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.

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.

On-Page SEO Factors

Once upon a time, search engine optimization (SEO) seemed pretty straightforward. The formula stayed the same article after article. Choose a keyword people were looking for that was even slightly related to your site or article. Use that keyword over and over a set amount of times, use it in a heading or two, add a bit of code, some meta data and wave a magic wand. Your site would rank great in Google.

Then, a new animal arrived on the scene in 2011.

Google Panda

Pandas are supposed to be cute and cuddly right? Not always.

It would behoove website owners to remember that pandas have claws and so did Google Panda. Many content farms saw their traffic drop by the millions during the early implementation of Panda and some innocent bystanders got caught in the resulting tsunami.

While the positives and negatives of the changes can be argued (less poor content, better content for site visitors), it won’t change the fact that SEO as we knew it is gone forever.

As website owners, we can adapt or be scratched to death, and Panda wasn’t the only change Google has made or will make. In fact, Google reserves the right to continuously change their algorithm and you can be almost certain they will do so to keep advertisers happy as advertising is where the revenue comes from.

Optimizing for better site rankings

Your website’s search rankings depend on both on-page and off-page factors. In this article, we will look into some on-page factors you should take care of.

1- The quality of your content

If you run a site for more than 5 years, it’s perhaps time to do a content audit.

Have a look on your website and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who wrote the content?
  • Is the content helpful to your targeted audience?
  • Is the content up to date?
  • Is the content gramartical correct?
  • Is the content meeting your targeted keyword searchers’ intention?
  • Is your content properly structured?

Content is one of the most important on-page SEO factors. Your content needs to be written by someone who is familiar with your users’ needs and who knows a lot about your company and your field of business. Also, it needs to be well structured into easy-to-read paragraphs with titles, subtitles, and bulleted lists, and it needs make use of bold letters where appropriate.

2- The amount and optimization of visual material

Customers should trust your knowledge about business, so websites are the best place for you to show what you can do and what is their benefit for trusting and allowing you to run your business with them. Use your website to showcase everything you have. Images, video, animations, it all comes in handy.

What you need to do is pay attention to whether your images are optimized with an alt tag, and make sure you are not using flash excessively. Both of these help search engines find their way round your website and pick up all the signals it is sending, which makes search engines happy and ready to improve your rankings.

3- The structure of the URLs and website structure

What is of paramount importance here is that you have a clear website structure and that all of your URLs are static, taking the form examplex.com/my-post/ or examplex.com/my-category/my-post.

As for the website structure, you need to have a clear way of connecting different part of the website into a whole. For example, if you own a blog, the best way to organize it would be into different thematically based categories, which would be interrelated every time you link an old related post to a new one across categories.

Here Comes Black Friday / Cyber Monday 2017

Over the next few weeks you will see a ton of promotion advertisement.

These ads will come in various form via various channels.

Banners. Popups. Videos. Text.

And you’ll see them in your email inbox, Facebook Newsfeed,Twitter, and some of the websites you visit.

Stores and online retailers will be running big sales the whole week of Thanksgiving, including the holiday itself. Online deals can be found throughout the month – starting with China 11.11 sales, and then Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Consumerism has changed the holiday and festive season.

And it has became a tradition for some people to celebrate their festive by spending money online and at stores. People thought they can buy their ways to happiness (you can’t).

Some crazy Black Friday / Cyber Monday numbers

ADI expects the Thanksgiving weekend to account for $19.7 billion in online sales this year (2017). That represents $1 of every $6 (18%) expected to be spent online for the entire holiday season (source).

In 2016, Alibaba smashed online retail record by recording $17.8 billion worth of gross merchandise volume.

Total online sales from November 1st – December 31st, 2016 hit $91 billion – a 11% increase compare to 2015 according Adobe Digital Insights (ADI).

In hosting industry, we’ve seen companies slashing their prices up to 80% last year. I wouldn’t surprise to see a bigger price cut in Black Friday / Cyber Monday 2017.

Now…

Yes, these deals can be real money savers – but don’t fall for them. At least, not every one of them. A dollar spent is a dollar lesser in your wallet.

There’s no point to buy things at 60 / 70% cheaper that are useless to you.

Have a shopping list ready – jot down only items that are needed and their current selling price – buy them only if you need them.

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Shopping everyone!

 

Netmoly Pricing Policy (and How Others Charge on Renewals)

This site is currently hosted at Netmoly.

Netmoly’s signup price (for shared hosting) is slightly more expensive than most competitors’ plans. Similar hosting services include A2 Hosting, Interserver, and Fast Comet.

However, unlike most of their competitors – Netmoly does not jack up their price when it come time to renew (Fast Comet and Interserver has the same pricing policy). The signup price of $6.26/mo (at this time of writing) will be the price for life. In contrast, you’d need to pay 60 – 150% higher with other hosting services I mentioned earlier.

The only way to get around this practice, as mentioned in this guide, is to hop around different budget hosting plans. If you think the savings (of $50 – $100/3 years) is worth the time, then it’s totally fine to stick with a host with cheap signup price and expensive renewal rate.