How-To: Picking a Hosting Solution

15 Mar

Owning a hosting company allows me to see and learn a lot of things about a lot of different people, their web site, and the requirements for hosting their web site which is why I thought I would take the time to write a post about how to go about picking out a host for your site.

What are you hosting?

The first thing I would look at is what exactly you want to host. Some common things people usually want their hosting company to host for them are:

  • A wordpress blog (Most Common)
  • An E-Commerce Shop (Second Most Common)
  • A membership site (Subscription based content)

As stated above you want to get a really good idea as to what it is you want to host before even thinking about finding a host.

What kind of disk space and bandwidth do you require?

There are a ton of hosts out there that like to promise the moon and never deliver on that promise for instance a lot of hosts offer unlimited disk space and bandwidth for somewhere in the area of $3-7 per month. If you’ve ever been in the hosting business, you would know that there is absolutely no such thing as unlimited.

If ever you’ve been with the big guys and had a sudden influx of traffic, you will soon receive an email or a web site suspension notice telling you that your site is spiking the load on the server and that they had to shut you down and even then, it’s your responsibility to fix things. Your host generally will not interfere with your web site files unless it puts other customers at risk.

Bandwidth is something else that is limited to the technology available to your host and to the servers that they use. Unmetered bandwidth is something that is commonly made available which means your host generally doesn’t mind how much bandwidth you use unless you consume the entire bandwidth allotment to your server.

For most pre-made web site systems such as WordPress or ZenCart or anything similar, a good starting point is about 500MB to 1GB of space. Now if your blog is several years old with tons of posts, images, and video, this space would likely be much higher however 500MB to 1GB is a great starting point.

Bandwidth packages are usually offered by hosts in increments reflective of your hosting packages disk space. In other words if you have 1GB of disk space, bandwidth is generally something along the lines of 5X your disk space. Which would mean 5GB.

What kind of support do you need?

Do you need the kind of support that only really helps when the server has an issue? This is typically the only kind of support you get. If you want more, you pay more. So if you have a problem with a WordPress plugin, some hosts will make a best effort to try and help you out, however at the end of the day they will only try simple trouble shooting.

Other Considerations

A few other things to think about while looking for a host:

  • Do you plan to grow your audience (usually the answer is yes)
  • Do you plan to offer larger files for download?
  • Is your web site audio / video heavy?

Once you know

Once you have an idea of the above information you are now ready to start shopping for a host.

To give you an idea of what some sites go through in terms of disk space and bandwidth, I will offer some examples from my own business.

An average sized WordPress blog uses approximately 5GB of disk space and about 20GB of bandwidth which is about 4X the disk space. We offer unmetered bandwidth because in all honesty it takes a lot of traffic to use up the entire pipe that our servers use.

Summary

Researching hosts before actually committing is definitely a good idea and the more you know about your project, the more you can budget and deal hunt and if you’re looking for a deal, please feel free to reach out to me or visit HostingEh and see if we can offer something that suits your needs!

A Blog from Scratch (Part 1)

26 Feb

For the longest time now I’ve been trying to convince Jenn (my wife) to start a blog and share some of the stuff she makes or wants to make with other people out here on the internet.

Finally she has come around to the idea of running a blog of her own and sharing some of the great stuff she does, so I thought I would write a series detailing what I’m going to do to get it all set up for her so she’s ready to just focus on her blog.

There are a few things required to get started with a self hosted blog. You can always set up a free one on WordPress.com or Blogger.com but for the sake of total control and simplicity going forward, we will be self hosting this blog.

What we’re going to need:

  • A domain name.
  • Cloudflare
  • A server
  • WordPress
  • A theme
  • Adsense (to start with)
  • Analytics (stat tracking)

The domain name has already been purchased and set up with Cloudflare.

Dedicated Server

I opted to get a dedicated server for a couple of reasons.

  1. I wanted to host my blog and my wifes blog on a single machine.
  2. Dedicated resources where we don’t have to worry about CPU / Memory abuse.
  3. Ability to use whatever database and caching we want.
  4. More reliable than a shared host. (No noisy neighbor problems.)

The dedicated server we went with is from Hudson Valley Host. Their pricing is fantastic and they have a diverse selection of locations.

Stat Tracking

Setting up a google adsense and analytics account is pretty straight forward. This information will come in super handy to see things like what your most popular content is and what your readership is like.

WordPress + Theme

I usually recommend people look at the free themes offered at WordPress.org/themes first to get an idea of what they want and whats available. You can also look around at places like ThemeForestΒ for more advanced paid themes.

Once you’ve made all of your choices and set up all of your accounts, you’re ready to get your blog going!

Up next: Setting up a dedicated server to host a WordPress site.

No Frills

3 Feb

I think people are starting to notice just how simple this new blog of mine is. There’s no user registration, no comment section, no links all over the place, just pure content!

I don’t think people understand just how time consuming owning a blog can be when the internet is so heavily populated with spam bots raging war on every part of your web site imaginable.

Fortunately for this blog I don’t really need a comments section or links /ads for a couple of reasons.

  • I don’t have a lot of active commenters
  • The content is generally FYI and not really debateable
  • I own the server, domain name, and hosting company

Really this is a place for me to vent frustrations, offer up helpful information, and talk about things I am passionate about.

I may actually build this teeny tiny blog into something more simply out of boredom but for the time being, I am simply overjoyed to not have 20 spam comments an hour to deal with and the simplicity of this blog makes me happy!