This post is part of a series about Building Your Site with WordPress.
Previously, we talked about domains as they relate to our goal of building a Web Estate (website) to promote our products, ideas, or causes. In this post let's look into web hosting for your domain. You'll find a basic hosting definition, and more specific definitions for three different kinds of hosting services: shared hosting, dedicated hosting, and virtual hosting. We'll also look into the cons and pros of free website hosting.
What is Web Hosting?
The files that make up your website must be uploaded (copied) to a public server if you want other people to be able to see it. Web Hosting is the way it’s done. The hosting service is normally provided by an Internet Service Provider (ISP). These companies usually offer a number of services for publishing a website. Most offer domain name registration, various levels of web hosting, email hosting services, and a variety of enhanced services for a webmaster.
Today, you'll find three main kinds of website hosting:
- Shared Hosting is just what it sounds like. It's the most affordable of the basic kinds of hosting, often with rates as low as $2.95 per month.. When you select shared hosting, your website is stored on the same web server as a lot of other websites. Most small websites use shared hosting. But if your site gets popular you'll need to upgrade to…
- Dedicated Hosting makes it easier for a lot of people to view your website simultaneously. Your site's files are stored on a server which doesn't have anybody else's website files on it. Most large sites use dedicated, managed hosting or use the next type of hosting…
- Virtual Hosting makes it easy for the hosting companies to scale your needs to the traffic coming to your site. Virtual Private Hosting (VPS)is a combination of the best of shared and dedicated hosting. The primary advantage to VPS is that when this kind of hosting is used, it almost doesn't matter how many people are trying to view the website at the same time. This type of hosting can handle massive traffic.
How to Host Your Domain.
The companies that sell you your domain name usually also sell web hosting services. When you're starting out it's tempting to opt for free web hosting. If you're doing a personal site, free can be okay. However, if you're starting a business site, this is a major mistake.
The thing to remember is; there is no “free”. Companies that provide free web hosting get paid because they put ads on your site. You have no say about what they show. They usually prevent you from placing any ads on your own site as well.
Another problem is that most free sites don't let you use your own domain name. You'll be sending people to a URL like
www.nochargehosting.com/yourbusinessname or www.yourbusinessname.theirfreehosting.com.
Which address inspires more confidence? This one: www.nochargehosting.com/yourbusinessname, or this one: www.yourbusinessname.com?
If your site becomes really popular it's possible to outgrow free hosting. Then your problem is your free host won't allow you to redirect your old site. It's unlikely you would be able to download your site in order to transfer it to another host. Basically you'd be starting all over again.
Other issues have to do with storage and support. The most storage I could find at a free host is about 10 gigabytes. The allowance at other free sites can be as low as 1500MB. If you plan on having pictures or video, those allowances can get eaten up pretty fast. When you pay for hosting, storage is usually unlimited.
Free hosting doesn't come with much, if any, support. If you're just starting out, support by phone, live chat, or email is critical if your site has problems. Support can save you hours of frustration.
Here's the thing, if you're just starting a personal site or if money is really tight free hosting can be an option. As soon as possible though you should pay for a domain and hosting.
The following companies are known for good, reliable website hosting.
SiteGround.com – The hosting company this site runs on. We've used many hosting services since we started back in 2006. SiteGround is by far and away, the best hosting service we've ever used.
Synthesis.com – From Brian Clark and the great folks at CopyBlogger Media. Synthesis is managed hosting specifically for WordPress. Reliable, super fast, and managed for you. Not cheap, but really excellent hosting.
BlueHost.com – If you want to host an online store or a WordPress site, the is good, reliable, inexpensive hosting.
Tomorrow I’ll talk about one of my favorite topics… WordPress. If you found this post helpful, please comment and/or share it with people this Rock Solid Info could help.
Image courtesy Plaudit Design via Flickr.com /http://www.flickr.com/photos/plaudit-design/5176681004