How To Choose a Good Host

Choosing a good Host is more important than choosing a Registrar.  Why?  Because your Hosting company is your Blog’s Mission Control. Your Host gives you access to your blog’s day-to-day running andcar mechanic maintenance.  Your host is like the mechanic who lives under the hood of your blog, and more – it supplies your car, your engine, and it knows how it works (or doesn’t) and how to fix it when it goes wrong.

Your choice of Registrar is important, but not as important as your choice of Host. Why? Because once chosen, your Registrar has no real role in the day to day running of your blog.  You just want your Registrar to stay open, and not go belly up.  A Registrar is like the garage where you park your car all day. It needs to be safe and secure, but that’s pretty much all that it has to do.

  How to Choose The Best Web Host – What To Look For

Your Host is where you go to ask for help, when you don’t know what to do, and you don’t know how to fix any problem. Its job is also to carry all the data of your blog, safely on its servers, and provide you with the tools, and the means, of running of your blog, every day.

You must have confidence that your Host will be able to fix things when you run into a problem that you can’t fix yourself.  For example, when you lock yourself out of your own blog and have no clue how to fix it.  Your Hosting Company comes to your rescue – but only if you’ve chosen a good one, like I did!  It’s your safety net, so you’d better choose a good one.

hostgator hosting

            The Important Basic Requirements for any Good Host

Once again, price is not the most important factor, but what is?

Host Reliability

You must make sure that whichever hosting company you choose, you have confidence that your chosen Host is very unlikely to ever ‘go down’, or become ‘unavailable’ because they have had a technical glitch. You don’t want to wake up one morning, log in, and see ‘This website is unavailable. Try again later’.

How do you know if a Host is reliable? 

Again, you do your research, and Warrior Forum is a good place to do it.  Ordinary Google searches for Best Host, or similar will also give you some leads to investigate.  There are no guarantees, but research will give you a good idea of other people’s experience, and will often give you information about which hosts you should avoid.  That is useful information too.

One way to research any Host’s up-time (or downtime) record is to do Google searches for terms like, ‘Hostgator up-time’, for example.  Do similar searches for other Hosts which you might be considering as well, and compare the results.  Most hosts will achieve 99% uptime, but do some fine-tuning. You want to find a Host with 99.99% uptime if you can – because that is better, and we want the best.

In fact, Hostgator has had 100% up-time every day since 2006 except for one occasion when it was ‘down’ for 6 minutes in April 2010.  Up-time is important, but not the only important factor in choosing a Host.

Good 24 Hour Host Access

1. Your Hosting company must, I repeat must, have good 24 hour access and Help Lines.

2. A good Host must have reliable Support systems that will answer your inquiries within minutes, or within a couple of hours for email based enquiries. Hostgator has several Help and Support options which are always available, for when you need them. They have Live Chat, a Ticket system for email enquiries, and also a telephone Help service, all available 24 hours a day, every day.  I’ve used both Live Chat, and their Ticketing system.

Both Support systems have always been prompt and helpful.  I usually have to wait only a few minutes before one of their Support staff pops up in any Live Chat that I start. Ticket emails are usually responded to within a couple of hours.

3. When they reply to your requests for help, the information that they give you, and their assistance, must be good information and helpful assistance.  They must answer your questions correctly, in good English, and in ways you can understand.

If your native language is not English, you should do research into which hosts will answer your questions in your own language.  I haven’t done research in this area so I cannot give any useful information on that subject.

Web Host Price

Let’s face it, price is important to most of us.  But you will find that most of the Hosting companies have similar pricing, with only small price differences.  Hosting is paid for, on a price per month basis, so over a year, small differences can add up, but you should not fall into the trap of ‘buying cheap’, and not giving enough importance to the company’s reliability, access, and the quality of their support.

Choosing a quality Host for a few cents more is a good investment for your blog or business.  In fact, the best Hosts are not always the most expensive at all.  Do your research and make a good choice.

Should I Have a Separate Host from My Registrar?

Yes.  I spent quite a lot of time sorting out this issue when I started out.  I’d seen on the Forums that this was an issue, otherwise I might easily have chosen to Host my sites with my Registrar.  Of course, you can do this, and your Registrar might try to persuade you to do this when you buy your Domain Name, and it may never be a problem.  But, all the experts agree: you should have a Host who is not also your Registrar.  Why?

There are many reasons why you might want to change your Hosting Company in the future. Even with the best research and advice, Companies can sometimes run into trouble, or fail to deliver up to expectations.  When that happens, you might want to switch from one Host to another.

Changing your blog’s Host is a bit of a hassle, but sometimes it has to be done.  If your host is a different company than your Registrar, you only have to change your Host, not both your Host and your Registrar.  The expression, don’t put all your eggs in one basket, applies here.  If your Registrar crashes, you can easily transfer your Registration to a new Registrar.  If your Host crashes, it’s more of a hassle, but you have not lost your Domain’s Registrar, and the money you paid for Registration, as well.

What Services Do You Need from a Host?

This will depend on what sort of blog you want to set up. Every Hosting company will offer a range of packages to select from.  The cheaper packages have some limitations on them, such as only one Domain Name allowed for the price, or limitations on the number of email accounts you can have for your blog.  Hostgator’s cheapest, but limited, hosting package is the Hatchling plan, which starts at $5.56 per month when you buy hosting for one year.

You can always upgrade to a higher level of package, so don’t lose sleep over wondering which Hosting Plan to select.

The next grade up will give you more tools, more options and probably unlimited numbers of Domain Name hosting on a single Hosting account. At Hostgator, this intermediate grade package is the Baby package, starting at $7.96 per month for one month, 6 months, or a year.

It has unlimited Domain Name hosting for the one price, and more tools and software than you are ever likely to use, even if you’ve been running a blog for years.  Hostgator is my chosen Hosting Company, and I have this intermediate Baby Croc unlimited Domain package.  It does everything I need, and more.  I’ve been very happy with my choice.

What are PHP, FTP or MYSQL?

….and Do I Need Them?

It’s always good to go through all the tools and options any host will provide, but if you are new to blogging, don’t get bamboozled at this stage if you don’t know what php, ftp, or MySQL are.  Why?  Because you don’t have to know what they are!  Really?  Yes, really.  It’s perfectly possible to start up a blog, install WordPress, or Joomla, or one of the similar programs, and happily blog away without knowing what these technical software programming ‘things’ do, or how to use them.

You will pick up bits of knowledge as you get more experience, and if (when) you get stuck, you ask you Host to fix it for you.  Good hosts will always be there for you, and get you back on your feet, up and running.  Hostgator has saved my bacon on more than one occasion. And so far, I’ve never needed to know what these software languages are, or how to use them – because I haven’t needed to know.

Of course, I can see that at some point, I will need to get down to learning what they do, and how to use them as well, but so far, I haven’t needed to do that.   And, of course, when I’ve worked that out, I’ll be telling you all about it.

In a future article, I will give you the results from the research that I did when I was deciding on which Registrar and Host to use, and which I can recommend, and why.

So….have you bought any Domains yet?  Have you done some research into How to Set Up a Blog yet?  Have you started planning your internet empire yet?

Catch me if you can….I’m on my way to mega stardom and an early retirement…….ok, it’s a work in progress. Smile

Yes, friends, it’s time to live the dream.....Carpe Deum!

     ……………Cue Motto!

Plan Well.  Start Small. Think BIG!

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