Once you’ve registered your domain name, it’s time to choose a web host. A web host is a business that rents out the server space on which you store all of your website’s files.  Look for a web host that’s backed by a reliable corporation with a good reputation for customer service . For instance, it’s probably safer to use Blue Host or HostMonster rather than a small host (ma and pa) you don’t know or are not familiar with.

If you are paying more than $10 a month for hosting, you are paying way too much!   I am currently hosting 10-15 domain names and I pay only $7.99 a month with Blue Host.

Phyllis Garland San Mateo Web Designer & Web Hosting

Hosting Features

Before signing a contract, make sure you understand the hosting features available to you:

  • Shared vs. dedicated hosting: With shared hosting plan, your site shares space with other sites on a server, whereas with a dedicated server plan, a server is reserved exclusively for your website. Shared hosting plans are less costly but may make your web pages load more slowly. Unless your site attracts thousands of users per day, though, shared hosting should suffice.
  • Disk space: This is the amount of space your site can take up on your rented server. Exactly how much disk space you need depends on the number of pages you expect your site to contain and what types of files you plan to offer users.  For instance, images and audio files take up much more space than text files. Opt for a host that offer at least 3 gigabytes (GB) of storage space.
  • Data transfer: Also known as bandwidth. this is the amount of data you can transfer from your site to other computers in a given month. Be sure to choose a plan with data transfer limits of at least 100GB per month.
  • POP/SMTP access:  This type of email protocol allows you to use email addresses with your site’s domain (You@yoursite.com).  Most hosts let you use a web-based version of your site’s email for free. If you’d like to download and manage your email on your local desktop, PC, though, be sure your web host offers POP/SMTP access.

Other Hosting Features to Consider

  • Customer service:  Some hosting companies offer customer service via email only. Sign up for hosting only with a company that offers telephone support.
  • Control panel: This is an interface that allows you to manage email addresses, configure your account, and monitor site statistics, such as number of visitors.
  • E-commerce: Some plans offer built-in or easy-to-configure storefront applications. If you’re planning to sell on the web, consider buying a plan with this option.

Configuring Your Domain Name

Once you’ve registered a domain and bought a web hosting plan, you’ll need to configure your domain. This way, other computers know where to look for your files when someone enters one of your site’s URLs into a browser. To make sure your domain is correctly configured, you must change your domain’s DNS (domain name server) settings. Here’s how:
  1. When you sign up for hosting, your web host provides you with the DNS info you need. The DNS info will look something like this ns1.yoursite.com. 
  2. Enter the DNS info into the DNS settings configuration page on your registrar’s site. This option is usually located under My Account or Settings.
  3. After about 24 hours, your domain becomes associated with the servers on which your files reside, and your site can be found by any browser into which someone types your URL.

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