Here We Go: Domains and Hosting

Whether you want to or not, you need to learn about domains and hosting. It might not be the most exciting part about blogging but it’s necessary and one of the first steps in setting up your blog. To break it down simply: your domain name is like your home address. You can put it on a business card or post it anywhere and anyone can visit. Simple as that. Your hosting account is like your actual house. If you have a domain name (or in our analogy…an address) but not hosting (a home), people are going to be quite surprised when they go to visit and there’s nothing to see. Your hosting account stores all of your site’s files, images, databases, email accounts + more. It’s technical. It’s complicated. But here are the basics:

  1. Do not just choose the cheapest company that you can find. It’s not worth it. Ask for recommendations!
  2. Make sure that they’re available 24/7 via phone, chat, and tickets. Give them a call and ask questions at 8am and then again at 11pm. Their customer service should be excellent no matter what the clock says.
  3. Look at their plans. They should make sense to you. Smaller bloggers like myself don’t need 999,999 GB of monthly bandwidth.
  4. Read reviews! Obviously their website is going to boast that they’re the best (but most aren’t).
  5. Check to see if they do free website migration. If you’re not happy with your current host, they will move everything at no extra cost!
  6. Side note: Don’t buy hosting to back up all your files. While many hosting companies claim “unlimited storage” they can ask you to remove it. If they don’t hear from you…I’ve even heard/seen system admins delete content because you’re slowing everyone else down.

Once you’re signed up, utilize their tutorials! The functionality and options that are built into the hosting dashboard (or cPanel) can seem overwhelming. Basic bloggers should only be utilizing a handful. These can include:

  • File manager or unlimited FTP: Allows you to upload or download site files
  • Email settings: Allows you to add email accounts and usually assist in configuring your mail apps
  • Domain Details: It’s best for you (and especially if you are utilizing a web designer or developer) if you have full control over DNS settings. They should also allow you to add subdomains or create redirects.

This is obviously a very short and compressed post about domains and hosting. I would highly encourage you to seek out a designer or developer to assist you in this process. It will save you a lot of headaches. I worked for a hosting company in 2009 and so I feel like I have a pretty big grasp on the subject.

I recently switched over to Eleven2 this past weekend and it’s the first hosting company that has FLOORED ME. I am so impressed with them and cannot stop telling everyone. It costs me $60/year to host all my sites and about $11/domain. Not only did they help me migrate my site, domains and databases but they responded to my tickets and chats almost instantly while I was having issues with one particular database. I was literally communicating with them from 11am on a Saturday (through the night) until Sunday afternoon. Now that everything is back up and running, I can’t believe how much faster my blog performs! Uploading photos, responding to comments, and working in the dashboard is now just a quick task.

If you’re interested in giving them a try (they have a 60 day money back guarantee), feel free to sign up through my affiliate link. If you need assistance, let me know! To top it all off, Eleven2‘s dashboard/cPanel is gorgeous (photos in this post are screenshots from my account) AND they have a free iPhone app.

If you have any other questions related to hosting and setting up your blog feel free to comment below and I’ll get you an answer!

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Comments (11)

  • As an added testimonial for Eleven2, I’d like to say that I’m VERY eager to start using that and ditching my current provider after watching Allie dig through them all.

    Seriously, working with Eleven2 will make you a more happy person. That’s reason enough to make the leap.

  • Ooooh, very sexy cPanel for sure! I am pretty happy with who I use now, but I will definitely keep them in mind for the future.

  • I manage sites using both bluehost and godaddy right now. First of all…GoDaddy is awful. The only plus is that I have had great experiences with their phone support folks. They’re really nice and have been very helpful. Unfortunately I have no say over what host we use because that’s a finance decision and not my decision at the church.

    Bluehost has been really easy to use, haven’t had many issues. A bit slow at times but overall not bad.

    I’d be interested in trying Eleven2. Not sure I’m up for moving a website anytime at the moment but I’ll keep it in mind once I get a chance to move the church site’s hosting.

    • Joe,

      I use Bluehost a ton. Have had zero problems with them personally. However, we’ve had issues with several of my company’s clients & have been scouting alternatives.

    • Yes. GoDaddy…the worst. I tell my clients NO GODADDY. I also don’t agree with a lot of their advertising and stances on relevant issues.

      Moving websites is definitely a solid time commitment but I must say…Eleven2 made it a lot faster.

      • I tried SO hard to get us out of GoDaddy. We were actually on Hostpapa before that and a volunteer decided to move us to GoDaddy a couple months ago even though I warned against it. THEN I was contracted for the church website and was told by the finance folks I wasn’t allowed to move it. So, I guess I’ll be waiting until we’re up for renewal… I’ll keep Eleven2 in mind for then. thanks!

        Love the blogging series by the way.

  • Definitely looking for a change. On live chat with a CSR now…

  • I have been using the same web hosting company for almost two years now and I’ve been happy. I remembered the first time I was making the move from Blogger to Wordpress, looking for the perfect webhost took days. GoDaddy for me was not an option. Definitely not. In the end, I went for Tigertech. ;)

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