So, you want to create your own space on the web, and one of the first things you’ll want to do is secure the domain name and the web hosting. But it can be more than a little daunting, with so many options available out there, all with different price points, it can be difficult to know which one will work best for you.
I’ve created the following tips and tricks to help you with the decision making process.
Many web developers or designers will offer to set this up for you, however it is important for you to retain ownership of both the web hosting and domain yourself. This way if you do end up parting ways with them, you will not need to worry about access to your site, or having to swap them over each time you change developers.
Security is Important
Remember to keep these details and information regarding your site handy, your web developer will likely need them. They will likely ask for things like your FTP details (this is what they use to upload and download files from your site), and cpanel details (often used for managing backups, emails and other server settings). You will want to ensure that the passwords used are complicated enough that they cannot be easily guessed (password123 is not a good idea!), as using a weak password may see your site being vulnerable to being hacked. Changing this password regularly is also a wise move.
While overseas based hosting can offer tantalisingly cheap monthly costs, often they will be lacking when it comes to timely support. When selecting web hosting, I would definitely recommend Australian based servers, with Australian support teams as they tend to be a little faster for delivering content to local traffic, and it can be considerably easier to get a hold of local support teams that match your time zone. I have been using VentraIP for a number of years for this very reason. You can click the link there, I get have no affiliation with them, and receive no financial incentive, just a satisfied customer that has been with them for a number of years.
There’s no hard and fast rule for estimating exactly what you’re going to need, hosting wise, for your site, but generally the greater the functionality of your site, the bigger the content and the more traffic, the more capacity you are going to need.
For a small site, with minimal images and videos, 5GB of space is likely to be more than enough, while a site with regular blog updates with high quality photos and video will likely want 15GB or more. Most hosting services offer the ability to upgrade this in the future, so you can always pay to expand this at a later date as needed.
If your site has a limited number of plugins or extensions, and no eCommerce capacity, then 2 GB of memory allowance is likely to be just fine to start off with. eCommerce plugins tends to be a bit more memory hungry, and would recommend at least 4GB – 6GB. Possibly more if you are expecting a large amount of traffic at any one time.
Even if you are not processing orders, SSL certificates (security certificates) are important to have, and are often included free as a part of your hosting plan. This helps secure website connections, FTP and email.
In case the unthinkable happens, it is important that your server is making at the very least, daily backups. So make sure that your hosting includes this, just in case something goes wrong, and things get deleted, or break, you’ll easily be able to arrange a ‘roll back’.
Service Level Agreements
You will want your site online and working as much as possible, so compare the service level agreement that the hosting offers, and ensure that you’re happy and understand the up-time that they’re offering for the plan you’re selecting.
It’s by no means a complete list of things to consider but hopefully it will give you a starting point. If you have any questions at all or would like some advise, please do not hesitate to contact me.