Blog Hosting – Consideration Factors and Your Options

It’s important to host your blog on a reliable hosting platform. Choosing the best hosting for your blog is not as complicated as it seems. In this article, we will look at some of the factors you need to consider. Choosing the right blog host is an easy process when you are informed.

Shared or VPS Hosting for Your Blog?

So first thing first – which type of hosting services to go with?

If you just got started blogging, a shared hosting has pretty much everything you need. A VPS or dedicated hosting at beginning stage of your blogging journey is waste of money. When you are new, you should focus in creating good content and growing your blog traffic. Shared web host is comprehensive and able to cope with most bloggers’ needs.

Hard Disk Storage

Many shared hosting services come with unlimited storage – though as a new blogger, you probably don’t need that much. 500 MB – 1 GB of storage should be good enough for a new blog. Remember that web hosting is built to host your blog or website – not for you to hoard high resolution images and videos – we have Flickr and Vimeo for that purpose! 😉

Number of Addon Domains

As domain names are cheap and you are likely to own a few more domains in future, it’d be safe to stick with shared hosting services that allow more than 10 domains (or that you can upgrade easily later).

Server Locations

The closer your blog hosting is to your readers readers the better. Hosting your blog near to your blog readers mean lower latency, faster blog loading speed, and better user experience.

Hosting Uptime

Personally I do not go with any web host that is below 99.5% uptime. In fact, even a 0.5% server down time is a little hard to bear with when you do the maths: 0.005 x 365 days/year = 1.825 days.

Can you accept your blog to be down for almost two days? Hell no!

But then again, all servers will suffer certain downtime – Hardware failure, programming bugs, human’s errors, server maintenance…etc; there are unlimited ways to turn a web server down. And as shared hosting normally cost less than the price of a cup of coffee, I’ll settle with 99.5% or more 😉

CPU Loads Limitation

The limitation on your account’s CPU usage is what makes unlimited hosting LIMITED.

CPU usage is a grey area where many web hosting providers will not talk clearly about it in the TOS. Some will tell you can goes up to 5 – 10% CPU power but they never tell you how big is the CPU capacity – which makes the percentage number meaningless.

From my experience, certain hosting companies will allow maximum CPU usage up to 5-10% (which is excellent) but logically, I think 3%* is fine and fair for a low cost hosting services below $3/mo.

So just if it happens that you get a chance to ask about CPU load before picking up a web host, you know what to expect. And, on the other hand, be well aware that blogging platforms like WordPress are often heavy database users thus it is in fact part of your responsibility to keep the CPU usage low. If you are running a popular WordPress blog, installing a good cache plugin (for example, WP Fastest Cache) is highly recommended.

Note – some hosting companies do state their server limitation clearly. Take Hostinger for example, according to their ToS, all shared hosting plans are limited 25% one CPU core. Often, companies with transparent policy are also companies that provide outstanding performance. And it is true for this case – you can see some of the performance test results in this Hostinger review.

Hosting Cost

Dedicated and VPS hosting prices vary a lot but for shared hosting, standard monthly cost range from $3.50/mo to $10/mo. Remember, you shouldn’t be spending too much on the hosting at start, especially if you are just starting off.

Future Expansion Option

I knew I said that you should start small and go with a shared hosting account. But if you are very confidence with the growth rate of your blog traffics, you should go with a a shared hosting provider that provides room to grow. By saying the word growth, I meant upgrading your hosting service – from shared hosting to VPS to dedicated server – more processing power, memory capacity, disk storage, as well as better security features.

One Click Installation

Auto-installation software is vital these days, most hosting companies will provide at least one to their customers. Endurance hosting brands, including iPage, Bluehost, HostMonster support Mojo Market Place in their shared hosting plans. Others, such as InMotion Hosting, Interserver, and A2 Hosting support Softaculous.

Bottom line: You just can’t judge a host from outside

Reality: It is impossible to know how good or how bad is a web host from outside. Reading TOS and checking on the hosting features will only help filter a few obvious bad apples.

To get the job done, you’ll need to test the web host yourself from the inside.

After all, this is why we have 30-day money back guarantee trials with hosting companies . Keep track on the service quality using free tools like Uptime Robot or Fresh Ping, for the first 30 days and do not hesitate to ask for a refund if you find anything fishy – that’s how you leverage the trial period ! ;).

5 Questions to ask before moving to enterprise dedicated hosting provider

When it comes to hosting, shared servers seem like the most budget-friendly and practical option. Over the years, however, businesses have come to realize that cheap isn’t always the best choice. An expensive alternate can hold numerous long-term benefits. This is why many businesses are now choosing dedicated hosting over shared.

Dedicated hosting has numerous benefits to offer,but that too depends on how reliable your service provider is. While mainstream enterprise dedicated hosting providers are a bit expensive for SMEs, there are many other who offer a service tailored for small budget enterprises. If you really want to reap all the benefits of a dedicated server, you should be very prudent about your choice of service provider.

Not sure how to start? Here are 5 questions you must ask to make sure you are making the right decision.

1.     Do you have any history of cyber breaches?

Security is by far the biggest concern for any organization. It is one of the primereasons organizations are willing to spend more money on their server and hosting related services. However, there is a very slim chance that you will find a service provider that can give you an honest ‘No’ as an answer. The cybercrime rate is escalating,and breaches are more common that we would like to admit.

However, what matters is how the organization dealt with the breach or how well they are prepared to deal with such a scenario. Ask them about their strategy and how it has improved since the last breach. If they can satisfy your concern with a proper explanation of their preventive measures and polices, move on to the next question. Your provider must be able to offer a comprehensive disaster recovery solution as well.

2.     Where are you located?

Location of your server have an impact on the performance. Shorter physical distance means shorter transit route. This ensures better stability and lower latency.

Image credit – KeyCDN.

However, you should consider the distance between your servers and the target audience. It doesn’t matter where you areheadquartered, you need to consider where the end user is.

For instance, a Philadelphia based company serving clientele in New York must consider having their server in New York. Similarly, if you’re an IT company based in New York but resources in Texas, it is best to go for a server in Dallas.

3.     Will it be a fully managed service?

When opting for dedicated hosting, many believe that it means completely managing services. That isn’t the case. Different providers offer different levels of management. There is an option of completely unmanaged hosting, which means your team will be responsible for all the management related tasks. This includes installation, maintenance, and upgrades.

Other providers can offer partial management service, which covers some of the tasks but not all of them. Then there is a completely managed hosting service that doesn’t require you to hire a management team. However, you should also ask whether the provider offers proactive management or reactive. The former requires you to open a support request. Proactive management means the provider will keep an eye on your needs and promptly act as required.

4.     Can you ensure 100% availability during peak hours?

Don’t hold back when it comes to the real questions. Ask them how they ensure 100 percent availability during peak hours and how they can improve the overall performance of your website.

Automated scaling allows service providers to offer a more flexible hosting that varies according to your needs. This means the capacity will increase during peak hours, but it will reduce when the traffic is low. This keeps your site from crashing due to peak traffic while also prevents overspending during low traffic hours.

While inquiring about hosting server performance, ask if the provider is able to optimize the way your website is delivered. Not many providers offer this service,but if they do, it is definitely worth your money.

5.     Will I be able to add more features in the future?

Scalability and flexibility are crucial for any tech related decision that you make. Keep in mind that your needs will change as you grow and expand. Ask your hosting provider how they will accommodate your growth. If they do allow you to add more features, ask how that will affect the cost. Also, inquire about the hassle involved. It is important to choose a service provider that is able to accommodate your needs without increasing the level of complexity. A provider that can offer a bundled plug and play features is your best bet when it comes to dedicated hosting.

Ask the right questions and do not settle for a provider who isn’t able to provide a satisfactory answer. A trustworthy service provider will always go the extra mile to answer the concerns of their potential customers.

Author Bio – Audrey Throne

Audrey Throne is a mother of a 3-year old and a professional blogger by choice. Throne is passionate about lifestyle, business, automotive, technology and management and blogs frequently on these topics.

Find her on Twitter: @audrey_throne.

6 Blogging Mistakes to Avoid as A New Blogger

If you ask any successful blogger what he/she regrets most, they all admit they made mistakes they could’ve avoided.

Blogging is a great source to earn a living writing about what you love. When you’re getting started, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed – not knowing where to start. But don’t sweat it, today we highlight some of the common mistakes new bloggers make and how to avoid them.

1. You’re not consistent

It’s easy to get over excited and too ambitious when starting out your blog. You have so many ideas and you publish like a maniac. However, after some time, the momentum dies and you start publishing fewer articles.

Likewise, publishing without a pattern will cost you your readers. Unpredictability will frustrate your audience.

Solution: Try to set a schedule so that readers know exactly when to expect a blog post from you. Keep it steady and predictable.

2. Using free hosting platforms

Almost every new blogger starts with a free hosting platform. At first, you’ll feel it’s simple and straightforward. But then, one day you wake to find that your website has been taken down.

To make a good first impression, spend money to secure a domain name and a good web hosting provider. This gives you full control of your blog and allows you to grow with the demand. You should aim to build your brand from the word go.

Solution: Try NameCheap for domain registration; TMD Hosting for web hosting. I like NameCheap because of its competitive pricing (that’s the most important thing you need from a domain registrar). I like TMD Hosting for their very affordable pricing  and transparency in ToS. Also, their hosting performance is excellent based on this review at Web Hosting Secret Revealed (WHSR).

3. Not building an email list

A blog is not all about getting visitors but converting them into subscribers. Building an email list ensures that you have a steady traffic from your subscribers. When you introduce a new product or service, they’ll be your first customers. That’s securing your future.

Solution: Using one of the many email marketing tools, include a CTA in your blog to connect with new subscribers.

4. Not using catchy headlines and images

The sad fact is that about 10% of readers don’t scroll down to read text content. But, using an image shows that readers stay a little longer on your page.

Simple headline hack – Use a list (source)!

Solution: Use a beautiful or funny image at the top of your blog post. Combine this with a catchy headline and you can expect hundreds if not thousands of clicks.

5. Not using whitespace

There’s a reason why a majority of blogs use a white background. It all boils down to readability and usability. White space doesn’t strain your eyes and makes reading easier.

Solution: Always use a whitespace. Keep your paragraphs short with a maximum of 5 sentences. Shorter sentences are better.

6. Plagiarism

Nothing costs you an audience faster than plagiarism. Readers hate copied content and as a new blogger, that’s a mistake you don’t want to make.

Solution. Focus on originality. Establish your voice to build confidence and trust among your readers. If you must include another person’s ideas, remember to cite them.

Conclusion

Blogging can be simple and fun if you have all the facts correct. We make mistakes. However, what’s important is picking ourselves up, dusting off and becoming better. Avoiding these pitfalls will help you be on the safe side in your journey to blogging success.

Now, go out and get it done!

Why You Need a Good WordPress Hosting Service

Now, you have a domain name and a professional-looking website. The only thing preventing your audience from accessing your products or services is web hosting.

A web hosting basically means renting a server space to place your web files.

A website without a host will not be live on the internet. Web hosts manage servers that enable you to reach your target customers. With your domain name and a hosting service, you’re ready to get down to business.

website hosting matters

The importance of web hosting

1- Flexible customization options

The major drawback of using free web hosts is the lack of identity. Your brand should be unique to make your mark online. However, with a free hosting platform, you share your brand with the host. A good example is yourdomain.wordpress.com. Notice the lack of personal brand.

If you upgrade, you will remain with yourdomain.com. This clarity makes it easier for customers to find you and establishes credibility and trust.

The ability to truly customize your website gives you plenty of room to explore the different layouts and designs until you get what suits you.

2- The power of control

Hosting on a free platform such as Wix means that you must abide by their terms and conditions. What’s stopping the site owners from taking down your site? This uncertainty makes it risky to depend on free hosts.

Losing site visitors can deal a heavy blow to your online business and getting them back can be tricky.

Fortunately, if you decide to self-host, you control every bit of your website. Your mind can relax knowing that no one can threaten to shut down your site due to policy issues.

3- The safety and security of your website

Hosting your own site enables you to choose security plugins that you deem fit. You also integrate other security protocols to boost the overall safety of your website.

Unlike free host where you can’t be sure whether you’ll wake up to find a security breach on your site, web hosting service providers offer 24/7 support in case of any glitches.

Another point to consider is the longevity of the free hosting company. If it goes down, so does your business.

4- Ease of migrating

WordPress hosting may not always go the way you anticipated. When this happens, you might want to consider switching to another hosting company. With free hosting, you have to start from scratch to build another website.

However, a web hosting company offers easy-transfer features. This means that you can migrate at any time without fear of losing a well-built website.

5- Lack of experience

To make a website that runs seamlessly, you need a set of skills including coding. You might find yourself in an ugly situation where you must solve complicated tasks.

Luckily, with a web hosting service, you don’t have to be an expert. A WordPress hosting means that the company handles complex issues for you. This includes regular updates and routine site maintenance.

Conclusion

Individual preferences will determine the type of WordPress hosting to use. Focusing on the speed, security, and efficiency of your website should be your priority, not managing your server.

Using a free hosting platform is tempting when starting out. But, with the limitations that come with it, your online venture might not take off as you had planned.

The Evolution of Computers

In 1941 – Zuse Z3, widely recognized as the first programmable computer, is born.

The Zuse Z3 is nothing like a computer today in terms of cost, capability, size and usability. Much of the development of computer technology of the first 50 years was driven by military and governmental agencies. ARPANET was created for the Department of Defense and drove much of the development of the internet. Fortunately, universities were also driving the technology and people in this realm helped develop email and online gaming.

Other revolutionary events that happened for the last 70 years include:

  • 1953 – The first hard disk drive is introduced by IBM for data storage (or 3.75 MB) -here’s how it looks like. *
  • 1985 – Symbolics.com becomes the first domain ever registered.
  • 1990 – HTML is developed, World Wide Web is born.
  • 1996 – First Internet phone is produced by Nokia.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Web Server Software

Selecting a web server software can be a complex process. Most people get confused by the two kinds of web servers available – hardware servers and software servers.

Hardware servers are the large computers responsible for storing your data and are located in data centers. When a visitor clicks a link on your site, the hardware server delivers the response. On the other hand, software servers are the applications that run in the background with the help of operating systems like Windows or Linux.

So, what should you consider when choosing a web server software?

Compatibility

Each web server supports a specific operating system. Microsoft IIS, for instance, only supports Windows-based operating system. Most of the other open source web servers like Apache support multiple OS.

Most website owners prefer Apache for the dozens of options and modules it provides.

Security features

Data security should be a major concern for any company or organization. Sensitive information such as passwords and bank accounts are stored on web servers and any hacking activity can be catastrophic.

It is, therefore, critical to ensure your server is reliable and trustworthy. Your site should have updated security features to prevent loss of data.

Web applications

If you have an ASP.NET based web application, Microsoft IIS is the only web server that supports it. It comes highly recommended considering its security features. If you plan to use Java Server Pages, Apache Tomcat is the most ideal option.

Budget allocations

Depending on your web host’s quality and performance, you may want to consider advanced features. Popular web server software like Apache and Microsoft IIS come with their own OS.

Others might attract additional costs for any technical assistance from the developers. This will have an impact on the overall budget allocation.

Scalability

To run a successful online business, you need a website. The more your business grows, the larger the number of traffic from your customers. Without a web server software that can accommodate the increase in website load, your website could crash.

Managed vs unmanaged web hosting

There’s huge difference between managed and unmanaged hosting services.

You can only go with unmanaged web hosting service if you have a qualified developer in your team. Some technical issues are too complex to be solved by untrained hands. This might be a huge risk to your website.

A managed web hosting is easier to handle since you can get all the support from qualified company staff. However, you need to consider the amount of time the company responds to a ticket. Any second your website losses could have irreparable effects on your business.

Technical know-how of web servers

As a website owner, you should understand how various functions of a web server work. This will save you the cost of hiring an engineer to perform tasks such as installation and configuration.

Some basic knowledge might come in handy when faced with minor technicalities on your web server.

Conclusion

To be sure the web server software you select is the best option, you might want to speak with an expert developer.

Remember, your website needs a stable and highly reliable web server that can withstand heavy user loads.

Instagram Hashtags

70% of Instagram posts go unseen and out of user’s feeds.

The solution to this common Insta problem? Hashtags.

Hashtags help to increase discover-ability.

Instagram posts with at least one hashtag receive up to 12.6% more engagement than without a one according to a study by Simply Measured.

Source: Simply Measured Instgram Study (page 12)

Hashtags make the content of your page discover-able and put you in front of those users you may have never successfully targeted. But at the same time there is no need to use 30 hashtags (the maximum per post), it’s embarrassing and spammy.

Types of hashtags

  • Brand hashtags. It means the unique one you choose for your brand. You can choose it for a specific campaigns, or just for posts telling about your business. It’s very useful for organizing the content of your page, as all the posts with a certain tag are categorised and can be seen on a hashtag page. You can get the most out of it when you collect entries for some contest submissions.
  • Niche hashtags. When you choose among broad and niche hashtag, you have to remember that the latter means a higher chance of quality engagement. The more specific your hashtag is, the more desired followers you’ll earn.
  • Community hashtags. These are general hashtags that don’t necessarily have anything to do with your brand, like #instapics, #instafood. They are widely used, and can make your content more discoverable.

#austria

#winterwonderland

Quick hash-tagging tips

  • Choose hashtags that are relevant to your audience.
  • Try to use only relevant hashtags not to be marked as a spammer.
  • Check out what hashtags your competitors are using.
  • Use hashtags that popular accounts in your industry are using.
  • Use reasonable amount of hashtags.
  • Make sure that a hashtag means the very thing you mean.

Best Web Servers Your Organization Needs

Have you ever wondered what happens when you type in a Uniform Resource Identifier (commonly known as URL) or click on a search term? Most internet users never give it a thought.

If you run a website, it’s important to understand what a web server is, its functions, and benefits.

A web server is a program that uses Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) to deliver content or web pages to users who type your site’s URL or click on pages on your site. Web servers can serve hundreds of visitors clicking the same URL simultaneously.

Basically, anything you do such as downloading files, publishing blogs or opening emails are made possible because of web servers.

Here, we discuss the top 5 best web servers your organization needs.

The role of web server (image source: What is a web server).

1. Lighttpd

Developed and released in 2003 by Jan Kneschke, Lighttpd (pronounced – lighty), is lightweight and ideal for high load servers. It is optimized for faster performance in environments with heavy parallel connections. It’s also known for its low memory footprint, small CPU-load, and advanced features like SCGI and Auth.

2. LiteSpeed

If you’re looking for a combination of security, speed, and convenience, LiteSpeed has got you covered. With built-in anti-DDoS features, this web server lowers CPU and memory usage without affecting overall performance.

Its compatibility makes it the best choice if you want to replace Apache with zero downtime. It is integrated with CloudLinux and mod_security for maximum server protection. With LiteSpeed, you don’t need third-party caching. It simplifies the transition to Apache with one click.

3. Microsoft IIS

IIS is a product from Microsoft. Unlike other web servers, it’s not open source and has a rather complicated user-interface.

It works on all Windows platforms and offers more advanced security features. It uses ASP.NET Core application to serve web page requests to the end user. IIS focuses on flexibility and speed to ensure seamless operations in a fast-paced organization.

The current version IIS 10 has added functionality and features such as HTTP/2 protocol that lowers latency. It’s easily customizable and makes web applications management easy.

4. NGINX

NGINX comes in second place with over 30% of all websites using it. Igor Sysoev’s concept was to design a web server to handle 10,000 concurrent connections. Its popularity is driven by its scalability and high efficiency.

It utilizes minimal resources while managing heavy user loads. NGINX not only serves as a web server but as a mail proxy server and has a simple configuration interface

5. Apache web server

Apache is the most common open source web server today. Developed by the Apache Software Foundation, it supports most of the operating systems. It runs on over 60% of all websites.

Apache uses a simple modular structure that allows you to load extra modules for extended features and modifications. It’s trusted for its reliability and stability.

It can run on multiple platforms with ease and is able to handle a large number of requests. It also supports HTTP/2.

Conclusion

Before you select the best web server for your organization, you have to consider your requirements, cost, the size of traffic, and its capabilities. Customer support should also be a top priority. When you experience an issue, immediate response is of paramount importance.

Managed WordPress Hosting FAQ

1. What is Managed WordPress hosting?

Managed WordPress hosting was intended to be a concierge service where the host would provide hands-off WordPress installation and management for its users.

However, from what I see today, the term has loosened and grown to generally include web hosting which has extensive WordPress-specific features.

Managed WordPress hosting WP Engine catering the needs of WordPress developers.

2. What are the Benefits of Managed WordPress Hosting?

This depends on the host you sign up with and can range from automated WordPress installations all the way to complete WordPress site management and service (including security audits, optimization and so on).

To summarize in a single phrase, I can say that it’s mainly for those who know that they will be using (and sticking to) the WordPress platform.

3. What are the Drawbacks of Managed WordPress Hosting?

Price. Almost without exception, Manged WordPress hosting sells at a premium above standard shared hosting service. The discrepancy might be as little as a few dollars to even ten times as much. Exactly how much the difference is depends on to what extent the WordPress service you sign up for is different.

$92/mo for a 10 WordPress site hosting.

4. Who would Benefit from Using Managed WordPress Hosting?

This is a broad and subjective question, but I would say for sure; small businesses, large volume sites, multi-site users.

All of these will benefit from manged WordPress hosting.

However, I would also say to a lesser extent, even regular WordPress users can reap the advantages, as long as they’re willing to put up with the price.

5. Can I Still Self-Install and Update Plugins and Themes?

Of course! Managed WordPress hosting is to help you in your process, not interfere with it. You can for sure install the stuff you want no matter which managed WordPress host you go with.

6. Must I run WordPress on my Managed WordPress Hosting?

Yes. Managed WordPress hosting’s entire purpose is to support and streamline the operations of WordPress sites specifically. While some features may benefit other types of applications, the overall intent is to focus on WordPress.

7. Is Managed WordPress Hosting Secure?

In general, there have been some concerns about the security of WordPress but that’s simply because it’s an application that is in such widespread use.

A managed WordPress hosting environment will in general help keep your WordPress up to date and hence, more secure. In many cases, the hosting provider will also help you monitor your tools and plugins for greater security as well.

8. Will my site be Faster?

Site speed depends on various factors, but in general, Manged WordPress accounts are optimized for running this application. As such it is likely to be faster than the average comparable WordPress site. To what extent, depends on individual optimizations of web hosts.