Finally decided to get a website ey? Good for you. I’m sure you have a lot of questions going through your mind on how to start out. So I decided to write out a series of posts to help you get started with website hosting and building a website for yourself, by yourself. No strings attached.
First thing you would have to consider in having your own website is where you would be hosting it. And so today I’m going to be talking about how to get a good host and what you need to know, it just might be the only thing you get to pay for, isn’t that great.
OK, let’s get started.
Personal websites need web hosting to make them work. And to explain this, let’s look at the diagram below.
Your web files are like word documents designed for the web, to be seen on laptops, mobile phones and other devices.
While your web server or web host is the guy who keeps all those files for you so people can access them. Leaving them on your PC won’t help out now would it? So your website host keeps the files accessible by your viewers.
The web browser represents your viewers looking at your web page.
So let’s put it all together.
You design your web page and upload it to your web host so it can be accessible by your web visitors. Pretty simple isn’t it?
GETTING A DOMAIN NAME
Alright, so now you understand what the web host is. Let’s talk about your domain name.
A domain name is like the name of your folder on your web hosts computer. Don’t forget, a lot of people are hosting with the same web host, so you need to pick out a name for people to use in accessing your specific folder on the web host.
A few things you should know about domain names
- If they are not unique, they would easily be forgotten
- If they are too long, they would easily be forgotten or mistyped
- The most common domain extension, and easiest to remember, is the .com domain
So think about creative names for your website domain name, make it fun and easy for people to remember it and easily tell their friends about it without having to spell it out every time.
THEY SAY IT’S FREE – IT’S MOSTLY A LIE
Most web hosting companies, by way of marketing and reducing buying friction, tell you that the domain name registration is free. Though this might be true, especially for the first year of service, you would usually have to pay subsequently.
And get this, what that does is to reduce the starting cost for hosting, but it increases the recurring fees. So assuming you paid 5,000 for web hosting for the first year, you just might get asked to pay 7,000 for subsequent years.
So think about that when choosing a hosting plan to start out with. The recurring cost increases after the first year.
HOW MUCH HOSTING SPACE DO I NEED?
Well, if you are looking to build a personal website. In my opinion, 1GB is really good enough for you, not unless you want your own private file storage system or something. But for a blog or personal profile, 1GB is good enough.
If you feel it might not be good enough, you could always go for more space, at higher prices. So think about what you would be doing with the website and decide whether or not you would be needing a lot of space.
THERE WOULDN’T BE ANY UNLIMITED SPACE
Another marketing gimmick is to say that you would have unlimited space. Though this might be true for some companies, it’s not true for most. Be sure to go through the terms of service, you just might find some funny fair usage policy that says your account can be terminated if you exceed a certain amount of space.
So don’t get too happy thinking you can transfer all the files in the world into your web server, be sure to check and be sure that they are actually giving you enough space.
ONE REALLY IMPORTANT THING YOU SHOULD KNOW
I got into this situation like twice. And although I had never heard of it before, it seems legit.
I had two domains I was hosting for two different clients, and after expiration they did not pay up on time. I had sent out reminders but there was no show so I decided not to push.
However after three months, one of the clients decided she wanted to pay for the renewal of the domain. But on contacting the web host I was told that the account had been suspended by the domain registrar and that she needed to pay an extra fee to reactivate it, the fee was three times the amount of the renewal.
So try not to get caught up in this. After 60days or so, domain name registrars start to put up your domain name for suspension and possibly sell them off in the belief that you have no need for it again. Try as much as possible to pay on time.
One last thing on web hosting
Most web hosts now offer cheap plans with quite reasonable features. But you need to beware of some of these hosts. Although pricy doesn’t necessarily mean quality, but it’s even less so for cheap. Most cheap domains aren’t really secured so you would have to put in extra effort to secure your website. And some expensive ones put so many security features in place that it limits you. Crappy right? I know.
Before you start out with a hosting company, google their name plus some keyword for reviews or bad experiences. For example “web_host + sucks” or “web_host + review” or “web_host + is great”. You should get a pretty good idea of how their services are.
ALL GEARED UP, LETS GO
OK. So now you get the gist about web hosting. Hopefully you’re a bit more confident in going out there to pick a website hosting company.
Don’t know any, Google it, seriously, it’s the age of Google. There are a lot of great choices out there. But just to get you started, check out my review on Utiware, basic package is 3,500. I also use qservers.net which has a basic package for 2,500. If you don’t want any disturbance with viruses and stuff, Utiware is quite good with that but be sure to read the review first before going ahead. you could also check my post on Nigerian web hosting companies. But in all, if this is for a personal website, 6,000 is the highest I can think of for your hosting space. Lowest being 2,500.
Have any further questions? Just post them as comments and I’ll answer them really quick.
My next post in this series would be on installing WordPress. Be sure to watch out for it.
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IMAGE CREDITS: Iwebask.com, Clker.com, Vectoropenstock.com