The Importance of Finding The Right Place to Host a Site
In My Opinion, Simpler is Better
Choosing a base for your business online used to be a frustrating process. Even with the first click and build models back in the day, there were technical challenges to its users.
Fortunately, we have progressed far beyond that stage and now the choice is simply deciding what form of online presence you want and the best place to host it.
Are you building a drop shipping store? Then, Shopify would be a great choice. Want a simpler business with the shipping taken care of automatically then possibly E-bay or Amazon is the better.
Would you like to be an affiliate marketer? I think a platform such as SiteRubix at Wealthy Affiliate would be right up your alley.
You get the idea. All the above are different business models which utilize specialized software or plugins with the hosting and management content system catering to their clients’ specific needs.
It does mean your site will be hosted on a server owned and operated by someone else. However, you can build your internet presence very quickly with their website builder and step by step training.
Therefore, knowing what business model you would like to pursue will help you decide which web-hosting service you will use to build the business.
I use Site Rubix to host my WordPress website because the company ensures security, backups, and overall site health is maintained. The community also teaches me how to make money with my business.
I have an article about what I think are the 5 best work from home companies you can join. Each one describes a different kind of online business model.
There are many more and the fundamentals of all are the same but slightly different technologies and programs are used to make the process easier and more efficient. More on this a little later.
What Are Your Choices For Hosting?
1. Shared Hosting
Generally, hosting means renting a web server. That is you pay a monthly fee for space on a server, the place where websites reside. There are four kinds and depending on your choice of hosting service can be difficult or easy to use.
The first option is shared hosting which means you share space on a server with dozens, hundreds or even thousands of other websites. Think of it this way. Your personal computer runs several programs at once.
This is similar, and just as too many programs running on your computer may slow it down, the same can be true of shared hosting. Prices for the customer may be cheaper but performance is limited.
I can give you a quick example. I am using shared hosting and our content management system is WordPress (helps with writing and posting etc.)
We are limited to using 5 plugins; an add-on or software component that provides specific functions. It is easy to implement with just one or two clicks.
However, there are literally thousands we can choose from to make our site more efficient and visually aesthetic. I understand too many can slow a site down but 5 is quite low.
My company has a fabulous community. There are thousands of avid fans but if we criticize it in any way the blow-back can be hurtful from other members. That’s how much people love the community. I am more of a realist and so my truth is the owners are not always 100% transparent.
I believe the limit on plugins has to do with so many sites being share-hosted and they want everyone’s site to load as fast as possible. It’s good and my site pages and posts average in the top 90 % for their speed tests but the downside is I am limited to what I can do with my site. There is a trade-off especially as your site grows.
Another more serious issue is bad scripts on other users websites could possibly slow down the server increasing load times for your own website or blog which will result in a loss of visitors. It’ll depend on your host whether they can conduct regular maintenance so this doesn’t occur.
“For Most People, This is The Best Choice”
Having said that a good-quality shared hosting plan is a perfectly sensible choice for many online businesses. Many folks in my community have successful money making blogs selling products from Amazon and other affiliate networks.
Dedicated servers and VPS’s do provide more control but in many instances, you simply don’t need it. In addition, what I was alluding to earlier about difficulties, we might not have enough technical knowledge to take advantage of them. This is why I now use a high-quality shared hosting plan and I have tried both methods.
2. Dedicated Servers
An alternative to shared hosting is a dedicated server which is a single machine leased entirely to you. You have complete control via a control panel through your browser. So you can access it on your own computer. You have administrative level access which means you can change, add, or delete files.
This is where I ran into trouble. Very hard to understand for a guy without formal computer training. It’s not impossible but in the future, if necessary, I will hire someone to deal with my dedicated server stuff.
Dedicated servers are the right choice for people who own a product which is delivered to the customer via the internet. It is also recommended for high volume sites. For example, if you have an online store which attracts a very large number of customers, a dedicated server will be able to cope with the demand.
The advantages are as follows:
- No Sharing of Server Resources.
- Performance and Security are Enhanced.
- Flexibility to Customize Server to Business Needs
- There is a Unique IP Address
- Low Cost Compared to Maintaining Own Server (but more expensive than sharing)
3. Virtual Private Servers
VPS’s sit somewhere between shared and dedicated hosting in both their price range and features. I once tried it with a program I was involved with. It is like a separate computer on your computer accessed through an icon or maybe having two users on the one computer.
You get all the features of a dedicated server for a lower price but whereas a dedicated server is isolated – in reality, one computer is running several virtual servers, one on your PC.
Therefore, the physical resources of the server are shared between the virtual servers resulting in less hard disk space, lower memory and some competition for processor time. Performance is reduced but it is still an excellent choice if you require something half-way between the other two.
A Few Things to Consider Before Purchasing
Space & Bandwidth
Hosting packages include a specific amount of hard disk space. A website does not take up much space certainly not what you have on your own computer. So if you are offered unlimited space, it is not something you should pay extra for.
There is also a maximum bandwidth allowed. This means your site is allowed a specific amount of traffic before extra charges are applied. Generally speaking, sites don’t need much bandwidth so it is irrelevant when selecting a host.
The exception would be media streaming service or websites with thousands of visitors. Anyway, do not be fooled into paying more for something you do not need.
Shared hosting should include the latest versions of PHP and MySQL. I won’t go into details but they will come in useful for functionality and installing web applications. You also need a control panel to configure your web space.
C panel is the most popular and you should make sure Fantastico Deluxe or something similar is included in your package because it will ensure one-click installation of WordPress and other applications.
For dedicated servers, Plesk comes with the cPanel.
Service Level Agreements
You should only consider hosting providers who offer a guaranteed service level for dedicated hosting or VSP. The amount of uptime is what you are looking for and they should guarantee 99.9% Shared hosting may be harder to find a figure but it won’t be as high because the cost is less expensive.
Shared Hosting and VSP month to month contracts are standard. Be wary of companies that don’t offer one-month commitments. Dedicated servers usually run on 12-month contracts with a one-month notice to terminate. It is not advisable to sign up for longer if offered a large discount because you do not know if this host will suit you yet.
In the online business world, it is important to be able to send and receive emails from an address that includes your domain name. In my case, it would be email@example.com but the first part can be anything you wish – info, sales, admin., are just a few of the common ones.
Especially with the shared hosting packages, you need to ensure you will get enough email addresses. As we spoke of before the cost is less and it is reflected in the services provided.
Making The Decision
Now, you are probably interested in some good examples of hosting companies but I am going to leave that for another post and I’ll explain why.
I think if you are the kind of person that needs an independent hosting service either shared or dedicated where you will be doing most of your own administrating (with cPannels) then you already know which companies to pursue. You have the technological know-how and experience.
For the rest of you if this is all new and you are newbies or struggling marketers you should ignore most of what I have written above and read the next section.
A Life Saver (Best Way to Save Time & Stress)
I would say for 95% of the folks starting a new online business don’t even bother going it alone. There is no necessity to get yourself bogged down with behind the scenes details of hosting a website. You are interested in earning cash and that is where the focus should be.
Later as your business grows, you can upgrade to your own dedicated hosting and if needed hire someone to run the background hosting stuff for you.
Be smart about. Trust me. I have been where you are. This will save you so much frustration, overwhelm and maybe even prevent you from quitting your dream.
Now, what am I talking about?
In the second paragraph, I mentioned choosing the correct business model.
This is significant because everyone is different and their skills or character may be better suited to one model over another.
“However, once that is settled, join what I term an all-in-one community.”
They provide step-by-step action-based training on how to build a business using your chosen method, all the tools needed (including hosting) and support which may include personal coaching.
You get the whole package but the great thing is the hosting is included! All you need to do is click buttons to upload posts, images or possibly plug-ins. No worrying about coding, programming, solving technical issues, security or the many other headaches that come with being in charge of your own hosting panel.
You may be concerned about cost and that is prudent. My guideline is to not pay over $400 American per year. In today’s world, it is a steal, fantastic value. Make sure there is either a FREE trial or a 30-day money back guarantee.
Clicking on the link in the first section will bring you to a post of several business models. They are excellent and well worth it but a little pricey – $1000 to $1500 (one time charge usually).
Or you can always check out the Wealthy Affiliate Community if you are looking for something cheaper. You can read my review at My Wealthy Affiliate – A Goldmine of Information and I have described the hosting in more detail in the post, Best Business Website Builder Revealed [ sorry I am a little biased:) ]
Wealthy Affiliate offers a FREE STARTER membership which never expires. You only need to pay if you like what you see and decide to upgrade to the Premium membership. However, the free membership provides you with 2 websites hosted at no charge and some training to get you started.
There are other similar communities so do your due diligence if you decide to go this route. otherwise, keep an eye out for my next post in the series which will examine in more detail actual standalone hosting companies.