How to Choose a Web Hosting Provider
For those starting a website for the first time, it can be difficult to swim through the quicksand that is website administration. For those that want to do more with their site than free sites like WordPress provide, the process of setting up a site can be daunting. Registering a domain, setting up hosting, learning control panels, designing a site and populating that site with content requires a fair amount of knowledge. Of all of these, finding a reliable and affordable web host is one of the most important. There is nothing worse than working hard to create a great website, only to have it go offline due to server issues.
Figure Out Your Hosting Budget
The first step to finding a web hosting provider is to establish a budget. This will mean figuring out a budget for your website. Whether this is a business or personal website, it is important to set a limit on how much you can afford for hosting. While design of a website is a set price, web hosting is an ongoing expense. Many hosts offer monthly billing, but it is possible to pre-pay for longer terms for a lower price. An example is HostGator, one of the largest hosts. They offer monthly billing at $9.95, but pre-paying for three years will bring that cost down to $5/month (divided out from the larger payment). With many hosts, additional money can be saved by using a coupon. Continuing with the above example, HostGator coupon codes are available to save up to 25% off. Many other hosts offer coupons too.
Making Your Hosting Purchase
After deciding on a host, the next step will be to make the purchase. When doing so, you will have the choice of purchasing your domain name along with your hosting at the hosting provider. If you would rather use a domain registrar like Godaddy, you will have to point your domain’s nameservers to the hosting server. You will get the info needed to point your domains after your purchase. When registering your domain at the host, you will get to skip this. Once the domain and hosting is set-up, it will be time to use the control panel and/or FTP to get the site up and running. For those not familiar with FTP, it will probably be best to use cPanel or something similar to start your site. Using Fantastico (part of cPanel) to install WordPress or other CMS software is the easiest way to get started.
Whoever you use to host your website, just make sure you do your homework before making a decision. There is nothing worse than having to change web hosts because of downtime, sluggish servers or some other problem. Be smart and good luck with your new website!