Many new webmasters don’t know which web host to choose from the huge list of web hosting providers. There are some for even $3.95/month, some above and even over $10. When I started out and needed a web host, I was completely lost and decided to go for the most widely used one. (I don’t want to mention the name) They really screwed me and I ended up paying $300 for my first year of hosting. Nowhere it stated that you only need one hosting package and that you can host as many of your websites with one web hosting account.
Only a few months afterwards I started reading a lot of negative feedback about that particular host. Not only are they very expensive but also apparently took money from a lot of customers by claiming that they need to pay fines because they did something wrong. (They make you sign a statement that you have up to $500/month “credit” with them.) Needless to say, I closed all my accounts with them, even though I had a whole year with two hosting packages purchased. It really scared my that they had access to $500 per month and could just charge you some bogus fines.
Next I went with a very inexpensive web hosting provider 1&1 web hosting. They have constantly some promotion where you pay like $10 for the first whole year and then like $40 for the second whole year. I can’t remember the exact numbers, but very cheap. The downside is that you can only host 50 websites under one account and only get 10 FTP accounts. So each time you create more than the first 10 websites you have to delete the FTP accounts and create new ones. Obviously I should not complain because the whole thing is dead cheap. Also they don’t have the very popular and very useful control panel “cPanel”. If you are quite new and don’t have a lot of websites hosting with 1&1 should probably be enough.
After my first year in the internet buisness I decided to upgrade and find a new shared web hosting provider. I still keep my 1&1 account and host my first 48 or so websites there. They don’t need constant attention, so it’s business as usual. But anyway I was on the lookout for a new web host.
Now I knew exactly what I wanted for my third host: Unlimited websites, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited email accounts and most importantly the cPanel. I think all four criteria are very important, but I truly love the cPanel. With the cPanel you have all your hosting features under one page. You can see from within that one page the site statistics, can install WordPress Blogs with only like 2 clicks (with Fantastico Deluxe),… If you want to have a closer look of what I am talking about, have a look at one of my recent articles, where I compared the top 10 web hosts for 2011.
Besides the usual web hosting features I also wanted more advanced control like Cron Jobs, Ruby on Rails, the latest PHP 5, Perl 5, … Anyway, there is only one web host that currently offers all those features: Hostgator. You can get like the most complete package for under $10/month. I admit that it is slighly more than I pay with 1&1 but if you need more than the basics, it is definatly worth it!
With Hostgator you don’t have to commit for a whole year, but it all runs under a monthly contract. You pay once a month $9.95 with Paypal as a recurring payment. This is a huge advantage that you can pay with paypal than with your credit card. You don’t need to expose your credit card number plus are protected against online fraud. Also if you decide that you don’t need your shared hosting anymore because you upgrade to VPS or dedicated hosting, you can just cancel from within Paypal. But Hostgator has also a very good reputation on their more advanced hosting like VPS (Virtual Private Server Hosting) for like under $45/month, so you can upgrade from within your hosting account without any hassle.
Also their customer service (technical support) is spot on. From within your hosting control panel you can start a written chat and they solve your problem together with you in a few minutes. Not that there are any problems, but sometimes you don’t know your way around, so ask…
I hope my article can help newcomers by not falling into certain traps of web hosting and you won’t waste your money like I did with my first web host. I also recommend that you keep your domain registrar separate from your web hosting company. At the beginning I also bought my domains with that one particular negative web host. As soon as they allowed I transferred my domains to a different, more trusted registrar. I googled around and read a lot of good things about Moniker.com. I host all my domains there now. They are definatly cheaper than the one I described beforehand. But I think the trust issue really made the deal for me. I don’t want that one day someone books off money of my account or that someone makes me trouble renewing my domains or even worse doesn’t let me transfer my domains out to a different domain registrar.
If you are unsure about a web host or a registrar just drop me line here and I will gladly answer your questions.