Web Hosting

[ web4noobz ]

A web host is where you rent space for the data of your website. It’s the place where your files will “physically” exist on a server computer.

The advertised “monthly” prices you’ll see for web hosting are based on the price of pre-paying for a year (or two), and dividing by the number of months. The actual month to month price , is considerably higher, and may include a set-up fee. When you are choosing a new host, you should not pre-pay.

You should expect to pay about $9 month-to-month for a reliable, reputable web host. You’ll see prices lower than this — be very careful….

Web Host Requirements

For our purposes here, we suggest the following server specifications:

Linux/Unix server with cPanel
For auto-installation of WordPress, get cPanel with Fantastico

5 MySQL databases (unlimited is better)

At least 200 Mb storage and 10Gb bandwidth. Bandwidth and storage are commodities, and the current standard is constantly increasing.

Special Requirements

  • phone support — rare and expensive
  • email lists — many host have limits on amount of email
  • more than one domain — there’s several ways to handle this
  • command line access — an advanced feature
  • discussion forums — use a huge amount of server resources
  • large files (audio, video, high-res images) — you’ll need to shop for bandwidth

Choosing Web Host

Unfortunately, it’s a lot easier to suggest what to watch out for when choosing a web host. A few warnings:

  • Beware Top Ten Sites
    Lists of “Top Ten Web Hosts” are almost always paid advertisements. Trust them as much as you’d trust a random flyer stuffed under the windshield wiper of your car.
  • Beware Super Cheap Deals
    You’ll get what you pay for. If someone is offering hosting for less than $7 month-to-month, there’s a reason. If you don’t know the reason, you’ll probably get screwed.
  • Beware “Unlimited” Quota
    There’s no such thing as unlimited bandwidth and storage. Eventually you’ll find out what real limits there are, perhaps when one of their overloaded servers finally implodes.
  • Beware Long-Term Contracts
    Most of the cheap prices you’ll see are based on pre-paying for a 1 or 2 year contract. Do not do this. Sign up for a month. In a few months, if you end up loving your web host, you might consider signing up long term.

Research

WHReviews.com
Very good advice for finding an “honest” web host, with lots of handy articles (such as pre-sales questions). If you only want to read one research site, this is the one.

FindMyHosting.com
A good place to search through all the available web hosts. Has user reviews.

WebHostingTalk.com
A forum for professional web hosts. You’ll get a lot of opinions (for better or worse). Search for the host you’re considering and see what people have to say. If someone recommends a host to you, one test go here, search for the name and see what people are saying.

Cautious Recommendations

Based on reviews, these web hosts should probably be okay.

lunarpages.com
hostingmatters.com
asmallorange.com
dreamhost.com
liquidweb.com
hostgator.com
jaguarpc.com
bluehost.com
bluewho.com
sonet7.com
pair.com


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