Do you have a website? Or are you wanting to put one up?
Sooner or later, you’re going to need a good web hosting service.
Problem is, they’re hard to find.
Avoid web hosting nightmares
I know about web hosting nightmares. I’ve been online since 1995 and have been through far too many web hosts — several of whom just shut down in the middle of the night without a word of warning.
Twice I found out that my hosts were no longer in business when I fired up my computer in the morning and discovered that I couldn’t receive email, couldn’t access my website, couldn’t access my website control panel, couldn’t reach my host by phone, couldn’t find my host on the web. They simply didn’t exist any more. All gone. Gone, gone, gone in the blink of an eye. Even though in once case, I had pre-paid my account for four years in advance.
(I don’t do that any more. Lesson learned. One year is plenty to pay in advance at a time.)
Quite a few things to look for in a web host — and I’ll mention some critical ones in a moment. But, first, let me cut to the chase. I’ve been with a great, affordable, web host named Hostgator for several years now.
My web host handles busy sites for millionaire marketers and provides the kind of top-notch, always-running service they expect!
And my web host does millionaire-quality web hosting at a bargain-host price — and has for nine years straight
My host — Hostgator — gives me the same polite, reliable VIP treatment that it gives those bigshot marketers and it does so for about $9 per month. I like that.
Hostgator serves several hundred thousand sites worldwide — and has the infrastructure and expertise to do so well. I’ve NEVER experienced any significant downtime on any of the many sites I host with them. That’s unusual. And good.
Here’s some of what I like about Hostgator:
- Free, live tech support, via chat, 24 hours a day. I’ve never had to wait more than three minutes to reach tech support. And I’ve reached them at all hours, day and night. They’re there when you need them.
- The tech support is patient and helpful — not at all condescending or snippy or fluent only in geekspeak — and they are willing to stay with you as long as you need to resolve your problem or challenge.
- C-panel with Fantastico.If you don’t know what this means, I’ll explain both briefly in a moment. Just make sure that whatever host you decide to go with offers both. They make web-mastering life really easy and let you keep your site under your control.Fantastico means one-button installation of dozens of handy scripts and programs — like WordPress blogs and discussion forums and shopping carts and more.C-panel stands for “control panel” and is a particular, full-featured, open-source one that is the industry standard on many hosts. Hosts who don’t have it usually are limiting features pretty severely. (They, of course, don’t tell you that.) And they force you to learn their proprietary control panel. You’ll be sorry if you don’t grab a host with C-panel and Fantastico.
- Easy (and low) monthly payments for my server space, or a discounted annual rate. Either can be paid via my Paypal account, and paid automatically if I want. Handy.
- Ability to host an unlimited number of domains and subdomains on my one mid-level $8 per month hosting account.
- Plenty of MySql databases allowed. You’ll want that if you’re building a business or multiple sites or highly interactive sites.
- I can run my own cron jobs. You need this for many many scripts — like autoresponders. Surprisingly, lots of hosts won’t let you run your own cron jobs and bitch about running them for you, or they simply won’t run cron jobs at all. They don’t advertise this up front. They don’t say on their sales pages, “We won’t let you run cron jobs and we won’t run them for you.” But if you sign on with a host like that, you’re stuck with a bad host until you can make the time to pack up and move everything to another host.
You don’t want to have to pack up and move everything. It’s a big, messy, expensive, time-gobbling job.
That’s why choosing a good, reliable host up front is so important. This is one you want to get right, right off the bat.
I recommend Hostgator as a happy customer and affiliate because it’s good, reliable, inexpensive, polite, helpful and professional and full-featured.
There are many hosting companies that would pay me much much higher commissions for my referrals — like Dreamhost, for example, who will pay me $97 per sign-up if I recommend them. But I don’t recommend them.
I tried Dreamhost. They were totally crappy and were even snooty about their poor quality of service. They use a proprietary control panel that is super limited in functionality; their servers took forever to call up my WordPress blog pages; and in my first two weeks with them I had more downtime than I’d had in the previous several years with my former (admittedly more expensive) host.
Dreamhost reps insisted that this was a temporary issue with some outdated servers they were upgrading. But back when I tried Dreamhost, they still had a publicly accessible complaints and daily status message board and I could see that this temporary problem had been persisting at that point for years. They later took down that status and complaints board. Don’t know if they also bothered to fix any of the problems. I hope so.
No matter what they pay me, I simply won’t intentionally steer you to a bad hosting service. (But there are lots of people knowingly doing that! Beware.)
I’m not here to badmouth Dreamhost. And you certainly can check them out for yourself. For all I know, they COULD be dreamy now.
I’m recommending Hostgator because they are reasonable, helpful, reliable, and full-featured. Probably the best host I’ve had since 1995.
Hostgator is not the cheapest web host, but they’re NOT expensive and you do want to beware of cheap hosts
The cost of hosting is not really measured in what you pay monthly, but in the time you spend:
- Building a site.
- Uploading and tweaking and testing scripts.
- Building your online traffic and
- Building your online reputation.
And the cost of hosting requires other calculations, too.
- How reliable is your host?
- Is your site up and running nearly all of the time, serving pages quickly?
- And when your site does go down — and it will occasionally — can you get lightning fast help from your host’s tech support to get it back up and functioning properly?
That’s what you want.
That’s what you get with Hostgator.
What You Don’t Want from a Web Host
You DON’T want to have to pick up the pieces and move and reinstall scripts and re-upload your website to a new host suddenly because yours has gone black in the middle of the night — or no longer serves pages quickly, or your host has changed terms of service and now wants to charge you extra for the “unlimited bandwidth” or storage space you originally were promised as part of your package — or is implementing some sneaky way of calculating it, such as you are allowed only so much per day, or only so many “minutes of server time” per day.
You don’t want “24-hour tech support” that operates on a ticket system and promises a response to your ticket within 24 hours on business days.
Honest to goodness, many of the cheap hosts offer exactly that.
So you have a problem. Your site is not working right. You file a ticket. They get back to you in a few hours if you’re really lucky. Or they get back to you the next day. And maybe all they offer is a suggestion that you reboot your computer and see if the site will show up then.
So you reboot your computer and the site is still down and you file a second ticket to tell them that and ask them to PLEASE check what’s wrong on THEIR END…. And you wait for a response. And wait. And so it goes….
You don’t want that.
You want immediate help when your site is not functioning properly.
You get that with Hostgator. And you get it at no extra cost. Check out their great prices and programs. I use the “Baby Plan.” It comes with
- “UNLIMITED Domains
- UNLIMITED Disk Space
- UNLIMITED Bandwidth
- Shared SSL Certificate.”
AND…. a 45-day money-back guarantee. Either you like what you get with Hostgator or you get your money back. Doesn’t that seem fair? Forty-five days is enough time to really give them a real serious test drive.
Check ’em out. Tell ’em a happy customer sent you. I’d appreciate that.
— ken winston caine