Domain Hosting

Getting your own domain can be fun, exciting, and stressful. There are so many domain registrars out there, and even more web hosting services. You can do hours of research, reading reviews and recommendations, and still end up picking the worst of the lot. Hidden fees, false advertising, slow tech support, service downtime... these are all things you want to avoid, and they're also the things you'll find no evidence of until you sign up and hand over your credit card information!

Once you've purchased your domain, here are some tips on choosing your host.

First, decide what you need. Hosting companies sell "packages" or "plans," each with different specifications regarding storage space, bandwidth, monthly data transfer, scripting capabilities, and much more. Don't worry, I explain what it all means here.

Once you've decided what you want, decide on a budget. Hosting can cost anywhere between $3 per month or $60 per year for low end shared hosting, to hundreds of dollars per month for a high end dedicated server. To begin with, you'll definitely only need the much cheaper "shared" or "virtual" hosting account. Shared and virtual both mean the same thing: you're given some space on a server that also hosts about 250 other domains.

As far as price goes, use your brain. Don't go for unlimited space and bandwidth for $20 per year; it's impossible. Aeroplanes don't have unlimited fuel, computers don't have unlimited diskspace, telephone lines don't have unlimited simultaneous connections. For shared hosting, you're looking at paying on average between $7 and $25 per month, depending on how much you need.

Now, say you want to host a 50 megabyte website with 2 gigabytes of bandwidth for up to $10 per month. Very reasonable! Now begins your search. Shop around. Take advantage of web host listings such as Host Search and WebHostDir, who let customers review the hosts they list. A great place to find a quality host is WebHostingTalk, where paid advertising is at a minimum.

You can find a short lists of both good hosts and hosts to avoid here.

Compile a list of hosts to consider, and visit forums asking for peoples' opinions. Search the web for reviews. Don't always go with the "big guys," as they're often far from the best, just the most advertised. In fact, the little guys are often doing their best to spread a good reputation for themselves, so will provide the best service and support there is! If in doubt, go with a company providing a money back guarantee. Then you can try them out, and if you're dissatisfied, you can get your money back.

Once you've made your decision, you'll need to sign up and set up your website!