So we’ve read everything about how easy it is to make money on the internet even without knowing anything about programming or marketing, and so we bought a ton of products that will help us manage that in no time and effort! Soon we all learned that this isn’t true, so we started learning coding and internet marketing principles!
After quite some time we all understood that even if we make money from our sites, there’s the un-sexy truth about making money online, and started wondering how we can save more so we can increase our earnings.
It’s logical that when someone starts “the internet marketing journey“, he/she registers for a Shared Hosting account. Can’t blame that, after all we all started with a shared web host. Renting a dedicated server the second you create your first site online is just wrong!
Personally I’ve had my sites hosted on more than 10 different shared hosts before I accepted the fact that I needed a dedicated server, and so, those are what I think the ten most important things you should pay attention to, when you sign up for a web host.
I) Unlimited plans
There’s no such thing as unlimited, on hosting, on our lives, or anything! Except my anger every time i see the UNLIMITED sign on 90% of the shared hosts! That’s unlimited! 😛
What’s the unlimited trend you might ask; it’s just a way for companies to market their products aggressively. People always wanted more bandwidth and more disk space so the companies figured out that saying Unlimited would help them sell more. And it did!
The thing with unlimited web hosting is that the hosts “oversell”. Overselling is when a host says that the offer includes unlimited disk and bandwidth but it treats you like normal user until it sees a peak in either of those two numbers. Normally what big hosting companies do, is to have 800-1000 websites per server. The websites that have the most needs in bandwidth or space are moved in a new server so that the normal ones will keep working as intended and the “bigger ones” will be together. If then, some of those sites “eat” a lot of resources they either ask the customers to:
- Move to a more expensive plan
- See why their sites use so much CPU (for sites that are not well coded, more on that later)
- Move to a different web host!
The last point is the scariest one and it should. Changing hosts is not good for the search engines and it’s not good for our sleep!
You might think that having an angry EX customer might trouble big hosting companies. But the answer is no! They have so many affiliates promoting them that they don’t really care if some of them just rant about their bad service on the internet. They have 1000’s of people saying great words for them.
Rule of thumb: Try to stay far away from hosts that promise Unlimited plans.
II) Pay Upfront / Money-Back Guarantee
Most of the Shared Hosts have great prices and there’s a good reason for that. They require their customers to pay upfront. Sometimes 6 months, sometimes a year or more. So the next thing we have to pay attention to is the money-back guarantee.
Before you even start thinking of signing up with a web host, you should always check out if they have a money-back guarantee and how many days this is. I tend to love 30 Days + Because when I start moving my sites I generally don’t have problems. Problems start to occur when everything’s moved. That’s why we need a money back guarantee to be able to check if the service is any good for us.
When you get down to three or four webhosts that you think they can host your sites without any problems, search the net for reviews. Attention, you don’t want to just find people mentioning them, you have to find honest reviews and not reviews that come from affiliates. So when you see someone saying good words about a webhosting company, check if their link is an affiliate link.
IV) Your site Itself
If your site is running using a popular CMS like WordPress then you’re almost stress free. Most webhosts have problems with custom or not well written scripts that they cannot understand or control. With WordPress for example, they would advice someone to add a Caching plugin and enable it so that the CPU of their servers will not suffer. The biggest problem after all is the CPU on most hosts. If you are running a custom made script and the programmer hasn’t implemented a good caching mechanism while you are waiting a very good amount of visitors to come you might have to reconsider a dedicated host.
V) Availability/ Uptime
What can always keep me up at night is the fear of my sites being down! I am not insane (those days are long gone!) but it’s a very serious problem for many reasons:
- Someone might visit one of my websites for the first time and think that it no longer exists.
- I am talking about uptimes and and how to improve someone’s brand and my site is down? No way!
- Search engines might come to the site in order to crawl it and after seeing it down, penalizing it. This is a rare case but it will happen for sure if the site is still down after a day. After recovery, sooner or later the site’s rank will come back to normal but still… You can never be sure!
The guys at webhostingstuff have a very good service that when a hosting company registers for them, they ping the company’s server and see if it’s up. When someone goes at their site, and types the name of the company at “Find companies” text field, it will show them the company’s ratings and it’s uptime. For example that’s the amazing uptime of my last host and I don’t think someone else can beat that! Take into consideration that big hosting companies have their main site on many servers so their uptime is “inflated”.
VI) Bad Neighborhood
you might have done everything correct when it comes to optimization and promotion but still you can see that your ranks are a bit low. Being in a bad neighborhood might be the case. On shared hosts, an IP can have hundreds of sites and if one of them is flagged as “innapropriate” or if it’s hacked, it might cause troubles for your site too! Using this tool and typing your domain name after you purchase your hosting plan, will reveal if there’s anything fishy in your IP. That’s why I always ask for a dedicated IP for my account. On most servers it costs two dollars/month and it can save you from a lot of trouble!
VII) Different account for every site
If you’re planning on hosting more than one sites on the same account don’t just add them as add-on domains! What you need to do is to have a reseller account, and every new domain you host, add an account for it. You might say, why go into all that trouble?
It’s simple. When you have all your sites in one account, if one gets hacked, then all sites can be altered and then there’s no stopping in what you have to do in order to fix every site!
Not many shared hosts support this but please do select one that does. It might cost a little bit more but it will save you a lot of time and trouble in the long run!
VIII) Pinging/Response time
In most cases you’re ok with most of the servers but good ping response times indicate a healthy webserver and steady response times also indicate a server without problems. In many of my previous hosts I have seen differences of 200ms between pings and that’s something bad, it shows that the server is heavy loaded.
Support is the one thing I love and hate at the same time. I can’t stress enough how important support is. Most of the times I needed a new host, I always signed up and then hit them with a technical question to see how knowledgeable they were and how fast they would respond. If the answer was good and fast, then I’m sold.
X) PHP Memory Limit
One more important factor, defining if your website will work with a shared host, is the PHP Memory Limit that has been configured. You might find hosts using 32MB as maximum and nowadays, that’s not even close to enough. I would require a host to at least allow 64 or more megabytes.
XI) (Bonus) Cpanel
I added this as the last one but couldn’t just leave it out of the post. It’s really important. There’s no way you will be sure where you sites will be hosted next year so you have to be able to move them fast. Since CPanel is very popular on shared hosts (I don’t love CPanel, it just makes my life easier) you will be able to transfer all your sites very easy from one server to another. Once I had a client with more than 60 sites hosted on another server without CPanel and to change servers for him it took me something less than two weeks! So be sure they support CPanel especially if you are not that knowledgeable about hosting.
I just made web hosting seem as the most difficult thing in the whole world… Didn’t want that but hosting is one of the most important and overlooked things in a marketer’s journey. Think of it as your first step! When you have many profitable websites, you will go to a dedicated server and all your problems will be solved! Erm… Not. Dedicated hosting is a hell of a nightmare and harder than hosting your sites on a shared host but you know that it’s your fault when a site is down. More on another post.
Ps. I know for sure that this post needs recommendations for shared hosts. The only reason I don’t have any companies, is that if I added the best I would have to add the worst too and oh boy that post would have been NSFW! Furthermore, hosts that have worked for me very well in the past, didn’t work well for friends, so I can’t suggest something I cannot guarantee. If you still need a name, check out Interserved. This was my last host before I took the big step to go dedicated and the owner is amazing. His uptime is great and if you contact him, tell him that Angel sent you and he’ll take “Special Care” of you. Nothing kinky though 😛
My hope is that this post will help at least some of you. If you have ANY questions, don’t hesitate to ask me in the comment section below!