Once you’ve chosen and finalized the domain name you were looking for, I am sure you were chomping at the bit to just buy it, weren’t you? 🙂
Well, I am glad you waited it out. And so will you. Because, waiting ensures that you have made the right choice – a choice you can live with for the rest of your life.
If you are anything like me (curious and eager to click the links here and there on the Internet), then you would have come across a variety of domain providers and even hosting providers.
Here’s the thing: I strongly recommend going with a provider that sells both, the domain and the hosting account. This way, you get to avoid doing a bunch of complicated things (such as getting the domain address to point to that separate hosting account etc. etc.), which can be a bit complicated for a newbie.
Your Hosting Account – Your Web Space
So, what exactly is a hosting account?
To put it simply, your hosting account is the space you buy on the Internet where you get to save all the stuff that makes up your website.
Think about it this way: while your domain name is the address of your website, your hosting account is the land that that it stands on. And naturally, your website is the beautiful home that you build on that land.
How Much Space Do You Need
As with all things, you will find a variety of options regarding a hosting account. Some hosting providers offer a fixed amount of space, while some offer unlimited amount of space. A fixed amount of space means you only get so much space to put in your stuff. If you don’t have that much stuff that you want to put on your website (and text doesn’t really consume that much space), then you can go for the fixed space option. However, if you foresee putting up content like videos (not You Tube video links but videos that you make), downloadable PDF files and such other stuff which does take up a lot of space, then you might want to consider opting for a hosting service that gives you unlimited space.
This is something that you have to decide based on the long term plans / vision that you have for your website.
Choosing Your Hosting Provider
So, once you’ve decided what amount of space you need / want from a hosting provider, the main question is how do you choose the right hosting provider for yourself?
Again, there are some very simple rules that will help you make that choice.
- Price: Yes, this is something that you need to focus on right at the outset. You will have to budget for this amount every year, and its got to be suitable for your pocket. Thankfully, hosting accounts don’t cost as much as they used to, say 10 years ago, so you are in luck. Besides, most good hosting providers have very competitive rates.
- Customer Service: This is the next thing to check out, and equally important. Many hosting providers offer an online live chat service, phone and email support – which is great. But how does their service quality rack up compared to their competitors? Is this support available 24 X 7? Because, you know, we writers love to write at 2 am, and often end up tinker around with our websites at 4 am. 🙂
- Online Reviews: Yes, do go through the online reviews of the different hosting providers. But bear in mind, sometimes the reviews might be skewed (the reviewers may have affiliate accounts with the hosting provider) and they might be promoting one provider over the other. (By law, if someone is putting up an affiliate link for you to click on, he / she has to mention it – so watch out for that.) Another thing you need to understand is sometimes some people have a good experience with a provider, while some people have a bad experience with a provider. So take everything with a grain of salt and have some faith.
- Online Help: Since most hosting providers will have the same back-end look and feel, see if they provide any substantial online help. Many of them have great knowledge-base articles which can help you understand many things, while several also have helpful videos that show you how to do a particular thing. What do you prefer – text or videos?
- Demo Login: And this is a feature that is offered by most hosting providers as well. You get a demo username and password, and you can login to the back end of a typical account and get to see how things look like behind the curtain. This way, if there are any subtle or minor changes in the user interface which you like or don’t like, it can help.
If you follow these simple guidelines, you can be sure to find a hosting provider that you like.
And yes, now you can go buy your domain and hosting account. 🙂
(6 February 2013)
Madhavi spends her time writing web content and helping people make websites. She regularly blogs www.madhavighare.com and shares her thoughts about web writing and WordPress. She also explores her ardent fascination with myths and symbols via the Tarot cards on her blog www.taroticallyspeaking.com