Picking a Domain and Hosting
The next step of your website journey is picking a domain, which is actually quite simple! You’re just registering the name/address of your website. Think of it as claiming your stake in the internet landscape by putting your name on it.
There are many companies that offer this service and it doesn’t have to be with your hosting company. However, since most hosting plans do include domain registration, you’d probably end up registering your domain through your hosting company. Here is a step-by-step guide that can walk you through this process.
Next up is picking a hosting company and here’s one thing we wish we knew at the beginning – hosting matters, A LOT!
Hosting is the simple idea of renting a computer space that hosts your website for the world to see. Of course, it’s much more complicated but the general idea is just that. And we can’t emphasize enough just how important this is! Hosting reliability and speed is as important as producing high-quality content. This is something we unfortunately had to find out the hard way.
After working our tails off and producing a collection of high-quality content, we shot them off to various social media outlets and were fortunate to have a few go viral, but that excitement was short lived.
As we were looking at our analytics in real-time (a program we will touch up upon in Step 3), our traffic went from 0 users to 20 users and continued to climb to 50 users. The next minute we looked, it was back at 0 users. We figured that was nature of social media and things move very fast, but we soon realized that wasn’t the case.
What was happening was that our website was shutting down because the hosting server couldn’t handle all the traffic it was getting! Imagine that, you put in so much work and finally have something go viral only to have it cease due to your hosting server!
It was very frustrating to say the least. We also had other issues such as outages every other 5 minutes or so. Our website would be accessible one second, and the next second it would have an ‘error server not responding’ code, which means anyone trying to access our website couldn’t.
So let our mistake be your advice and get a good reliable hosting plan from the start!
There are many hosting companies you can choose from but the only one we can whole heartily recommend is Siteground. After switching over from Bluehost, all of the server issues disappeared. Our website loads super fast now, can handle all the traffic we can throw at it, and the live support is second to none!
When we were transferring over our website from Bluehost to Siteground, we needed help on all kinds of technical issues and Siteground’s support handled it all within minutes! Again, we’re sure there are other good hosting companies out there, but the only one we’ve had good 1st hand experience with is Siteground!
We’re also a participant in the Siteground’s affiliate marketing program, but we definitely wouldn’t recommend them unless we can truly vouch for their services!
Also keep in mind that depending on the particular website builder you decide to go with, hosting companies may offer ‘specialized’ hosting servers based on that program. For example, Siteground offers WordPress specialized servers whereas if you pick Wix, you will have to go with Wix’s hosting packages.
After picking a good reliable hosting company, next would be picking a hosting plan. In general, most hosting companies will offer 5 types of plans: basic, basic plus, pro, VPS/cloud, and dedicated server.
VPS/cloud and dedicated servers are designed for websites that get 100k+ traffic a month, and it’ll take some time before you can develop that kind of traffic so probably not going to be anyone’s starting package.
So the realistic starting packages will be basic, basic plus and pro. The differences between all these are pretty much speed and how much traffic they can handle.
Basic can handle something like 10k traffic a month, basic plus would be 25k traffic a month and pro would be 100k traffic a month, with pricing increasing respectively. Which one to choose would really depend on what kind of website you’re going to cover and the amount of traffic you anticipate on getting.
In general, a website that provides free content, i.e. recipes, art/craft ideas, is going to generate more traffic than a website selling products i.e. services or physical goods. With whatever plan you may choose, we would recommend considering some headroom just in case something goes viral and you suddenly get an increase in traffic. The worst thing would be for your website to go offline because it can’t handle the traffic!
So again, if you are going to spend time and money into this, hosting companies and hosting plans is not where you want to skimp out on! Sign up with a reliable company as it could really make or break your website, quite literally!
Content Delivery Network
On a closing note, if your website is going to be content heavy, we would really recommend going with a hosting plan that offers CDN (content delivery network).
CDN is the process of sending copies of your static data (like pictures/videos) to servers located all around the world. This means the user will access the pictures from the server closest to them rather than a central server.
Think of it like Amazon warehouses where if you live in NY, they will ship from their NY warehouse whereas if you lived in Texas, the same product would be shipped from the Texas warehouse.
You can sign up with 3rd party CDN providers after the fact, but just having a CDN integrated with your hosting makes everything much cleaner. Also, if you ever have issues with CDN, you can just contact your hosting support and they can figure it all out for you rather then you having to work with a CDN and hosting provider separately. Siteground’s hosting plans all come with free CDN included, so again another great reason to give them a look!
Now that you have your subject, website builder, theme, domain and hosting all squared away, it’s time to move onto the more technical aspects of building your website with Step 3 – Plug-ins, Plugins and Website Optimization!
Disclosure – we are a participant in Siteground’s affiliate marketing program and this page contains marketing affiliate links.