Beginner’s Guide to Blogging 2: How to Choose a Web Host

August 24, 2014 | Filed under: Blogging — Tags: , , , , , , , , , @ 12:01 am

How to Choose a Web Host

This is the second episode of our “Beginner’s Guide to Blogging” series and today I will be discussing Web Hosting, types of Web Hosting services and what to consider before choosing a Web Hosting provider. This article is the continuation of the first series “Beginner’s Guide to Blogging – How to Start a Blog Part 1”, so if you haven’t read the first part of this series, I suggest you do so.

So after you must have registered your domain name, the next thing will be to buy a Web Hosting plan. But before we get started, I will like to explain what Web Hosting means.

What is Web Hosting?

What is Web Hosting?

Web Hosting is the service that drives the Internet. Web hosting services provide the space for you to store your website files (web pages) on the internet. These files are stored in high-powered super computers often referred to as web servers, connected to a very Fast Internet Network (not our regular home Internet Connections).

When someone types your website address on the address bar of a web browser, a request is sent to the web server hosting your website files (web pages), and the requested file is fetched as a web page and displayed on the screen for the visitor.

So, Why do I need a Web Hosting?

If  you are saying, “I don’t care I have a domain and I don’t have any more money for any hosting”. Well think again. Without Web hosting there is no website possible online. “Hosting to a domain is like oxygen to a man”. Okay an overstatement, but you get the point.

Without Web Hosting there is nowhere you can point your domain to, that means your website you made will not be available online.  Now its time to consider all the Web Hosting options available online.

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Types of Web Hosting Services:

types of web hosting

There are so many types of web hostings out there that its easy to get really confused. But before you sign up for any Web Hosting service, I will love to help you understand what kind of server your website needs and other things to look out for.

Available Hosting options are:
1. All those Free Hosts
2. Shared Hosting
3. VPS Hosting
4. Dedicated Hosting
Now, read in detail all the Hosting types available to you at different providers:

1. Free Hosting:

Well most of you likely would have seen ads of Websites that provide free Web Hosting to host your websites. Well some may work for some time before they become a pain. Here’s what i make of them:

1. Free web hosting does not often have the best features to host a website especially if you want a business website.

2. Free web hosting is often known to have slow connection speed, incessant downtime, limited storage space and bandwidth.

3. You may wonder how free web hosting providers can afford to offer free website hosting. Afterall it costs to maintain their Servers or Datacenters. Almost always, they make money by putting advertisements on the websites they host. Therefore, you can certainly expect your website to show banner ads on them that you did not place there.

4. A free web hosting has their name along with your unique domain name in the website address. This may drive away potential customers as they may feel you are not successful enough to have your own website and turn away to find someone whose website is with one of the paid hosting providers.

5. Free web hosting also means you can’t have email@yourdomain.com.

6. Most even do not allow you to place your own ads or to earn money from your site. So it means all the efforts you are putting into your website  is actually earning them your deserved money.

Another reason why I won’t recommend this type of hosting for you is that you cannot install WordPress on them and cannot have total control and freedom to manage your website.

Paid web hosting is a better option for anyone seeking web hosting for a business website or your blog if you can afford it.

2. Shared Hosting:

Shared hosting service is the most widely used option for hosting a website. If your website is on a Shared Hosting Server it means that your website is hosted along several other websites on one web server. In a shared hosting environment, your website shares the server resources with all other sites hosted on same server. And, on an overloaded server there can be thousands of websites.

Shared hosting is good for Small Business Websites or blogs with low to average traffic(upto 30,000 or 40,000 impressions per month) but it has its downside as well. One poorly coded website can hog up all the server resources and force all other sites hosted on same server to either become very slow or unreachable.

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3. Virtual Private Server (VPS):

This is a type of Web Hosting service that divides a server’s resources into virtual servers by installing special softwares, which distribute the resources in such a way that each virtual server behaves independent of the others even though they are all hosted on same server.

In this type of web hosting, the activity of one site does not affect the other sites hosted on same server. This type of web hosting is good for large or growing websites with huge traffic requiring  a lot of system resources.

VPS provides you the freedom to configure your server anyhow you may want it and definitely provides better level of security than the shared hosting.

4. Dedicated Hosting:

Dedicated Hosting means you have the entire web server resources to yourself. This type of web hosting allows for faster performance and better load times.

Dedicated Hosting is good for large websites with huge traffic or Web Hosting Companies that requires a lot of system resources, or need a higher level of security. It is often expensive and requires a lot of technical skills to maintain. That is why some of the server management companies charge anything from $100-$2000/ month for managing servers.

Now, here’s the breakdown of all the hosting types explained above (In case you skimmed it, haha)

Shared Hosting, VPS hosting and Dedicated hosting compared

Now another thing that mostly confuses some people is Linux or Windows. Read on if you are also thinking the same.

The Next Problem, Which Web Server – Linux or Windows?

windows vs linux hosting

Windows and Linux web hosting servers differ in cost, ease of use, versatility and stability. They both perform the same function but your choice of which to use for your website totally depends on your hosting needs and what you are comfortable with. Almost all the blogs out there run on Linux. Windows is generally used by developers who develop codes in .NET Language.

Linux:

Linux Web Hosting Server is relatively cheaper and allows running PHP, Perl, Python scripts and other Unix-originated languages and also supports MySQL and PostgreSQL databases. It is perfect if you are looking to run your WordPress blogs.

Windows:

Windows web hosting server is usually more expensive than Linux Web Hosting. It allows running ASP scripts and utilizing .NET and other Microsoft technologies. It also supports Microsoft SQL Server and Access database.

Verdict: Choosing the type of web hosting server to use depends on the scripts your site will be running. But since we are discussing building a WordPress blog, then your site will mostly handle PHP and MySQL database requests and as such you should choose a Linux Web Hosting server.

Now that you are all set into taking your next step towards next big thing online, its time to choose a reliable Web Host that supports what you need. Here’s what I look for in my Web Host:

What to consider before choosing a Web Hosting provider:

choosing web host

Before choosing a web hosting provider to host your website, there are some important factors to consider and I will like to walk you through them so you can make a guided decision while choosing a web hosting provider. Here’s what you should consider:

1. Reliability: The first thing you should consider before choosing a Web Hosting provider is reliability. This is very important because your website needs to be online and available to its users every time of the day.

When your website is down and unavailable often, it won’t only create a bad user experience for its users, it will also affect your Search Engine Performance.

2. Speed: The speed of the hosting server is another very important factor to consider before choosing a Web Hosting provider.  People often get annoyed with slow loading website and don’t hesitate to close such sites.

You won’t want to lose customers or drive your audience away just because your website loads slowly.

Tip: SSD Drives are faster than SATA. So if your budget allows, you should consider SSD providers for faster loading websites.

3. Price: Different web hosting providers out there offer different prices for their services. Note, the pricing doesn’t often mean the quality of services when it comes to web hosting. Cheaper prices don’t really mean poorer services or costlier prices don’t often mean better services.

But before you choose any web hosting, you should ensure the package is good enough for the price you are buying it. Compare the features and prices to other service providers before deciding which to choose.

4. Technical Support: Technical support is very important factor to consider before choosing a Web Hosting provider. It is common for servers to run into problems and websites to encounter errors. Having a technical support team you can reach at any time of the day or night to help you fix whatever problems your site may be facing is very important.

Ensure to choose only web hosting provider with capable technical support team that are available 24/7. Ensure there are different ways you can contact them when you need support – email, toll-free phone, live chat etc.

5. Server Specification, Features/ Add-Ons: Apart from the above listed factors, you should also consider the server specification, features and add-ons on their hosting packages before you choose any hosting provider.

Beware of all their “Unlimited” features as most of them are not really unlimited as labeled. Have you ever seen any Unlimited Hard Disk.

Take your time to go through the hosting packages to see if everything you needed is listed. Consider what additional features/ add-ons that makes them different from others such as domain privacy, regular data backups etc.

6. Customer Reviews: You can get a great insight into a hosting provider’s performance from their customer reviews. Take your time to search for reviews about any web hosting provider you are considering to choose. Find out what others are saying about them.

Tip: Ask questions about the company on social media or even search engines like Google and you are more likely to get a few answers/reviews.

7. Room for Growth: Just as you are starting up, I will advise you to choose adequate hosting plan that will fit your site demands but most especially choose a hosting provider that will give you the room to expand your hosting package as your needs grow.

This is important: A Shared Hosting server may be ok for your site now, but as your traffic begins to grow and more people visits your site, your hosting package may not be enough for your site anymore and you may want to upgrade to a higher plan, ensure your hosting provider can afford to contain such growth and provide you with all the necessary things you will need when you want to upgrade your hosting plan.

I am A Beginner. Which Hosting Should I Choose?

The hosting package you choose will depend on what kind of web site you wish to set up, and how big you think it may get. For individuals and small companies, I will recommend you begin with a Shared Hosting plan. You can always buy more resources as you grow.

Shared hosting is cost effective and often comes with enough storage space and bandwidth to get your site started.

But if you think you are upto something big & your site requires higher server resources such as RAM, bandwidth, web space than what the shared hosting plans provide, only then you should consider a VPS or Dedicated Hosting plans.

Now I have a Domain Name & also Web Hosting, What’s Next?

By now I assume you already have your domain name and have also obtained your hosting package. The next thing will be to install WordPress and design your website.

In the next episode of this series: I will explain in details what WordPress is, how to install WordPress and customize it. I will also explain what plugins are, how to install them and will even recommend some awesome plugins I use &  you will need to get your website started.

Keep a date with me here in a few days, so you don’t miss anything. And use the comments to ask me anything. I’ll always try to help on things that i can.

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Nwosu Mavtrevor Desmond is a blogger and web designer. He owns and writes for Netmediablog. among other blogs.

8 Comments

  1. Hi Nwosu,

    What a breakdown. Reliability is A1. Pay for it. Well worth it.

    I stayed with an unreliable host for way too long. I explained it away, and felt that folks should have been more patient, and more accepting of my slow web site speed.

    Then my blog started going down every 1 to 2 hours, for a long time. This was ridiculous. I soon found that my hosting service was bogging down servers with as many blogs/sites as possible. The result was bad service and an unreliable site.

    I went with a new host – Krystal, out of the UK – and paid twice as much money per month. Lightning quick speed, my site rarely goes done….I haven’t seen it down, personally, in at least 2 months….and the folks are really helpful.

    Pay guys. Even if you feel you can’t afford it, cheaping out will kill your reputation, and you can’t gain trust, or build a name, if you lose your reputation. That’s the secret; pay now, create a professional experience, and you’ll be much more likely to make a real impact online.

    Nwosu, what an awesome post.

    I’ll tweet it in a bit.

    Have a fun week.

    Ryan

    Comment by Ryan Biddulph — August 24, 2014 @ 8:55 pm

  2. Ryan its good to see you here and thanks for leaving such a wonderful contribution to the post. I hope to see you around more often.

    Comment by Nwosu Desmond — August 25, 2014 @ 5:47 am

  3. Reliability, security, speed, and technical support are often my top considerations when it comes to choosing a web host. I often review these factors in a web host before doing business with it.

    Every blogger/webmaster must go for the best web host to be at the top of their game. This is important since the user experience of the visitors can affect engagement, traffic, and conversion!

    This post was found in kingged where it was shared and upvoted.

    Comment by Sunday — August 25, 2014 @ 6:03 am

  4. Thanks Sunday for your awesome contribution, it is quite insightful.

    Comment by Nwosu Desmond — August 25, 2014 @ 9:31 am

  5. Hello Nwosu,

    Web Hosting is a platform which provides your Website accessible on the internet. Now a days, There are 3 paid web hosting service available for the website. So, we should know about all the necessary details including technical thing before going for a Web Host. Here you have mentioned some of the important point which we should consider.

    Speed is one of the important issue of web hosing. Before buying, make sure that your web hosting sever has good loading speed. As it is the main factor to increase traffic of your site.

    Thanks for your compact information about Web hosting.

    I have found your post from kingged.com and kingged it too.

    Regards,
    Sarmista

    Comment by Sarmista Aun — August 26, 2014 @ 4:09 am

  6. […] episodes, I have covered “Beginner’s Guide to Blogging 1 – How to Start A Blog” and “Beginner’s Guide to Blogging 2: How to Choose a Web Host”. I expect that you have already read them; else I recommend you do so before reading this so you […]

    Pingback by Beginner’s Guide to Blogging 3 – How to Build a Wordpress Site | DK Community Blog — August 27, 2014 @ 12:10 am

  7. Picking a good web hosting service is one of the challenging parts of blogging and can be a tricky process, mainly because there are so many companies offering cheap or free hosting.

    You have to consider your needs, check the Customer Service that the web host offers, check the options and explore, then compare the features like the storage amount.

    Let me say that you have to make sure that you have room to expand and grow in the host you choose.

    To wrap it up, the post is undoubtedly educational and it was a great guide.

    Comment by metz — August 28, 2014 @ 6:05 am

  8. Thanks Metz for your awesome contribution. The guide provides quite a resourceful information to choosing the right web hosting provider. I hope you visit more.

    Comment by Nwosu Desmond — August 28, 2014 @ 7:53 am

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