Part 2. Hosting.
Cosmic. You’ve finally decided on your domain name yeah? Good. We can move on to the incredibly exciting, white-knuckle ride adventure that is choosing your web host. There are three ways you can do this. You can either go with the first one you find, choose the one with the best name or, read this list and then make an informed decision. Personally, I always go with the best sounding name. That’s the wrong way.
Note. This is still a complete beginners guide. There will be no technical computer terms. I still don’t know any.
After choosing your domain name, you need your own little bit of the internet to put it on. This is a pretty straightforward process with about a billion potential paths and outcomes. Well, there are really only 3 outcomes I guess. Good, bad and ‘meh..
Anyway, in my quest to help you choose the right path. And to avoid the bad and the ‘meh’ outcomes. I have cobbled together a list of some of the key things you should be looking out for when choosing a suitable web host.
Get what you need
Now is the time to make a list. Before you start your ‘great host hunt’ you should figure out more or less, what you need. Just note down in your mind, or on paper, maybe even use your laptop (always take your breaks mind, save your eyes) what your website is, what scale it is starting on, whether you need any special software and anything else you think might be relative. That way you’ll have a little shortlist to refer to when you are chasing your website host ‘white whale’.
Get xxxl bandwidth. This obesity is good
Aim for as much bandwidth as you possibly can. Supersize it. Hopefully, your website will be an absolute stormer and bring in all of the traffic. You don’t want to lose out on viewers and customers because your web host has a poxy bandwidth. Some hosting sites will let you reach a certain limit of bandwidth and then charge you for more. I find that quite scummy personally. Be wary when signing up for a host offering ‘unlimited’ bandwidth. They may be genuine but equally, there may a limit to their limitless-ness. Just check the small print.
Plan for future additions to your brood
You might find yourself wanting to add another website or twenty to your growing empire. It’s incredibly easier to run multiple websites from one over-arching account. Before you sign up for anything, double check that your host will
a. Let you have more than one domain
b. How many you can have
It’s much better to find this out early on in your adventure rather than in 6 months time.
Right, as this is a beginners guide I’m going to assume that you are not a web developer/designer and will be using a template to create your website. It’s what I do, it’s quick, it’s easy and it’s actually good fun fiddling around with all of the settings. If this is your plan you should probably find a website host that offers support and easy installation of your favoured framework/CMS. I like WordPress. Obviously.
‘Website down, send in tech support!’
It’s always easy for everything to go t*ts up. That’s pretty much a standard given of life. This ‘t*itsupness’ extends to website hosting. They can crash, you can press a wrong button or something might just not work. It’s nice to have someone to help you out. Take into account your personal preferences here. You might prefer live chat to e-mail or vice-versa. Have a look at the hosts’ customer service plan and have a think. Make sure you chose a host that gives you the most (help that you want).
Size matters. Damn
No matter what your website is, the chances are that you’ll need storage. Your pictures, videos, portfolios and incredibly tedious, badly written and obscure reference filled articles about digital nomads all take up space. Always go for a plan that gives you more storage space than you need.
There’s no point getting a cheap plan with crap features. Get the best specs that you can commit to affording. A slow, non-responsive website is incredibly 2005. Get with the 2018 vibe kids. If you are using a bad web host you might as well give up before you start. It will just annoy people.
Check the average monthly uptime of your web host. Obviously, more is better. You can easily find this out with a quick search online. Read the T’s and C’s carefully and see if you are guaranteed a certain amount of time. Many web hosts now offer 100% uptime which is pretty cosmic.
Take the time to find out what your hosts’ backup plan is. Not all of them offer data backup so you need to know whether you need to be doing this yourself. Imagine how sad you would be if all of your hardwork/dreams were lost because some div cut a wrong cable or clicked a wrong button. It would be incredibly Exit Music.
Finding a host that offers you email accounts with your domain name is a pretty cosmic idea. It’s obvious why.
Yes, I am aware that my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and not email@example.com. It used to be, it could be again and it might be. Do not think I have missed the irony of telling you to get a host with email accounts when I currently don’t have one.
How much does it cost? How much does it cost next time?
Sign up special offers are often just that. Special offers. The renewal price will often be a lot higher than the original, sometimes up to 100% higher in fact. Make sure you are combing through the terms and conditions like a mother flipper before committing.
Your online peers aren’t all thieves, con-men and perverts. There really are people out there that want to help. If you think you like the look of a certain web host, but want some reassurance, just Google the reviews. It’s really not that difficult!
Take your time and choose a host that meets your exacting needs. Let’s not pretend that web host hunting is an exciting task. It’s incredibly easy to jump in and take a punt on the first one you find. You just have to grit your teeth and crack on until you find the host of your dreams. You’ll save yourself a chuff of a lot of bother in the long run if you put the work in now. Oh, also, I’m pretty sure I use Bluehost and I like it, maybe have a look at them.