if I were starting over NameHero would be my go to choice. That is just my two cents!
Moving forward with our series, we will next discuss how to set up your hosting and get wordpress installed on your new website!
Till next time website pioneers.