What is a Web Host
For your website to be accessible, it needs to be hosted on a server somewhere by your web host. What this means is that when someone types in your domain name, the hosting provider, directs them to the to the correct web files associated with your domain name.Choosing a reliable website host
Choosing a reliable website host is very important to the success of your business. Your web host is like your business partner, and the quality of their service could impact your business positively or negatively and is a crucial part of building a robust website which is available 24/7.
What criteria should we look for in a web host?
As a minimum the I will go through the things you should be looking for in a web host
- Reliability and Uptime: This really should be top of your list. If your host server is only online half the time then you’ll be losing half your visitors, business and income! Your web host should guarantee its uptime. You won’t ever find a host that has 100% uptime – but look for web hosts that at least guarantee a minimum of 99.5% uptime
- Support: Following on from your server’s uptime, make sure that they provide great and timely customer support whether by email or by phone. Your website’s server and network should be monitored 24/7 – all year round.
- Data Backup: Check that the host company has the capability to back up your site, so if something happens and you lose your site, you can immediately have it restored. This is not a substitute for you also backing up your own site very regularly
- Disk Space and Data Transfer: Don’t cut yourself short on disk space and data transfer (bandwidth/traffic) when picking a plan. Most websites consume a very small amount of disk space, but you should allow room for growth and space for email storage. Investigate if the host provides warning emails as you approach critical limits and ensure they won’t surprise you with excess fees for exceeding your monthly bandwidth traffic allowance.
- Ease of use / Control Panel Site Management Tools: Choose a host that allows you to manage the different aspects of your web and email account yourself. An easy to use web-based control panel should be provided. Ask to see a demo of the host’s control panels. This way you can get a feel for how you’ll be managing your website’s server.
- Specialisation. I tend to only use hosting providers who specialise in WordPress hosting as they configure their servers specifically for WordPress which usually means that they serve the pages faster and are familiar with any WordPress related issues which may arise.
There are lots of hosting providers out there, and many of them do a really great job. One word of caution, don’t choose your hosting provider on the basis of just price, make sure they satisfy these important criteria. I recommend SiteGround for all my sites as they satisfy my checklist of features to look for in a host, and provide a great service.
How to set up your hosting plan
When you visit SiteGround, you will be presented with a button that takes you to the plans where you are presented with 3 options. For most small businesses, the StartUp Plan is adequate to get started with and you have the option to upgrade later if you need to.
When you click on ‘Get Started’, you’ll have the option to register a domain name OR if you already have a domain, you can specify it here and you can choose either option depending on your choice
Click on the proceed button and carry on with the fill in the client information and your payment information on the next screen to create your account.
You have an option to include SG Scanner, a service that scans your website for malicious activity and helps protect you from hackers.
Your hosting plan is now in place. You will receive a couple of emails from Siteground confirming your account details. Don’t forget to keep them safe!
Setting Up Your Name Servers
Now that we have a domain name and a hosting plan all sorted, we now need to make sure that web visitors can find your website when they search for you online, We need to set up your name server settings on the domain registrar.
NOTE: This will only apply if you purchased your domain from nameservers like Name Cheap OR GoDaddy.
For this example, we will be using site Ground as our example and the first thing to do is to grab details of the name server details from our hosting provider, which in this case is SiteGround.
- Log into your account, click on the My Accounts tab, and the Manage button.
- On the page with the account management information look at the Account DNS section and copy the 2 lines of information which start ns1. and ns2.
- If your chosen hosting provider is not SiteGround, and you’re unsure of where to find the name server settings, contact your hosting provider and they should be able to help you.
Changing the named server on your domain registration account
Now, log into your domain our domain management dashboard if you have used Name Cheap.
Select your Domain name, and click the Manage button next to your domain.
Find the Nameservers section and select Custom DNS option from the drop-down menu. Once selected you will be able to copy and paste the named server settings from your host onto the space provided. Click on the green checkmark to save the changes.
You may not immediately see the changes, it takes a while, between 24 to 48 days to propagate
This post is part of the Free 7-Day Build Your Own Website challenge. If you want to join in, you can register to be part of the group here: https://www.foundersparks.com/website-7-days/
Disclaimer: Some of the links that I use in this post and throughout this challenge may be affiliate links. That means that I may be paid a commission for purchases made through these links. It doesn’t cost anything more to purchase through an affiliate link, and I use any commission payouts to advertise these kinds of challenges to ensure I’m able to reach and help as many entrepreneurs like you as possible. I will only ever recommend products or services which I myself use and trust.