If you plan on starting your own blog or website, you’ll need to register your own domain name and purchase a web hosting plan. Web hosting companies rent you space on their web servers (just a fancy name for a computer setup for serving websites) so you can place your data on them for the public to see. While starting a website in the past may take technical knowledge and expertise, starting a website nowadays is quite easy and straight forward. The control panels for most web hosting providers are very user friendly.
One of the questions I get asked all the time is if it is possible to host a website on an ordinary home desktop computer. My answer is always yes and no. While it is possible to do so, I never suggest doing so. This is because it’s complicated to set this up and it’s just no worth having your computer on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Just leave it to experts to host your websites usually in large data centers in the middle of America. There are network experts there monitoring the systems making sure things work flawlessly.
I think most of you know that I’m a big fan of Godaddy.com, go there to register all your domain names. This way, you can have all the domains you purchase organized in the same location. I’m also a large fan of Dreamhost.com, this is where I’ve been hosting my websites for the past 10 years. Dreamhost is a employee owned company and has been in the industry for some time now. I just have an ordinary shared hosting plan with them that is $8.95 per month. Using this plan, I can host an unlimited amounts of domain names, email accounts, and databases required for setting up WordPress, my favorite website/blog publishing software.
Besides shared hosting plans, most hosting companies also offer virtual private servers (VPS), and dedicated servers. I’m going to go over what some this means below. Hey, if you want to get into blogging, it’s important to understand some of this computer lingo. Sit and and read…
For most personal blogs, getting a shared hosting plan is enough. Shared hosting plans are also the easiest to setup and use. It’s perfect for new bloggers because shared hosting plans come with a very user friendly control panel. You really just need to point and click.
In shared hosting plans, you and other customers share the use of the same web server and its resources. Since web servers nowadays are quite powerful, they are capable of handling tens of websites without breaking a sweat. Hence, shared hosting plans are perfect for new users and low to medium traffic websites. The only reason I would move to a more advance hosting plan is if your website starts to slow down due to increased traffic.
Virtual Private Servers (VPS)
Virtual private server plans are a step up from shared hosting plans. Virtual private servers are similar to shared hosting plans in that multiple customers share the same web server (hence “virtual”). Instead of getting the option of a user-friendly control panel, most VPS plans require knowledge of Linux, an operations system used in most networking computers. In VPS plans, you’ll need to understand linux enough to setup the LAMP stack which includes Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP, Perl, or Python. If you don’t know what these words mean, stay away from VPS plans.
VPS plans are great for new linux users to learn and for medium to high traffic websites. Since you’re in complete control of all the software on the VPS, you can better control and manage the server including getting essential statistics on memory allocation and management. This in turn means you can handle higher traffic.
VPS plans usually cost between $30-100 a month. Dreamhost.com actually offers an interesting VPS plan where it is managed by an user friendly control panel.
Dedicated server plans, like VPS plans, require quite a bit of network knowledge to setup. Instead of sharing resources with several customers, an entire web server is dedicated to your use.
Unfortunately, this is the most expensive type of hosting. Dedicated server plans usually start from $100 to very expensive depending on the amount of resources you want.