For many people, getting online and taking on the related tasks of website creation & maintenance is confusing and downright annoying.

Why should you have to know any of this stuff anyway? After all, it’s probably NOT what your core business is about. I have a friend who is a massage therapist, and she is just learning about the ins & outs of marketing herself online. She is overwhelmed to say the least, because her business is massage therapy, not online marketing.

So, as I explain a bit here about web hosting, bear this in mind. Although I’d advise knowing a bit about this subject (so you know at a minimum what webhosting is), don’t forget that you don’t have to be an expert, AND, as soon as you can outsource these tasks and focus on your core business, consider doing it.

What is a Web Host?

Your website consists of files, just like the ones you access on your own computer at home. A website that has text, images, optin forms, multiple pages, etc., has a large number of files that need to be “housed” somewhere. When you type an address into your browser address bar, you are really telling your browser where those files exist physically, and to pull them up on your page for you. They could be housed anywhere in the world. Isn’t that cool that you can get to them with a click of your mouse?

Let’s say you’ve decided to make your own opt-in page, (squeeze page) for an ebook you just wrote. You understand the sales funnel principal, so you built your 1-page website very quickly using NVU, and now this page needs a home. Since you’ve got big plans on building lots of VRE (that’s virtual real estate – like homesteads but on the web), you know you will have a lot more files (websites) coming in the future.

So, make a good choice for a web host upfront. If you don’t, you will later find yourself with the task of moving all your files to another web host, which could hand you some website downtime (translation: don’t go there).

Things to Consider When Choosing Web Hosting – For Non-Techies.

1. Free Hosting versus Paid Hosting: If you get a free site, chances are good that you will have ads running all over your site. So if you don’t want ads, get a paid site; you can get a very good one for about $10 a month.
2. Access Speed / Reliability: Most good web hosts will post this number for you, and it should be 99.5% or higher. You don’t want those trying to view your site to get an error message.
3. Friendly & Robust Control Panel: This is the place were you can upload files, make new email addresses, install wordpress automatically, and many other tasks. When picking a web host, read about the available control panel and its capabilities.
4. FTP access. FTP is an acronym for “file transfer protocol.” It’s a method of uploading a large number of files quickly and securely to your web host. Make sure you can do this. You may not need it now, but you probably will as you get better at what you do and your ideas for your website expand.
5. Amount of Web Space. 5MB should do it. Check pricing should you need more later, but even large sites make it within this range.
6. Technical Support: This should be 24/7. Live chat! 800 number. Don’t bother with anything else because when you have a problem at 3am, you want someone there to assist you.

As far as what I’ve personally used, I started off initially using a free site (because I was new and didn’t know any better). Then I moved my files to their now permanent home, Hostgater. Not only does Hostgater offer all the features I want, their customer service is awesome. I’ve called on them to help me several times when I just didn’t know how to do something, and they have always been a class act, whether on the phone live, or in their 24/7 chats. When I was completely green, they were incredibly kind no matter how silly my questions were – that’s a good thing.

I’ve also heard very good things about HostMonster and BlueHost. All have very competitive pricing and the features above, as well as other benefits.

Special Note: If you are going to be doing some advanced stuff like creating & connecting databases, or have a need for PHP files, etc., make sure you connect with customer support first to determine if your host can meet your needs before choosing your web host. This article is designed for complete newbies, so I did not get into that area 🙂

As always I welcome your comments and hope you’ve found this post to be informative as you swing through the online marketing jungle.

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