So you are ready to make your first dollar online right? Well the first thing you need to do is purchase your very own web hosting account. Unfortunately, picking the right web hosting account can be a really difficult task. Especially if you are not technically inclined at all, because all the different choices and options you have to pick from will make anybody’s head swim.
Luckily, I have a lot of experience with web hosting in my business. I currently have accounts with over 10 different web hosting companies. And I have had to deal with dozens more. So in this guide, I will show you all the considerations you need to go through to pick the perfect web hosting account.
What Type of Web Hosting Should I Get
The first question you need to ask yourself is what type of web hosting you should get. There are many different choices out there: Shared Hosting, Virtual Private Servers (VPS), Dedicated Servers, or even Reseller Hosting. If you have never created a website before then the choice is easy. 99 times out of 100 you should pick shared hosting.
With shared hosting, your website will share a single server computer’s resources with a number of other customers. It’s the most cost effective, but more importantly it’s the easiest solution to setup and get up and running quickly.
Only when you start getting lots of traffic to your website, should you consider moving to any of the other web hosting types.
What To Look For In A Web Hosting Company
Inevitably when newcomers look at web hosting, the first thing they look at is the price. This is a big mistake! My very first web hosting company that I used was a company called Dreamhost. I did not know anything about web hosting at the time, and I only picked them because they were offering an amazing discount at the time.
Dreamhost wasn’t terrible, and I stuck with them for awhile. However, they just grew too fast and weren’t able to support all their customers. My website’s starting going down more and more often and eventually I just became fed up with them and was forced to find a new web host.
So when picking a web hosting company, I really focus on two main things.
1. Reliability (Uptime)
Reliability and uptime is pretty self explanatory. You want your website to be up 24/7 at all times if possible. Of course, there are always unforeseen things that can happen to any web hosting company, whether it be server failures or the like. But a good web hosting company will have a good team that can deal with these issues in a timely manner and most importantly communicate with their customers what’s going on.
Responsive support is another must have with any web hosting company. There’s nothing more frustrating and panic inducing then finding your website down one day, submitting a support ticket, and waiting hours (or even days) for someone to tell you what’s going on. Many of the better web hosting companies include a Live Chat function on their website so you can talk to someone within minutes. Also check if a company has a Twitter account and see how responsive they are to customer service requests.
Only after looking and Reliability and Support will I look at other things like Features and Cost. Honestly, most shared hosting plans pretty much offer the same types of features. Just make sure you know how many Add-on Domains and MySQL databases you are allowed to put on your account. And I prefer web hosts that offer the cPanel control panel since it’s easy to use and most web hosts use it.
How To Research The Best Web Hosting Company
Researching web hosting companies can be a time consuming and frustrating task. Mainly because there is a lot of worthless information out there. Searching on Google for a particular web host review is essentially useless because 95% of the posted reviews out there are driven by lucrative web hosting commissions instead of providing any actual value.
Beware of any website that shows a table of their Top 10 web hosts reviewed. It is very rare that anyone has tested this many web hosts and are giving them legitimate reviews. Plus, web hosting companies are known to boost commissions for webmasters who will bump up their web host in the rankings.
Instead of searching on Google, here is how you should find and evaluate a web hosting companies instead.
- Search on forums. The best web hosting forum is WebHostingTalk.com. But you can also find good opinions about web hosts on other more niche forums like the Warrior Forum (Internet Marketing) and Sitepoint. Forums are usually the best because you will usually get actual opinions (positive and negative) that aren’t influenced by an affiliate commission.
- Monitor their twitter account. Locate any web hosting companies’ official twitter account. Then monitor the @replies that other Twitter users are making. Are there lots of users complaining about downtime? Or do they sound happy in general.
- Contact their support. The best way to test out a web hosting support is to try them out. If they have a Live Chat, test it out and see how long it takes for someone to respond. Or send a support ticket and see the same.
- Ask a friend. Do you know someone who already runs their own website? Why not ask them what they think of their web hosting provider.
Which Shared Hosting Do I Recommend
I currently have 4 different shared web hosting accounts. Bluehost, InmotionHosting, Site5, and Hostgator. However, the one I recommend most often is Hostgator. I’ve been with them since 2008 and I couldn’t be happier with them. Not only is this blog Misterfong.com hosted with Hostgator, but it also the web host of choice for sites like TrafficGenerationCafe.com, BasicBlogTips.com, Blokube.com, BenSettle.com, John-Carlton.com among others.
While not the cheapest web host out there, their uptime is excellent. This Pingdom monitoring widget show’s a realtime look at the uptime for my site over the past 30 days.
Plus they have one of the best support staffs I’ve had the pleasure of dealing with. All I need to do is use the Live Chat and I can talk to a real live person in just a couple of minutes. See this Hostgator video review I did, for more details.
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