Author Name: Erik Johnson
Post Category: Tips for Graphic Designers
Once you choose a web hosting provider, chances are your sites will remain there for a long time. Moving from one hosting account to another is not only time consuming but often causes many technical problems. Before you settle for a provider and hosting plan, take some minutes and school yourself on the topic web hosting.
Written by Brian Franklin, hosting editor at Web Hosting Search, this is a guide for the graphic designer who is looking to host their portfolio site.
Step 1: Choose a hosting provider
Essentially, you have two decisions to make regarding you host acquisition. First off is which provider to go with. There are hundreds out there, all seemingly the same, so confusion and hesitance is expected. However there are a couple of principles to bear in mind.
Go Local and Go Big
Though you might want to support a local small hosting provider or your friends’ closet setup, in regards to the stability and future performance of your site, as rule of thumb – this is not a good idea.
Going local is not the issue here, as it actually avoids annoying time differences and overall benefits your relationship with the provider. It is the company size of the host that may inflict on your site performance. Fewer resources increase the risk of technical errors and server downtime, simple as that. It is important to check into the company you are considering to ensure that they have quality customer service as well as reliable uptime.
Step 2: Choose a hosting plan
The second decision should be made based on the purpose of your site. For arguments sake, let’s assume you as a graphic designer want to build a portfolio. A small, informational website that will require few sophisticated hosting features. Based on this description, there are several hosting plans that may match your ambitions.
Dedicated hosting is the opposite of shared, as it includes a complete server and capacity to run several large websites.As you are likely only looking to a get a single site hosted, shared hosting is an excellent option. This type of hosting is also the cheapest, as the hosting provider will host many client sites on the same server, allowing them to split the costs of server maintenance etc.
A shared hosting plan will often offer more storage space and bandwidth than you would ever need.
What you need to look out for however, is exceeding your CPU-usage allowance, which will be defined in your contract. Sudden spikes in traffic, from Digg or Slashdot for example, may end up crashing your site; something not taken lightly by most hosting providers.
If unlucky, your host may shut down your account temporarily or even permanently. Make sure you know your CPU and bandwidth limits, and read up on how to keep your site from getting unnecessarily heavy.
Most shared hosting plans also come with control panels for easy management of email account, databases and useful software. Unlike other more advanced setups, shared hosting is friendly to the beginning webmaster, which normally implies great accommodation from the provider.
CMS Specific Hosting Plans
Most hosting providers offering shared hosting have understood the specific and niche enquiries of their customers,and thus now offer plans specifically tailored to certain needs.
If you plan to use an open source CMS to build your site, you will find that many providers offer e.g. WordPress hosting or Joomla hosting. These CMS specific plans have simply been tailored to support the script languages and database types necessary for the CMS setup. Additionally these plans often come with pre-installable scripts to make the CMS installation and management easier.
Other hosting options – VPS, Cloud, Green
While shared hosting is my recommendation to anyone getting a fairly small and light website, there are still many other options out there. There is virtual private server (VPS) hosting, which can be considered the alternative between shared and dedicated hosting. Cloud hosting is another plan that has risen in popularity lately as it is more elastic, allowing the user to increase server parameters upon the need to and host sites of multiple locations.
Lastly you have Green hosting which is environmentally friendly web hosting. This type of hosting is applied on shared, dedicated as well as VPS and cloud hosting. In order to be green,the provider uses energy efficient servers or simply purchase carbon offsets. Some green hosts are more environmentally friendly than others.
Before making any selections it is important to look at all available options. While there are many cheap providers out there, as with most things, you get what you pay for. Prior to making any commitments , read reviews and make sure that the plan you are choosing is adequate for what your needs.