WAHMweb Web Hosting Guide

When you are ready to launch your WAHM website to sell your products, write your niche blog or publicise your services, the first step is to find a good web host that you know is going to keep your details safe and your business online. But who do you choose? There are so many options out there for web hosting that choosing just one is virtually impossible. Follow the WAHMweb web hosting guide to avoid the common pitfalls in the world of web hosting.

Avoid “Unlimited” Deals

Unlimited space and unlimited bandwidth are the biggest marketing con in the hosting industry.

No ISP truly has unlimited space or bandwidth at its disposal (you can’t have a never-ending hard disk drive) so hosting companies will apply limits. However, the details of these limits will be hidden away in Terms of Use documents packed full of jargon that 99% of you probably don’t read. While you’re preparing to launch MegaCoolWAHMStore.com, your hosting company is preparing to levy quiet fines for overage or, worse, close your account with no notice for using an undisclosed “unfair amount” that is “affecting other customers”:

123-reg deem irresponsible use of the services […] if a service with unlimited or uncapped data usage is abused to the extent that it detrimentally affects other customer’s services.

In the event that a customer’s services are used for any purpose that 123-reg deem irresponsible then 123-reg reserve the right to suspend service […] 123-reg reserve the right to terminate the customer’s account with immediate effect. Wherever possible the customer will be notified in advance of any termination.

123-Reg Acceptable Use Policy

You can’t stay under limits if you don’t know what they are.

Don’t Host Domains and Web Space Together

I don’t recommended that you buy your web space and domain from the same company, for the same reason that I never recommend buying multi-in-one household appliances: if it breaks, nothing works.

If you have both domains and hosting with the same company, and that company goes down (temporarily or permanently) you have no way of transferring data out or moving your services elsewhere: everything is held hostage by the unavailable company. However, if you host your domain and files separately, you can point the domain name to an alternative location if the website host goes down; or, use an ’emergency’ second domain pointing to the still-working website if your original domain goes down.

Of course, choose decent providers for your services and it’s unlikely you’ll have to do these either of those things.

Ensure Your Domains Are Registered to You

Although less common than it used to be, some companies try to register domains with their details as the registrant. This means that should you need to move the domain to another provider at a later date, or change some details associated with the domain, you can’t: it doesn’t belong to you. Stick with a reputable domain registrar to ensure full control/ownership of your domain.

(This is not to be confused by registrars that offer whois protection: a service offered by many companies to keep your private address out of the whois entry for your domain. Your details are usually swapped for generic registrar details with an encrypted e-mail address. I highly recommend using this protection if offered.)

Ignore Offers on Bundled Email

I see many hosts marketing their e-mail services quite heavily as a great part of their hosting when, the reality is, that their offering doesn’t differ from the vast majority of other hosts. In fact, the only difference is generally the lack of attention paid to what is actually a superfluous extra. It doesn’t matter if your host provides e-mail, because I recommend Google Apps Free to everyone with less than 10 users.

Moving your e-mail provision to Google has several advantages:

  • Less space used on your hosting package; e-mails and attachment all take space that could otherwise be holding products, pictures, files etc
  • If your hosting goes down, in most circumstances your e-mail stays live (which is handy if you have to explain to clients why the website is down!)
  • Google’s excellent spam filtering beats most host spam filters hands down
  • It gives you access to Google’s other features (Google Docs, Drive, Calendar etc) all from one place

Don’t Buy More Space Than You Need

This goes hand in hand with my first point about unlimited hosting. You might think that hundreds of gigabytes of hosting space sounds ideal for your circumstances, but unless you’re moving an existing website and know your exact requirements it always makes sense to start with the smallest hosting account.

No decent web host is going to turn down a request to upgrade as and when necessary, so stick with the cheapest plan your host offers and you save money that would otherwise be spent on unused space in the long run.

Glossary of Terms

Confused by any of the terms used above? Here are the common web hosting terms and what they mean:

Bandwidth
Amount of data transferred to or from a website or server, usually within a prescribed period of time. Every time a file / page / image / etc is accessed this uses bandwidth.
Domain / Domain name
The unique string of words which connects a user to the website they’re looking for, e.g. wahmweb.co.uk
Domain registrar
A company that registers domain names with the relevant database so that when a user enters the domain into their browser address bar it goes to the right place.
Web host
A company that provides space on their server(s) for your website and files.

WAHMweb Recommends

So, who should you use for your web hosting and domain names?

Domain Names
For .uk domains: 123-Reg
For .com / .net / etc domains: Namecheap

Hosting
WAHM hosting from our sister site – WAHMweb Network
I typically recommend Clook for all other hosting requirements.