What is a Web Host?
So you want to setup a website, well you’re going to need what is called a Web Host. A Web Host is simply a somewhere that your website physically sits, so all of the files that make up your website sit on a server with a web host company.
In this section I’ll go through what you need to look for, I’ll translate the confusing jargon that you may encounter and I’ll make a few recommendations on who to choose.
What to look for in a Web Host?
Since we are going to concentrate on WordPress, you need your web host to provide the following:
- Supports PHP 5.2.4 or greater
- Supports MySQL 5.0 or greater
That’s it! WordPress is really easy to setup and doesn’t need much in order to work (another benefit!). It would be extremely difficult to find a web host that doesn’t support the above.
I would also recommend buying a domain name through the web host you choose, this makes setup easy and generally you get it for free if you are purchasing hosting.
I would recommend you to select a web host that offers:
- Free Domain Name
- 2GB Web Space (minimum)
- 20GB Bandwidth (minimum)
- PHP 5.2.4 or greater support
- MySQL 5.0 or greater support
- One Click Application Install
Normally a web host will offer a few different options, the above should be covered by the lowest option available, and cheapest option. Remember, if you need more space or bandwidth further down the line, you can always upgrade, you can’t downgrade! So I would recommend starting at the smallest package and working your way up if required.
How Much Do Web Hosts Charge?
The lowest option is generally around £30 / $50 per year. You can also pay monthly, web hosts are flexible, if you aren’t sure, give them a call, they are always happy to help a new customer!
I have used multiple hosts over the years and I have found the following are very good:
- Vidahost – UK Based and the support is excellent. I use Vidahost and would recommend them to anybody. Packages starting from just £29 per year (around $50) mean that you can’t go wrong!
- GoDaddy – GoDaddy are global and one of the biggest Web Hosting companies about. I would recommend selecting the Economy Package to begin with. Slightly more expensive at £50 per year but you do get more than VidaHost.
The two hosts are recommended by me for two reasons, great support and very little downtime. For me, both hosting companies have always provided me with great customer service and I can’t ever remember my website being inaccessible!
If you are based in the US, I would recommend GoDaddy. Either of the above hosts offer a One Click Install of WordPress
When purchasing a hosting package you get the option to register a domain name. Have a think about what you want people to type in to access your website. My domain name is www.danwardweb.com, I chose this because:
- My name is Dan Ward
- I am a Web Developer
- It’s short and easy to say
By having my name and industry in my domain name it is clear that I am in some way “Web Related” giving the visitor an immediate impression of my site.
Don’t rush into this decision, this will be the starting point of your brand, you have to get this part right!
You might be thinking I don’t know what PHP or MySQL is, by following this course, the truth is you don’t need to know. WordPress is setup in a way that you don’t need to have any technical knowledge, just simply follow this course. However, if you’re like me and want to know what everything means, this section is for you:
- HTML – This is the standard code used to build a website.
- CSS – This a language that tells a web browser how to style a website.
- PHP – PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor is a programming language used to build websites and is used alongside HTML.
- MySQL – This is an Open Source Database Management System.
- Domain Name – This is the name that you type into the browser, for example www.danwardweb.com is my domain name.
- Web Space – This is the space that you have on the Web Hosts server. The more you have, the more files you can store. If you are going to have a picture / video heavy website, you will need more space.
- Bandwidth – This is the amount of data people can access on your site. For example, if you have a 100MB file on your site, and 100 people download it a month, you need to have 100GB Bandwidth allowance.
- cPanel – This is the control panel that allows you to manage your hosting account. It is very simple to use and is by far the best I have come across! DO NOT CHOOSE A HOST THAT DOESN’T OFFER CPANEL!
- One Click Application Install – This is a feature within cPanel that lets you install WordPress or other applications in just a few clicks, again an absolute must have!
As always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact me and I’ll be happy to help! By the end of this post you will know:
- I know what a web host is
- I know which web host to choose
- I know what to look for in a web host
- I know what a domain name is