Choosing The Right Hosting Provider

Once you've made your website and have chosen your domain name, you'll need a host server to put your site on. There are loads of hosts on the web, from free to very expensive, and different hosts have different packages based on the size of your website, bandwidth limitations, etc.

Free Website Hosts

While you can find free hosts on the web, we wouldn't recommend using them. You never know when your site will be removed from the web, how often your site will be down, or if the IP address your site is on has been blacklisted. In addition to free hosting-only providers, you can also get a free host and domain from companies like Wordpress and Blogger. However, you won't own your domain and it can be removed at any time. If your site becomes very valuable and you want to move it from YourSite.Wordpress.com to YourSite.com, you won't be able to transfer that value. Whereas if you own your site and want to change the domain name, you can "redirect" the old domain to the new one and most of the trust of the original domain (in the eyes of the search engines) will also be redirected to your new site. There are plenty of inexpensive hosts, and unregistered domains can be had for around $8, so it makes very little sense to use a free host given the potential downside.

Inexpensive Hosts

If you're just getting started and don't want to spend much money on hosting, there are a number of cheap and relatively reliable hosts. A few of the more well known options are:

  • HostGator: HostGator has an excellent range of hosting plans, perfect for any level of use. Their most popular plan is Baby Croc, which includes unlimited domains, 99.9% uptime, free scripts, and more.
  • Blue Host: Bluehost is another really popular and inexpensive host. Unlike many other cheap hosting providers, they have great customer service and tons of easy, free add-ons.
  • Dreamhost: Dreamhost is another nice option, similar to the two above, with plenty good one-click-installs. Free support is only via email.

These hosts are not only cheap, but they also have very simple options for adding software to your site. For example,"one click installs" that allow you to install a Wordpress blog with the click of a button, and they keep the version updated automatically.

Higher Quality Hosting

Once your site(s) is making good money and no downtime is acceptable at all, you'll want to go with a high quality hosting provider. Our recommendation is Pair, the company we use for this site. While the user control panel at Pair doesn't offer all the easy integration for beginners that the inexpensive hosts above do, site uptime is much greater, and customer service is top notch. You can start off with Pair's least expensive hosting plan and move up or down as necessary.

Connecting Your Domain To Your Host

When you've purchased a domain and a hosting account, you'll need to connect your domain name to your hosting account so that when someone types your domain into their browser they get to your actual site. This is very easy to do. If you've registered your domain with Godaddy, simply go to your "domain manager", select your domain, and select "Set Nameservers":

Connecting Domain to Host

Then you'll enter your namesevers into the form that appears:

Setting Nameservers

If you didn't write down your namesevers when you added the domain to your hosting account, you can either call your host and ask them for the nameservers, or look in your account. If you're using Pair as your host you'll find your namesevers after clicking "Manage Your Domain Names" and then selecting your domain.

Nameservers

Your Next Step

Once you've got your domain connected to your hosting account, it's time to make your website. Whenever possible, I prefer to use a static site. But if you'd prefer (some people think it's easier), you can use a CMS like Wordpress. Consider using our free website template for your static site or our free Wordpress theme for a Wordpress site. They'll make your life much easier!