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!

April 11, 2012