Web hosting? What is that? Well, basically, it means some space on a computer which you will rent on a monthly basis where your website will be housed and served to people who come to read the information that you provide.
One thing that a lot of people say to me when they first start thinking of doing a website is that they will just put their site on their home computer. Sorry, my friends, it does not work that way. There is a way that you could host your site on your own computer, but you would not want to do that, believe me. Your computer is not powerful enough, and your internet connection is not fast enough to be able to reliably serve your website to your readers. On top of that, most contracts with internet providers do not allow you to host a website on your personal internet connection.
No need to worry, though, there are literally thousands of web hosting companies. These companies specialize in giving you space and bandwidth that is needed to host your website. For a beginning site, which would be relatively small, just about any web host will do. For a beginner’s site, I recommend HostGator. If you have a big, popular site, then you will need a more “industrial strength” host, something beyond HostGator’s standard offering’s. But, if you are just starting, it is likely that HostGator will be able to fill your needs for at least several years while you attempt to build you site into a popular “powerhouse” of a site. To check out HostGator hosting, click here, or on the image to the right.
OK, I know what your first questions is going to be:
Hostgator has a number of different types of accounts! Which type of account do I need to get?
Well, let’s have a look and see what is available:
- Hatchling Plan: If you think you will have more than one website, then this is not the plan for you. The Hatchling Plan only allows for the use of one domain name. With the other plans, you can use multiple domains, and this have many different websites under a single hosting plan, which means you will save money. The price of this plan is attractive, though, in that it starts as low as only $3.96 per month (if you pay for 3 years hosting in advance). Still, though, I would opt for another plan that allows for multiple domains.
- Baby Plan: For me, this is the sweet spot. I personally have three different accounts on this plan. My “big” sites are hosted on ServInt, as noted below, but I have lots of smaller sites which I host on the Baby Plan on HostGator. Starting at $6.36 per month (again, with 3 years advanced payment), it does not get much better than this. I have had as many as 50 different smaller sites on a single Baby account, and it has never created a problem.
- Business Plan: If you are reading this, it probably means that you are a beginner at doing a website, and it is unlikely that you will need the business plan at this time.
If you have built up a substantial site, and a regular account at HostGator is not cutting it any longer, you have a number of options. Firstly, the most hassle free thing you can do it move to a VPS or a Dedicated Server at HostGator (they will help move the site to the new server for you). Alternatively, you can also choose VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting or dedicated server hosting at any of a number of other companies. For such hosting, my recommendation is for ServInt, that is who I use for my larger sites. Keep in mind, though, that hosting for larger sites and busier sites is substantially more money. For a smaller site, you can actually host many small sites on an account that will cost you less than $10 per month. For larger sites, you may pay $100 or more per month to host a single site. But, the good thing is that if you have a site large enough to require special hosting, you should be making enough money to pay for the better server, and still make a nice profit.
One thing I would recommend highly, especially if you are a beginner at all of this, is that you should select a web hosting company that offers some kind of software that will allow one click installation of software like WordPress and other such packages. Almost all hosts offer this now, but not all, so check to be sure. Most hosts offer something called “Fantastico,” which will give you an opportunity to install WordPress at the click of a button, no fuss, no muss. HostGator offers Fantastico, and they also have another similar package called “Quick Install,” which I personally prefer.
So, let’s review where we stand so far in setting up a WordPress site. First, you came up with an idea and some plans for your site. Next, you purchased a domain name for your site. Now, with this article you have purchased web hosting so that you can get your site online. So far so good, you are almost ready to start the actual setup of the site. We will talk next about installing the WordPress software that your site will operate on!