Choosing a reliable web host is frequently one of the first steps and
hurdles that entrepreneurs need to overcome when they set out to make
money online. Before you ever get your website up and start creating
high-quality content, you'll need to find a hosting company that is
reliable and which suits your needs.
The most important thing is to find a service that suits your needs. If
your make money online plan is to create a TON of tiny websites, then
having a hosting service that doesn't limit your usage or web addresses
might be a good idea. However, if you've read my diatribes on creating
high quality content, you'll know this might not be the best approach
for your time.
I'm also going to assume that you're not choosing a reliable
web host for the next Facebook. If you're serious about starting a new
and unique massive service like that one, you're probably savvy enough
to know how to create your own local hosting with your own servers that
you can scale quickly as your needs grow. If you're doing something
that big, then even a dedicated virtual server isn't going to be
cost-effective for you. If you don't know how to set up your own
server, I'll be blunt with you - your idea isn't the next Facebook.
Somewhere between mini site farming and creating the next internet
revolution is where the real money is to be mad online. By creating a
website, blog, store or service that suits a specific niche need.
I'm going to assume you're being reasonable and doing this. If you are,
choosing a reliable web host isn't horribly hard, it just requires
being prudent and asking some smart questions before you jump in feet
What to ask (yourself and
the web host)
How much space do you need?
When you're looking at choosing a reliable web host for the first time,
you'll be concerned about this. Don't worry about it. Seriously. All
the reliable companies out there will work with you (often calling you)
if one month it looks like you might be approaching your space limit.
I've had lots of websites that were lots of different sizes. I've never
had a problem with the 'space' issue. What you should focus more on is
How much bandwidth do you need?
Yeah, I now I just said that what you need to worry about is bandwidth.
Really, at this point you don't. When you get in the top 1% in Alexa as
far as traffic goes, or if you're self-hosting videos (instead of using
YouTube), you don't even need to worry about this right now. Again,
when you're choosing a reliable web host, if you pick the right one
they'll work with you if it looks like you're approaching your
bandwidth. It's marketed as being like cell phone minutes (with overage
charges) but most of the time you'll know way before you get there if
you're going to hit it.
What you should worry about with this, though, is making sure that if
there's a temporary spike that you won't be charged through next week
for this success. This could happen if something you write unexpectedly
goes viral, gets on the Digg home page, gets re-Tweeted, etc.
What you SHOULD worry about - How's the customer service?
There's only one good way to find out about this - Google it. Read what
satisfied and dissatisfied customers say. Don't just choose someone
because it's recommended on one website (although, if you want my 10
cents, I recommend GoDaddy). Instead, talk with their customer service
a little bit first and see if they respond well and quickly. I always
want to make sure I have a telephone number that quickly gets me
English support when I need it - that way if something breaks I don't
have to wait on an email or normal business hours. Who knows, my
biggest visiting hours might be 10pm-4am.
What's the up-time?
When you're choosing a reliable web host, one of the first things
you'll see advertised and boasted about is up-time. Don't get me wrong,
this is important, but in my experience of actually working with
different web hosts, up-time is pretty much standard across the board.
What's more important is actually how they deal with down-time. Do they
have redundancy servers? Is your stuff backed up automatically and
switched over if one of their servers crashes?
It's worth Googling any web host you're thinking of using before you
give them your credit card information, just to see what others are
saying about them. A word to the wise though - whenever you're looking
at online reputations, make sure to check the publication date of any
reviews. Companies can always improve or get worse over time so make
sure to weight recent reviews more heavily than older ones.
Ready to Choose?
Once you're done choosing a reliable web host, you need to choose a
hosting plan that will work for you and your work style. Many people
(and companies) prefer to do yearly hosting plans because this will
ensure that your website will remain up even if it takes you a while to
start making money from it.
Personally, I always like to choose month-to-month hosting plans. This
is because I frequently will begin a project and loose interest before
getting very far with it. Month to month hosting plans allow me to 'try
out' sites. When I land on one that I like for the long haul, then I
commit to a yearly hosting scenario.
Make sure that if you're planning on hosting multiple domains on one
plan that you're not going to be hosting them as 'aliases' but that
they'll be unique sites. This will be much better for SEO in the long