Hosting Tips for your website
Hosting, it is like choosing a good neighbourhood for your website to live in with good neighbours and excellent services, including speed and access as well as support and security. Avoid the low cost, cheap option. Check out our Hosting Tips below.
Definition – Hosting is a service which offers storage and computer hardware and software resources to host and maintain your website to ensure it is live online at all times, 24/7/365 when someone goes looking for it. Hosting can be referred to as ‘Web hosting’ or ‘website hosting’.
Hosting is a science in itself, as they have to have highly qualified technicians to manage the computers and internet connection, software and security. Find a supplier who has been in business for a long time and check out their reviews, especially the recent ones. How good is their customer support? And do they speak plain English when you engage with them, rather than technical gobbledegook.
Website Hosting should ideally be done in the country where you are trying to sell as it indicates to search engines that you are based there. Many of the bigger hosting companies have multiple locations for their servers, in a variety of cities across the world. This can help with overall speed of delivery.
Website Hosting usually offers three main options:
Shared Hosting server
Lowest cost hosting functions by using a shared pre-configured server, but speed and performance of your site can be affected by the other sites on the server- maybe thousands of them- and an infected or blacklisted domain can affect your sites performance or email. Google will penalise all sites on the server, if one is iffy and it happens a lot.
Best option is a dedicated host. Expensive at about €500 a month, but it is more dependable and offers support, so a better business option (especially for the non-technical). You can even set up your own server and have it located in a server farm, as in colocation service. If you are very serious about your website this is the best option. Think about how much you pay for annual building maintenance and upkeep.
VPS (Virtual Private Server)
VPS is also sharing, but where a section of a server is dedicated to your site- so this may be more practical for SMEs and costs about €120 a year upwards depending on speed and storage required. A good quad core server will probably cost about €240 pa.
*Cloud VPS is getting traction with Amazon AWS and similar such services, offering a Plesk server management tool, simple interface and great uptime with low monthly rates of about €20 and no contract.
Cost v Benefits in website hosting
The more you pay, the newer the server hardware, the more you can expect to get in service, attention and response rate. And there is less chance of infection, hacking or downtime.
Your hosting hardware has to have software to allow you put up your website files and the software has to be kept up to date to allow you add your Wordpress or Joomla, .Net or Drupal version. Use a dependable IT Manager to watch over your needs. Uptime is just that, where your hosting is working and it should be over 98% of time. Subscribe to uptime robot to get a message if the site goes down.
Note: For Domain and Hosting, it is good to have a knowledgeable IT Manager to look after this stuff, but always in your name. Speed is critical in SEO- a slow site will rank poorly and affect the user experience, thereby reducing conversions as in sales or enquiries. Ask to check monthly, preferably weekly or even daily that your website home page delivers in under 5 seconds. This can get harder to police as your site gets bigger. Watch the image sizing and video links, when loading content.
Proper hosting is like good foundation in a house, so get it right or pay someone to do it in your name. NEVER scrimp on hosting charges, just because so many companies claim to offer “cheap hosting”. Get this wrong and it will cost you a fortune! Ensure that you have the right to contact for support queries, ideally by telephone, as email can be slow and frustrating when you are looking answers. Many people or “web experts” recommend a particular hosting company because they get an affiliate fee or commission- watch out for that trap. If you do not understand the whole hosting subject, pay someone to set it up for you. How can you expect to get a good service when you are paying less than a fiver a month- no decent company can deliver a good service for that sort of money.
What can go wrong? Get a dependable Hosting service!
Hosting is something that is offered at a variety of prices, from dirt cheap at €3.98 a month to €500 a month. What is the difference, you might ask.
With poor hosting you run the risk of your web presence disappearing, possibly for weeks. Would that matter to you and how much would that cost?
What could happen if you do not get proper hosting?
1. Your site goes down – so you have no web presence or email
2. You lose your Google juice, all the history and traction and Google thinks you are inept
3. Customers think you are inept
4. Customers lose interest and stop visiting
5. You lose your site, its contents, everything
6. You have no backup or support
7. You fall out with your Web Partner
8. The ensuing stress is painful
9. You lose sales and potential sales
10. There is no one to sue for losses
11. If you are on shared hosting, one of the many other sites gets hacked and the whole server gets blacklisted
12. You have to start all over again creating a new website and content for it, plus do the SEO again – Nightmare on web street.
13. Your email stops working – consider hosting email separately, maybe use Google Suite. This would also reduce the demands on your hosting server space, so that your website can deliver faster. Email hogs up server resources. For US$5 a month you can get a Gsuite email facility with one terrabyte of space and you can still use your own domain email such as John@mycompany.ie
Tip If any of stuff this scares you- Good! Find a dependable service, pay for it and continually check that it is working, doing regular backups etc. Consider doing them daily and keep backups in different locations with a copy of the files in Dropbox or Google Suite as well.
SSL Cert or Secure Socket Layer Certificate
This is a Digital Certificate made up of some small data files that work to tie in a cryptographic key as a security measure on your website. It is responsible for generating that little black padlock you see when you are shopping online. Such secure websites also have https:// instead of http:// at the start of their domain url, as in https://meanit.ie as opposed to https://meanit.ie. The S is to identify the security protocol that is in place when you have an SSL employed. This is all to create a secure connection between a web browser such as Chrome with the web server where we host websites. That authenticates the identity of the website for the shoppers.
Which sites need an SSL cert or https:// ?
Any site that needs passwords or username or credit cards, should have an SSL cert for security reasons. It will ensure that any data input at that site will only be read by the intended recipient or server. Google rewards websites for having an SSL cert and punishes those that do not when they should have one. Indeed it looks as if Google recommends all sites should have it nowadays. Any site that should have it, but fails to add it are punished by Google. So it is broadly accepted that this is just a normal part of basic website security going forwards. They are not expensive but range from around €100 to €500 plus depending on the value of the warranty or cover you want to get in case of a hack or break in.
Get one from your Hosting company and ask them to install it and configure it for you. We recommend Siteground for decent secure WordPress website hosting, with good quality 24/7support when you need to talk to them. Hopefully these hosting tips have given you a good insight into the world of web hosting.
Here are the steps to setting up your own hosting account at SG Hosting in your own name.
Website Hosting – click HERE and select Managed WordPress Web Hosting.
Step 1. Select Start Up for about €3.95 per month for one website. Click the Get Plan button. Select ‘I already have a Domain’. Enter your own domain such as https://meanit.ie and click Proceed to get the account opened.
Step 2. Fill in your details. using your own (company) credit card, ensuring that the hosting in kept in your name and on your card
Step 3. Then under Purchase Information, change the Data Center to London.
Step 4. We recommend you check the box for SG Site Scanner for $18.50 which helps monitor your website, which helps avoid hacking.
Step 5. Then proceed to cart and checkout.
Can you host your email at your website hosting service?
Good question. When it comes to email, it can be a total minefield.
We appreciate that your email is critical, whereas the website is not quite so important. We therefore keep our email on separate hosting from the website. So that if the website goes down our email still works away.
Usually what happens is that the space dedicated to email accounts gets used up and has to be managed by the user. Some account users may receive a lot of video files or large images. Or a website plugin is not updated and this affects the email delivery. Or someone in a clients office goes in to the website hosting to edit email settings and ends up bringing down the website.
In, most cases then the people at the client office say, there is a website issue and contact us to resolve the issue. Whereas, we are not IT specialists, just mere website developers.
It is critical for your business that your email works well. And that it looks professional. All email should be routed through your domain name, as in firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com etc. Asking people to repy to a firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org email is just unprofessional.
Personally, we outsource all IT including email, especially email, to https://itus-tech.com/ . They set us all up on Microsoft Office 365 at about $5 per user per month for email through Outlook and the use of the whole Microsoft Office suite including Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Plus, if any of us have an email issue, we default to contacting Paul Daly at ITUS. If they have everything set up right, we should not have to call them, which is pretty much the case.
Undeliverability of your email
With this professional option your email is also less likely to end up going to spam or junk, as the receivers spam filters will recognise the quality of account it comes from through Outlook or gmail.
Management of your email
Someone has to be responsible for setting up email addresses and it is easy to do via your dedicated email client, such as Outlook or gmail from Google Workspace. You have full control, so you can delete accounts as well as add them. Also, if you change website hosting service, it will not affect your email. There will be no disruption. If your website crashes, your email is not affected.
You could also use GSuite which is now Google Workspace for about the same rate as Microsoft Outlook. With this option you can use your domain email and have it routed through your gmail account. From your gmail account you can send email from your domain email as in email@example.com
Using a service like Blacknight will be a lower cost option, but it does mean that someone has to be responsible for managing, email addresses, users being added or deleted, capacity allocation, spam filters, aliases and queries. There is a lot to it. Plus the Dashboard is clunky and hard to navigate. However, if you are techie and have the time, to take responsibility to manage this you can do so. Making an employee responsible can have repercussions, if that person leaves. For very small money, Microsoft or Outlook or gmail via Google Workplace is a great ‘professional’ option.
Hopefully, this explains why we do not recommend piggybacking email with website hosting. However, your website hosting account at services like Siteground or Cloudways will have the option for you to set up email there in place of Blacknight or any other domain registrar or options like Outlook and gmail, if you want to keep it all in the one place. We just would not recommend it. With either service you still run the risk of having email on a hosting server with a disreputable website, where the IP address could get identified as Spam. So it is always worth checking the hosting server using a Blacklist checker something like https://mxtoolbox.com/blacklists.aspx
Lastly, your hosting server also has software such as Php version which needs to be updated on a regular basis. Otherwise this can affect your email. Again, for a few euros a month, why not outsource all the hassle to a proper email client service.
How to find out who your hosting provider is?
You can check by entering your website domain name at https://hostingchecker.com/
How to find your hosting provider username or password?
If you are not sure what your username and password are you can go to the login page of your hosting provider and click the forgot password option.