Web Hosting Tips and Tricks for Beginners

The word web hosting is something you will be familiar with in some way. Most businesses have found reason to put up a website on the internet and some will hire an in-house staff to manage their website for them. But if you are new to web hosting or just setting up your first website, there are basic understanding you need to have to be able to effectively use your web hosting account without trouble. This post will definitely be more useful to newbies.

You will want to wonder why we should be concerned about beginner instructions for web hosting. Well, the fact is that we chose to answer as much questions as we can, some of the questions we have been inundated with, coming from new entrants to the web hosting industry are equally important for experienced web hosting clients who in some cases have forgotten the techniques ans want some clarifications. Every question that come to us are important and must be taken seriously with the hope that answers will help others in similar situation. Let us begin with the basic fundamentals.

Also read: The Myths and Realities of Web Hosting

What is Web Hosting

Web hosting is a term that is not so easy to give a precise definition. According to Wikipedia, a web hosting service is a type of Internet hosting service that allows individuals and organizations to make their website accessible via the World Wide Web. This definition underscores the making of internet files available for website users. So you need to think of web hosting as that provision which allows you to place your website on a server and provides the software and processes that make your files accessible to those who visit your website or click your domain name.

We will further illustrate so you clearly understand what happens when you order a web hosting service. When you have a site visitor, they use your domain name to view your website. From the time the site visitor types your domain name and press enter, there is a process that occurs.

When a site visitor enters your domain name into a browser, the domain is then translated into your server IP address,  then the server sends that user your site files, which their browser represents to them as a typical web-page. That environment which allows your files to be stored on a server and made available to visitors is what is referred to as the hosting environment.

Also read: How to Choose an Affordable Web Hosting for Your Blog

Three Elements of a Website

From the above, you can see that without the three elements including the domain name, the web hosting server and the site files, there would be no website. We can explain each of these in greater detail

Domain Names

Computers communicate by using numbers, called IP addresses, to contact each other, much like you use a phone number to dial a specific person's phone. Domain names on the internet are much like entries in a phone book. The phone book tells people looking for a business what the entries are just as a domain tells people (i.e. their computers) that a domain is hosted on the server.

Without a domain you would not be able to use a domain name such as mysite.com, making your site appear unprofessional and impractical if your visitors are able to load it at all.

Read also: A Simple Guide to Choosing Your Web Hosting Company

Web-Hosting Servers

The web-hosting or server is much like the space that you rent out to have your business in. It's merely the space itself. It does not include furnishings like shelves for your products, just as the web-hosting account doesn't include a site for you to sell your products.

Luckily, in the web-hosting world, it's very easy to furnish the space provided by your host, because you can install many framework applications through the QuickInstall icon within your cPanel.

Without the hosting services, you won't have a place for your files to reside, so your domain would then become like a disconnected phone number in the phone directory, and your site files would have nowhere to stay.

Site Files

The site files are what your visitors and potential customers actually see when going to site such as your products and services. The site files are the same as any other file you normally use, like a .jpg photograph, or .mp3 music file. Though, website files are also .php files or .html files, which are PHP scripts or html pages respectively.

The web-hosting server knows how to read these files, which explain how the webpage looks or instruct the server to do a series of computations. These computations are things like figuring out what blog article it's supposed to send back to the viewer, or what forum post it's supposed to send back

How to Identify a Good Web Host

1. Check Customer Reviews

Experience, they say is the best teacher. That is true. A good starting point will be to learn from the current users of the web hosting service. Start with client reviews. Check what they are saying and do not be in a haste to quickly accept their complaints and positive comments. Take a thorough examination of the reviews and make an informed judgement based on that.

Note: A critical comment should not be sufficient for you to mark down a web hosting provider. Some clients could be a problem. For instance, some web hosts like

Todhost will log you out of client area once your browser IP address changes. This is a security measure to ensure that any new attempt to log in to your cPanel client area is authenticated. Some clients get very infuriated with this and will put the blame on the web host instead of their Internet Service Provider(ISP). The fact is that if you use a dynamic IP address on any system where Brute Force Protection is enabled, this is bound to happen each time your IP changes.

IP changes is common with the MTN Nigeria and Etisalat Nigeria, both are ISPs. We have found that this is not the case with Airtel Nigeria, and Glo Nigeria. With these other networks, you will stay connected with your current IP until you disconnect you internet connection or the system rests wit your ISP.

Also read: A Review of Web Hosting in Nigeria


2. Check Server Uptime

Server uptime is a good way to measure the performance of your web hosting provider. One thing you will never want is to have your website go down. Outages hurt your website’s reputation and more than that, you never can predict the opportunities you lose to outages. This is not to say that an outage is not possible. Outages occur on every network but you must check to be sure this is not a problem current users are complaining about.

3. Customer Care

You may want to try the response time on tickets by sending an inquiry and checking how long it takes for a response to come. Some web hosts provide live chat support on their site. If this is not available, then there should be a telephone line to call in time of immediate need. The best support is usually provided through the ticketing system because it allows a specialist on the area of your question to address and fix problems for you. Telephone calls are good for server restart, re-connection after a suspension and for sales inquiries.

Also read: The Incredible Power Of Reseller Hosting


4. Web Hosting Features

Many web hosts offer what they actually do not provide. Be sure to check customer reviews to see that you do not get something different from what you want. Generally, you will have to check the features of the web hosting and ensure that it has what you desire. Most Nigerian web hosts run on cPanel and provide free 1-click install software through Softaculous and Quick Install. This enables you to install scripts like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Magento, Module, OpenCart and lots more with few clicks.

Please note that these scripts are 3rd party scripts and your web host will likely not provide any technical support for them. You will need to understand how to configure your website script or you will have to contact a website designer to do it for you.

Also read: How A Plugin Installation Can Crash Your Wordpress Website


Website Security

This is about the most important aspect of your hosting – how to secure your website and prevent a hack or an exploitation. Your web hosting control panel is secured with a username and password. This will be contained in an email sent to your after your web hosting account is created.

Note: Before you commence using your web hosting service, please read the welcome email thoroughly because every error could be costly.

If for any reason, you choose to change your account password, please ensure that you follow our password rules and make sure your new password is at least 10 characters, at least a capital and special character and include a combination of numbers and letters.

Pricing

The major consideration in pricing is how competitive the price is. You do not want to spend some huge amount on your web hosting project. You also wouldn't want to go for the cheapest web hosting service. Of course price is a consideration especially in tough economies. Research the cost for your hosting providers comparing each company you consider. Keep in mind that there may be variances in cost based on the available features. So make sure you narrow your choices to the ones that have the features you want first then compare other features. You may also want to consider the payment plans and determine if these are convenient for you. Many host will accept payment for a year.

Also read: How Not to Hurt Your Visitors When Using the WordPress Maintenance Mode

Space and Bandwidth

Space and bandwidth are primary considerations for web hosting package. They will affect what you can do and whether you will be able to do much with your website or not. If your website pulls much traffic, it will require much bandwidth. If your website will require regular update and addition of new content, then you will need to consider disk space very seriously. The amount of space you need depends on the number and size of the files you will have on your site. Be aware, though, that even large sites typically do not need a lot of disc space so web hosts will offer unlimited disc space or large amounts of disc space as a selling point. The fact is, you will likely not need it so don't put too much emphasis on this.

The bandwidth is the amount of data transfer that occurs when people use your site. The busier and more popular the site, the more bandwidth is used. Make sure your web host offers enough bandwidth to accommodate your needs. However, be wary of unlimited disk space claims. This is a cost the host pays for so if you have an excessive amount you may have a problem. If you are on an unlimited plan make sure you read the fine print. Most web hosts have clauses that will allow them to suspend your site if you use too much.

Most web hosts have graduating packages available where you can upgrade to additional disk space and bandwidth if needed. This is typically an option when you outgrow your plan and need to upgrade. However make sure to research the cost of exceeding your plan specifications and the policies for how this is handled.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

You Must Avoid The Following Mistakes:

  • Avoid Choosing the Wrong Hosting Package

    Once you have a host in mind, a common mistake is choosing the wrong web hosting package. The cheapest shared hosting plans are for small sites that are just starting out. It may be better to start with a better package to begin with if your business already has a following or if you expect your traffic to grow quickly.

    With web hosts like Todhost, it has become easy to switch web hosting packages and plans but this could cost you much with companies that do not allow a discount on plan switching when your current plan has not expired. It’s not just the size of your site that matters, though. It’s also important to pay attention to the features offered with your hosting package.

    On the flip side, there’s no need to go with a dedicated hosting package and purchase all the extra add-ons if you’re running a small personal blog.
     
  • Not Researching Restrictions

    Not checking for restrictions could be costly as well. If a hosting package sounds too good to be true, it probably is. That’s not to say that the company is lying to you; it may just be that it sounds great on the surface but there’s more information in the terms of service. For example, some web hosts will offer you unlimited disk space while their terms of service allow them to suspend your website if you use more than certain amount of disk space within a particular period. Having your website suspended could really be very frustrating and so you must research and check if their be some restrictions before you make any choice about the  web hosting service to patronize.
  • Not Testing Customer Service Dependability

    During the lifetime of hosting your website with your chosen web host, there is the likelihood that you will have an issue for which you will want customer support. You need to test the response rate to issues to determine what the waiting time could loo like. A poor customer service service means you may be left struggling through your problems on your own and that can be quite frustrating especially in times of emergency.

    For example, you made a mistake with a code and took your website offline or caused a major malfunction. You may require customer support for help with backup restore or some other form of help to fi the issue. You need a responsive customer support that does not keep waiting for too long.

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