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How To Choose A Web Host

LIKE A BOSSHey Mr. Whack-A-Host here... Are you ready for your standard boiler plate how to choose a web hosting company article? I didn't think so! Jeesh man! Every article I looked at is the standard garbage with all the same bull. Some basic info.. then bamm right in your FACE.... CLICK HERE FOR THIS AWESOME SUPER WEB HOST THAT WILL DO JUST WHAT YOU WANT!! lol

Anyways if you somehow found this page you might:

  1. Have a basic idea of what you need.."you might even own hosting"
  2. Researching for a specific type of website, i.e. e-commerce, forums, videos etc...
  3. Or... you have NO DAYUMM Clue!! 😉 << That's O.K. I was there once

Don't worry I am going to talk about "REAL WORLD" scenarios from my own experiences, the good and the bad.

I am not going into all the super fine details, because if you are looking for that info then I would imagine, you have web hosting, know what you are doing and can figure out if the host has what you need just by visiting the site. I do understand we sometimes want to read hosting reviews before we buy, so understood, but that is for the review section of the site.

OK sorry for the rant let's figure out what the best web/server hosting might be for you!

Who/Where/What Is Your Site Going To Be Hosted On?

We really have to start here because as you are most likely aware if you search web hosting you are going to find so many sites and they all offer some insane low price, super support, and %500 up-time 😉

this-is-support

Support? Are You There?

Hosting Support Options: Who Is Supporting You?

  • If you go to the site do they have Live Chat? Not only do they show some sort of Live Chat button, but are they actually there to support your questions? If you see a live chat support link click it. Now granted if you are not a customer it might take longer to be connected, but no longer than 5 minutes. If there is no option for live chat and you really like what you see, then use the contact/support link and shoot them a message. If you don't hear back within and hour or so leave them in the dust!
  • Do they have a phone number? If you don't see a phone number then move on! Why would they not have a phone number to get in touch? I better be able to call someone if I host my business with them.
  • The above shows us a few things:

    I better be able to call someone if I host my business with them.

    1. If they have live chat and are responsive to you as a visitor they will most likely do the same when you are a customer. Not 100%, but a good method to go by.
    2. You can call the number & if they answer awesome... ask your questions... if it is an automated system try and connect, but if it sounds fishy then move onto the next host. "What do you mean FISHY? Click Here"
  • If they don't have those support options that does not mean they are SCAMMERS or lazy, it just means that it is probably some sort of small time re-seller hosting & I personally would not host my sites there depending on the situation... << situations... agh there are so many of them: Side Note:"There might be times you need $1 hosting or something like that"

 

we host in the cloudWhere Is This Magic BoX That Will Be Hosting Your Website?

  • It is in the cloud they said!? What the F*&# is the cloud?? Technically just think of the cloud as a place you store stuff that is not sitting under your desk or in your house. Great article about "the cloud" here. Long story short its a remote place where you stuff is stored... pretty much any hosting company you use. More specifically "a cloud" will refer to a bunch of servers sharing files/resources across them.... anyways!
  • Typically any hosting company is going to have their servers hosting your website in a data center that has all sorts of back up power, super fast internet backbones, security etc... I will list a link to to the data centers of a few of the hosts I used here. Hostgator Data Center Specs, Siteground Data Center Specs, Godaddy Data Center Specs. Lots of info there, but the take away is find this info on the host you are looking into.
  • If wherever you are looking does not have details like the above examples I would move on.

    What the F*&# is the cloud??

  • You have to remember that redundancy is key here. Do you want to host with a company that has backup power, redundant servers, on hand parts for servers if something were to break, or with some guy who just has a server he rents out? Exactly.

 


 

cutting edge web serversOK We Know Where The Magic Box Is, Now What Kind Of Box Is It?

  • Oh sweet your running a WAMP "<<< Sorry inside nerd talk!"
  • Oh nice your host runs Windows Pro "<<< Sorry inside nerd talk!"

Budget & Needs: Cash Moniez & Your Business

  • How much are you really willing to spend & what type of site are you running?
    • Don't be so cheap that there is no room to grow with your host.

Let's face it, if you are here then you are probably just getting your first website up and running... "hopefully in WordPress" and that is awesome! Good times lie ahead, but the truth is you probably need the most basic hosting, but that is not to say go and grab the cheapest plan out there... we want to build in a little buffer room for when you site gets on the home page of "The Huffington Post" right? We don't want to be switching hosts a few weeks after you launch your site because it is just running so slowwww.... been there done that!

Lets break it down:

  • Who are you? I try to break down some specific scenarios of people I run into. If you have a specific situation then leave it below in the comment area and I am sure we can figure out a solution for you.

New/No Site - No Traffic - No Clue

  • Your the guy/girl that wants to build a site, or has a site but has no clue about where/how it is hosted and just need some guidance to feel safe or maybe you just need to toss up a 1 page website as an online business card.
  • You want to install wordpress, joomla, or some other CMS "content management system" type site... most hosts are going to support this at any level.
    • Hosting Options:
      • Managed WordPress or Joomla: If you are looking to just run one of these type of sites you are in luck. Many hosting companies are creating packages specifically for this. You only get access to your CMS "wordpress, joomla, etc..." which means you don't have any type of cpanel access or can do anything outside of that specific installation. The benefits with these packages are they are usually super fast because they are designed for these types of sites.... no extra stuff running because it is not needed. Depending on the package you can pay anywhere from $3-$99 depending on your traffic and most are scale-able enough where if you start on the basic level you can easily be upgraded to the bigger package which allows for growth.
      • Shared Cpanel Hosting: This is one of the most popular plans out there. I will always choose cpanel hosting when I can simply because it is what I started with and I know it well. Cpanel will offer you access to many tools and services... think of it like a "Server in a box" and you go into the control panel to change anything you want... email set up, forward emails, spam settings, file access, install tons of software like WordPress, Joomla, all types of forums, shopping carts... I mean you can do it all from here, but the truth is you probably won't, but ya can if ya had to!

E commerce Business

  • You have stuff... you want to sell it online... how do you do it? In the world today if you have no online marketing knowledge or web knowledge I highly reccomend you find a host that specializes in some sort of shopping card. In fact I even more highly recommend you look into Amazon, Ebay, Google shopping or any other online marketplace. There is no reason not to be selling there. They have the audience you are looking for and all systems are go! Sign up, learn the system, and put your product online.
  • ...but hey having your own online site is also a must! At the end of the day you want to be building a brand for now and the future. Just because Amazon, Ebay or whoever is here today does not mean they will be here tomorrow or change how they operate. You always want to be funneling your customers back to your brand and keeping them engaged on some sort of email list, or other means.
  • So with that said figure out what platform you want to use... there are many shopping carts like Shopify or Big Cart that can you have you up and running almost instantly and make it simple to use. If you want to run something like woo commerce, magento, or some other software you need to host then look for a company that supports specifically that. The servers will be set up for it and their support should know those systems inside and out!

Site Gaining Traction Days of Big Traffic "YES! It's Working!"

  • Yes that site you spent all this time building, tweaking, researching, and spent countless hours putting together long posts "like this one ;-)" are finally paying off!
  • Each day you are getting more traffic... slowly, but surely, heck there has been a few days your site was mentioned somewhere and you had 10 times the traffic for the day, but not only that the traffic came around the same time and your site started to CRAWL.... so SLOW..... << hey it is a good problem to have!
  • This is where you need to start thinking about the future of your website... where do you think it will really be. Remember you want to think ahead... you don't want to move your site to a new host only to have to migrate a few weeks or a month later or heck even the same day, because what you thought would be enough wasn't! "ask me how I know that' 😉 So here are some options below, but you might be looking for a dedicated solution which I go into in the next section below.
    • Hosting Options:
      • VPS or Cloud Hosting: They are slightly different, but all you need to know is that most are going to offer you something called a burst, or a boost, or whatever the heck they want to call it. Basically you will configure your server to the specs you want... the more stuff the more money... but lets just go off of this;
        • You configure a VPS/Cloud server with 2 CPU Cores, 2 Gigs Ram, 40Gigs Hard Drive Space, 1TB Bandwidth, all for $50 a month. This server is going to work well for most websites, but it still has limits. It might be running fast, but you get one of those mentions on a bigger website and the traffic pours in again, but bamm the sites SLOWS... down... again... This is where these boosts, bursts, whatever you wanna call it come in.
        • Thresholds: You set up thresholds on your resources... each host is different on how they let you set it up, but basically you can say if my CPU usage hits %90 for more than 6o seconds add 1 more core, or if my Ram usage hits %90 for more than 1 minute add another gig. Now these comes with a cost, but it is usually pretty reasonable, maybe $5-$20 for the extra resources and typically you can set how long the boost would last or if you want it to just stay there permanently. Like I said each host has a different way of setting it up.
        • The short of it is you have these on the fly resources you can use pretty much instantly so there is room to grow. The only downsides would be that it could get very expensive depending on how big the site grows, and depending on your needs some server settings are not available to tweak on these types of systems.
        • Your next step might be a DEDICATED SERVER "the Mother of All Servers... "THE SERVER" lol... look to the dedicated section below for more.
      • Shared Hosting: This really the same as the shared cpanel hosting above, but this would not be an entry level plan. Most hosts now a days will show their shared hosting plans and have some sort of stats of what it can handle. It might say... beginner package suitable for 1 website with ~5000 monthly traffic, or mid level package host up to 5 sites with ~20,000 in monthly traffic, and so on and so on. This could be a good option for you. Depending on the hosting situation though, if  you do get a big spike in traffic you might just be stuck with the resources you have and upgrading would be a longer process of actually backing up the site... moving it to a new host or package... which most hosting companies will do for you, just know that it won't be like the "boosting" option with the VPS/Cloud.

Need Full Control - Dedicated Hosting Time

  • You made it! You finally need the resources of a "DEDICATED SERVER" the mother of all servers... the server that all the other shared, cpanel, vps servers run off of! ... well sort of!
  • I remember when I "made it" to my first dedicated server. I had a site that was getting 5-6k visits a day! I had no clue about optimizing a website for speed, there were no cache plugins and I need raw processing power to churn through all the bad coding and loading times. It was a big bullet to bite! I was not making much at the time and the server was $199 a month! The site did run great that is for sure, but there were a handful of things I had no clue about and you should learn these things before you get your own dedicated hosting.
  • Unless You Get a Managed Server Package be prepared for the below.
    • Server Crashes
    • Server Updates
    • Server Backups
    • Server bugs,gremlins, etc...
    • Server Security, DDOS attacks, hacks
    • Server Email set up.... email going to spam?
    • IP getting blacklisted
    • Feeling helpless...
    • ... I think you are getting the picture!

So is a fully dedicated server right for you? Well that is something you are going to have to investigate and either learn how to run one on your own or pay the hosting company or a server admin to do it.

The Final Frontier - "SECURITY"

So... you have your website up and running:

  • It is gaining momentum
  • Social media is doing well
  • Organic search is picking up
  • You are actually getting comments and interaction on the website

Then one day it is running super slow.... or you go to the site and it redirects you to some shopping site or worse some page that plays music from some old Nintendo game and a bigger page that says "YOU HAVE BEEN HACKED" It is nonsense, let me tell you! Been there done that.

Here are a few things that most hosts will take care of for you to an extent and you should make sure of what they do.

  • DDOS "http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/D/DDoS_attack.html" - Your new awesome site might be pissing someone off or just has plain bad luck and someone has decided to drop a denial of service attack on you. Basically an army of computers or other services will just start hitting your website using up all the resources which make it virtually impossible to load.
    • Most hosts will protect against this to an extent. If it keeps happening you might need to find out why it is happening. I had a host try to charge me $1200 a month years ago to stop this! LOL
    • You could also get a service like CloudFlare which is a bridge between internet traffic & your website. Basically any web visitor goes through cloudflare then to you and if that visitor is from a known attacker or has malware it should get blocked or filtered...usually. They also do a lot of other cool things and it is free at the basic level.
  • Viruses & Firewalls
    • This really all goes hand and hand with the above. Most hosting networks are going to have some sort of protection in their datacenter. They have to! Your actually server may have limits depending on the types we mentioned above.
    • Again any site can use Cloudflare like I mentioned above, and if you are running WordPress then you can check out a few security plugins like Wordfence, IThemes, and sucuri to name a few.  I have tried them all and I use wordfence the majority of the time just to be safe. sucuri is pretty awesome you just really need to make sure you know what you are doing
  • BackUps
    • Of course backups go hand in hand with all of this. If your site does get hacked, blown up, attacked etc.... having a current backup is essential! Most hosts will have backups, but check to see how often they backup and what kind of back up it is. Depending on your platform I am pretty sure you can find a backup solution for most. If you are running Cpanel you can run your own manual backups as well.

 

your welcomeWell.... that was a long one and I probably confused you, but that is OK. I don't expect you to understand everything above. Hosting is changing constantly. It is a huge business! As long as you learn the basics and really figure out what you are going to need then you will be OK. Just do a bit of planning first. Of course just leave a question or a comment below and I will answer it the best I can!

Thanks!

 

 

 

 

 

2 Comments

  1. Shane on October 28, 2017 at 2:14 pm

    Dude this was awesome. Thanks so much!!! This cleared up a lot for me! I think my best bet right now is a vps account so I can scale. I have been getting spikes of traffic from social media blast and the site gets bogged down. What host do you recommend as of now?

    • Mr.Whack-A-Host on November 7, 2017 at 9:27 pm

      Cool man good problems to have! I have been using SiteGround for most of my new sites… you can read my full review here https://whackahost.com/siteground-review/ They have a great cloud account that scales very well and I think it would be perfect for you. Hit me up if you decide to sign up and need hep getting started.

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