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Website Hosting

Web Hosting – Suitable WordPress Website Hosting

Firstly, let me mention that although the title above refers directly to WordPress Website Hosting, the Web Hosting discussed on this page is suitable for almost any web design platform. If you are uncertain, please check with your webmaster and if you are building your own website, then again, I would recommend you use WordPress.

What is Web Hosting?

In order to understand web hosting I think it is important to understand that the Internet is made up of a bunch of computers called Web-Servers which are all inter-linked. When you connect to the internet and view websites or blogs, you are actually connecting to a Web-Server that is storing the files and images for the website you are viewing. When you build a website you need to store your website files on a Web-Server in order to make it available to other Internet users.

A Web-Server is a computer that has been especially setup to run 24-hours a day and is always connected to the Internet to ensure that webpages are always available. Any computer can be configured to run as a Web-Server, but it gets very technical and is best left to the experts.

So basically, when a Web Hosting Provider leases you space on their Web Server to store your website files, this is known as Web Hosting! You store your website files on the Web Hosting Providers Web-Server and they undertake to ensure that your website is always made available to website users.


Understanding Web Hosting a little further – Basic DNS

Every computer that connects to the Internet must have an address where it can be found. Think of this as being similar to your unique street address at home. Every address must be unique and anyone wanting to visit your house must know your address. You get friends to visit and/or post deilvered to you by giving people your unique street address. Well, computers on the Internet work in a similar way, except of course the format of their addresses are somewhat different. Instead of street addresses, they make use of IP Addresses. An IP Address is made up of a bunch of numbers in a format similar to this: 173.192.111.9 (This is the IP Address of this website).

Now us poor humans with our bad memories; we cannot recall these IP Addresses and so we use Domain Names to remember Website Addresses, instead of IP Addresses. Because of this, a service called Domain Naming Services (DNS) was created which essentially converts IP Addresses to Domain Names and Vice-Versa. A DNS Server is used for this purpose and all it really comprise is a massive database of Domain Names and their related unique IP Addresses.

[Note] Example: This domains name is earnmore.co.za and the IP Address is: 173.192.111.9 [/Note]

What are Nameservers?

When you do your domain registration (If you are registering the domain independantly from your Web Hosting Provider) the Domain Registrar is going to request your Nameserver Names from you. If you are using your Web Hosting Provider to register the domain, they will already have this information. The Nameserver is your Web-Hosting providers DNS Server on which the records for your Domain Name are stored. i.e. The Nameserver tells the Registrar and or anyone else where to find your Website!

You will need the names of at least 2x Nameservers. A Web Host should provide you with 2x Nameservers for redundancy puposes. If the one fails, the backup will still perform the DNS functions and your website should be unaffected.

Most Nameserver Name will start with the prefix ‘ns‘, ‘ns1‘, ‘ns2‘ and so forth. The Nameservers for this website are:

  1. ns1.futuritywebservices.com
  2. ns2.futuritywebservices.com


Choosing Web Hosting Provider

There are hundreds of Web Hosting Companies out there, including my own business Futurity Web. Some are major corporations with massive resources, while others are smaller businesses and/or Web Hosting Resellers like myself. For your own Web Hosting requirements it is best to do your own research and to compare the prices and/or services of the various providers. For your reference I have listed a few of the better Web Hosting Providers, based on both personal experiences and/or on the referral of others. 

So, what do you need to consider when choosing a Web Hosting Service Provider?

  1. How many Domains/Website will you be hosting – Some hosting plans only allow one domain, whilst others allow for several domains to be hosted within the same hosting plan, for the same price. It doesn’t cost all that much more, so I suggest getting a hosting plan that provides the option to have more than one domain or sub-domain.
  2. How much Disk Space will you need – Will your website be a small mini-site or a larger authority site – i.e. will you need only a small amount of storage space or a lot of space (consider photo’s, graphics and maybe video/audio files). Also, don’t get overwhelmed and opt for the hosting plan with the most storage space. You’ll be surpised just how little space you require if everything is done correctly!
  3. How much Bandwidth will you need – Again, as long as you can upgrade later, don’t get roped into the most expensive hosting plan with masses of bandwidth that you don’t end up using (you are paying for it). As long as you can upgrade later…
  4. MySql Databases – How many MySql Databases does the Hosting Plan offer. To use WordPress, you need at least 1x MySql Database, however, I would recommend a Hosting Plan that offers more than only 1x MySql Database, although one will suffice to get started.
  5. POP3 Mailbox Services – Do they include POP3 Mailboxes and if so, how many of them. Most Web Hosting Plans give you the option of having POP3 Mailboxes or e-Mail Addresses at your domain name (eg. yourname@yourdomain.com). How many of these do you think you need. You must have at least one such e-mail address as it is a sign of professionalism.
  6. Local or International Hosting Servers – Hosting is South Africa is still relatively expensive compared with Hosting Plans in the USA and some other Countries. The advantage of hosting locally is that the hosting provider will generally keep the same business hours as you and it is thus easier and cheaper to get hold of them if you need to. It used to also be advantageous from a performance point of view, but there’s not much difference with this any more.
  7. Technical Support – Does your provider offer technical support and by what method (eg e-Mail, Telephone, LiveChat, Forums etc). Is this support available 24/7 or not. Also, do you need support 24/7 or not.
  8. Setup and Maintenance Assistance – How much assistance do you get in the beginning, when you need it most. This is where most of the big players fall short & the little guys become of value. There is a definate need for assistance in the beginning and most Web Hosting Providers simpy assume you already know everything.
  9. Domain Registration – Do they offer Domain Registration services and if so are their prices for this reasonable. Also, if they offer this service check beforehand and insist that the Domain Name be registered in your name & NOT in the Web Hosting Companies Name (Otherwise they will own the domain, instead of you). This isn’t a practise that occurs all that often today, but in the past unscrupulous Web Hosts would register the domain in their own name and then hold you hostage to stay with them. As mentioned, this doesn’t occur much today, but – CHECK!
  10. Make sure they offer WordPress Website Hosting – Preferably check that they also offer cPanel and what is known as ‘One-Click WordPress install’. This is essentially using cPanel & and another application called Fantastico to install WordPress. (I’ll discuss cPanel, Fantastico and other related topics at a later stage). Basically; You want WordPress & you want cPanel

[Note] To start off with I suggest you use what is known as ‘Shared Hosting’. This is where you share space on a server with several other website owners. There are Pro’s & Con’s to this, but right now unless you have money to waste; start off with a shared hosting account as it is the cheapest. Once you are earning decent money from your website, then upgrade. [/Note]

My recommendations when choosing a Web Hosting Provider

Naturally, my first choice would be that you ‘Pick Me‘ to be your hosting provider. However, I am going to give you a few other options and then let you make the decision. In most instances I do get referral commission from some of the hosting providers mentioned, so it doesn’t really matter to me, so long as you pick wisely. Also, all the Web Hosting Services mentioned provide WordPress & the cPanel Tool mentioned in Point 8 above.

HostGator.com – is one of the big players in the Web Hosting Industry. They have massive resources amd very competitive rates. Support is offered 24/7 via e-mail and/or telephone and they also have LiveChat Support Services. As mentioned before my Web Hosting Reseller Business is affiliated with Hostgator.com, so in essence, if you opt to use my services, you are technically hosting with Hostgator.com. They offer Web Hosting and Domain Registration Services, but I found their Domain Registration Costs to be pretty expensive. Their Hosting Plan Prices are very competitive and the best plan to start off with is the ‘Baby Plan’ under shared hosting; unless you intend signing up as a Web Hosting Reseller.

Akooka.com – is a local Web Hosting company which offers you the opportunity to Host your website in South Africa. They also have Servers in Europe (UK) if that is preferable. When I started my Web Hosting Business, I initially signed up with Akooka.com. What I enjoyed about using Akooka.com is the fact that it was very personal and they went out of their way to help me get started. If I didn’t understand anything, I would e-mail them or log a Ticket on their system and they would phone me back within a short period of time. Akooka.com isn’t the cheapest Web Hosting Company, but their Service definately makes them worth considering (especially if you are in need of assistance as a beginner). – I saw today (21 Dec 2011) that there prices have come down!

BlueHost.com – This is the Web Hosting Company I was going to use for my Reseller Business, based purely on my own personal research. Again, they are one of the bigger providers and are well known for competitive pricing and excellent support. The reason why I ended up with Hostgator.com (whom I’m satisfied with) is because on the day I made the decision to start my business, Hostgator.com had a Black Friday Sale on and I saved 50% on my reseller hosting plan for a 2-year period. Had it not been for this sale, I would have signed up with BlueHost.com.

 

Other Web Hosting Companies – Other Web Hosting Companies that come as being recommended are Site5.com and VodaHost.com. When I say ‘come as being recommended‘, they are listed in the top 10 Web Hosting Companies on several other Websites that offer comparisons. I’ve had no dealings with these companies, other than signing up for their affiliate programmes. I have checked out both Site5.com and VodaHost.com’s services and hosting plans and from that point of view I am confident to say that they offer everything you need. Site5.com also offer a nice selection of FREE WordPress Themes for their clients.

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Futurity Web – Mentioned briefly above, but left for last, is my own Web Hosting Business. I offer affordable web hosting solutions and as mentioned before I make use of Hostgator.com’s Servers and infrastructure. So, why use Futurity Web instead of going directly to Hostgator.com or any of the other bigger hosting providers mentioned above? Quite simply because I will do everything for you!

I don’t offer 24/7 Support, but I do treat you as an individual and hope to become your friend/colleague as well as your business partner. I am contactable via e-Mail and once you become a customer, via Skype. I will communicate with you on a one-on-one basis and will help you with numerous tasks that you would otherwise have to do yourself.

What will Futurity Web do for you that you don’t get from the big providers? [Icon List]

  • Handle the Domain Registration process for you
  • Setup your Web Hosting Account & your POP3 Mailbox
  • Install WordPress and a few essential Plugins

    Also available is:
  • Assistance with Keyword Research
  • Assistance with choosing a Blog Topic
  • Guidance with deciding on the Domain Name

[/Icon List]

Contact Me if you are interested in Hosting with Futurity Web!


A little more for the more inquisitive…

If you want to find out the IP Address of any Domain Name, you can send a ‘ping‘ request using MS-DOS. You do this by opening MS-DOS, which comes with Microsoft Windows Operating Systems and type in the ‘ping‘ command followed by the domain name (without the http or www bits). eg. open MS-DOS and type in: ping earnmore.co.za (then press enter). See screen-shot below…

Finding the IP Address using MS-DOS
The red rectangle (above) shows ping command for: earnmore.co.za
The Blue rectangle shows the IP Address & time it took to respond.

 

 

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