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Choose a Web Host and Get Your Website Online

April 15, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 100

Finding the right website host can seem like an impossible task. This is especially true for those who are new to the subject. Like so many new webmasters, my first website was hosted on what I thought was the cheapest web host. In my mind, each web host seemed comparable in features, so the only other variable was cost.

Cost is very important to many webmasters. It is hard to justify spending hundreds of dollars on something you may know little about, and you may not be sure that it will give you the results that you need. For example, a small business may feel they are losing new customers to competitors because they do not have an online presence. However, many small businesses cannot afford to spend hundreds or thousands to build a website with no knowledge of the returns it will bring. While cost is important, we must look at cost relative to the long term.

Long term costs of creating and maintaining a website can be deceiving. Let us look at the various expenses associated with a website.

  • The initial purchase and renewals for the domain name (i.e.
  • The initial purchase and renewals for the hosting account
  • Possibly hiring a web designer to create your website and maintain it
  • Software and tools to create a website and graphics if you plan to do it yourself
  • Spending time or money optimizing your website for search engines
  • Paid advertising to get visitors to your website (many spend thousands a month)
  • New business stationary that includes your website's address

Many of the above expenses can be eliminated. If you choose the right web host, you will be able to do most of the design yourself without any programming knowledge or special software. Most of the major hosting providers now utilize cPanel as an interface for their customers. In fact, I would only recommend hosting providers who are using cPanel. With cPanel, you will be able to install popular programs on the web server such as WordPress, Joomla, and various shopping carts. These installations are all automated and only require one click. I recommend WordPress for new webmasters if you want a blog or a standard website.

WordPress was designed for blogging, but it will allow you to pick from many themes and get a website or blog online within minutes. WordPress has a feature called plug-ins that allows you to modify how your website or blog functions. For instance, some plug-ins will remove the comments section, normally at the bottom of a blog page, so that the site appears more like a traditional website. You can install a plug-in that integrates a newsletter function into WordPress. It will allow users to sign up for your newsletter, and you can even automate the distribution of the newsletter weekly. Plug-ins can be installed that maximize optimization of your website's search engine "likeability". The possibilities are endless. The most impressive feature of WordPress is how easy it is to learn. After spending a day or two "playing around", you will have mastered its use.

Picking the right web host is probably to most vital aspect of owning a website. Use the following guidelines, and you will likely be very happy with your choice.

  • Pick 3 to 5 major hosting companies and begin researching
  • See how long they have been in business providing hosting solutions.
  • Read reviews. (Paying close attention to reliability of service. There will always be negative reviews from disgruntled clients.)
  • Be wary of monthly renewal plans. (Pay for a year or more, and you will usually get your first domain free.)
  • Make sure the hosting provider offers unlimited domain names (You may want to add other websites later on; this feature should be included in the plan. You will only pay for the domain name for additional domains.)
  • Make sure they utilize cPanel for their interface and that WordPress and various other programs are included (This will make your journey so much easier.)
  • Only look at those with unlimited disk space and bandwidth.
  • Ensure that the plan has unlimited MySQL databases installations. (Most programs you will install in cPanel require a new database to be created.)
  • Make sure the hosting provider has telephone and email support.

There are many details to web hosting and web design that simply cannot be addressed in one article. Many questions you may have along the way can be answered by your hosting provider, through online forums, and from fellow webmaster's like me. In fact, I always encourage visitors of my website to ask me questions, and I try my best to give the best answer that I can.

I hope you decide to take on the challenge of becoming a webmaster; it can be a lot of fun.

Eric W Hazelwood

I have been researching various website hosting providers for many years. My website was designed to help those new to web hosting make an educated decision when choosing a host.

Source: EzineArticles
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