Getting Your Website Online: Beware of Cheap Web Hosting Providers

Your dream website is built, it looks magnificent!

Before you pop the champagne, you need to decide which company you are going to trust to host it and send it to the World (Wide Web!) for everyone to see. The choice of your web hosting service provider is not one to be taken lightly.

What does a Web Hosting Provider do?

Hosting of your site on their servers

A web hosting provider is a company that runs the web servers where your files will be hosted.
They make sure it is available and running smoothly every time someone, somewhere in the world, asks to see it on their device by typing your site’s URL.

Domain registration

Some of them even offer an option for purchasing your very own domain name through them. The domain name is the address used to access your website (www.MyBeautifulWebsite.com for example). If you purchase your domain and hosting from the same provider, then they will connect them for you automatically.

If you purchase them separately, no worries,  just a few easy steps are needed to add your already owned domain to your new service provider. For example, you would go to My Domains, and then you would come to an interface like the one below. From here, you can either register a domain and have it automatically connect to your hosting, OR you can add a domain registered through another provider.

manage domains peopleshost

Support

The other important thing you pay your provider for is customer service! If you have ANY trouble connecting your URL and web hosting, you should be able to contact your provider’s customer service team. Most have a database of FAQ or tutorials and some usually have toll-free numbers or online chat support where they can walk you through what you need to do.

Which web service provider should I choose?

There are many web hosting providers out there, and among the most popular are probably BlueHost, GoDaddy or Hostgator. They are great for static or simple sites and are very affordable. Unfortunately, the support can be pretty bad as it is usually limited to a bank of FAQ,  or they offer 24/7 support, but outsource or have long wait times through their support channels. Security is also minimal and some other features are deceptive. In other words, cheap is not always better and you might want to do yourself a favor and choose one that you won’t want to leave in a few months time because of below par service or inadequate offerings.

You get what you pay for

If you aren’t familiar with the web hosting industry, there’s a large conglomerate known as “EIG” that owns over 50+ hosting brands and many of the largest ones out there (BlueHost, Hostgator, iPage, Arvixe, Site5, A Small Orange, etc.). They have very low pricing, may have similar offerings, but lack in customer service, keeping their server environments updated, etc.

In addition, many of the lower priced web hosts oversell their shared servers and use the term “unlimited” (when unlimited just simply doesn’t exist). Some of them place upwards to 1,000-2,000 customers on a single server, which easily causes reliability issues even if a fraction of those customers are abusing or hogging server resources such as CPU and RAM. “Unlimited” referring to disk space and bandwidth.

After a lot of research and trial and errors, I must say PeoplesHost has become my favorite Web Hosting provider because they offer managed WordPress services, regular automatic back-ups and really fast loading times but, more importantly, they go the extra mile with their customer service.

They pride themselves in their customer support. They have been very quick to answer my questions or help with any problems I might encounter with hosting or setting up my WordPress sites and have a 24h online chat, as well as quick email support. I particularly like the personalized response, no machine automated replies. Click on the box below to set up your hosting and get a free domain name for the first year!

If you would prefer to let us deal with the hosting process for your website, The Coding Shop offers this service as part of a worry-free package that includes domain name registration, daily maintenance, troubleshooting and security at a minimal cost per month.

Have fun claiming your spot on the Internet!

PeoplesHost Web Hosting

WordPress.com or WordPress.org? How to choose the right one for your blog

When I launched my blog in 2016, I went about it like this: I Googled “WordPress blog,” clicked a button that said, “get a free blog,” and I started rolling.

A year later, I realized I should have done more research. I wanted to change my site layout and add functions, and I realized (oh nooos!) I needed a “WordPress.org blog” for that.

Getting a “WordPress.org blog,” it turns out, really means downloading the free, open-source WordPress web software and using a third-party hosting service (like GoDaddy or PeopleHost) to get your site online.

WordPress.com, on the other hand, takes care of all that legwork for you. You don’t worry about hosting or serving up files, and your blog comes with a free domain.

But when you hand over responsibility, you also lose control: your WordPress.com site will show ads unless you pay a yearly fee, and many upgrades, like hosting videos or buying a custom domain name for example, can get costly.

To add to the new-blogger confusion, when you’re working on your blog, the Dashboard (the place where you edit your blog from the back end) looks almost exactly the same no matter which avenue you take. Because WordPress.com runs on the same WordPress software as a self-hosted site, the user experience after setting up your blog isn’t that different.

Deciding between starting a free WordPress.com blog and self-hosted WordPress site is as simple as deciding how much freedom you want over your site’s look and feel, how much behind-the-scenes work you’re willing to do, and whether you want to monetize your blog.

WordPress.com Vs WordPress.org Comparison

 

1. How much control do you want over your site’s look and feel?

If you’re okay with an “out of the box” theme, WordPress.com might work for you. For an extra charge, you can customize some features, like fonts and background colors. Overall, though, you are limited when it comes to changing the design of your site.

If you’re looking at those themes and thinking, “but I want my Instagram feed up higher and I’d like social media buttons above the top navigation,” you’ll want to go with a self-hosted WordPress blog so you can access your site’s layout and HTML.

2. What extra functionality do you want on your site?

WordPress.com is always updating and adding new features, but you will have more control on a self-hosted site. Through WordPress.org, you’ll have access to libraries of plugins [https://wordpress.org/plugins/] that can add features like interactive calendars, social media sharing options, and RSS feeds–not to mention, Google Analytics–to your site. And by accessing your site’s code, your opportunities to add to and embellish features are unlimited.

3. Do you want to monetize your site?

“Oh wow, I have so many page views! Maybe I can make a little cash with ads!” Nope. Not if you’re on a WordPress.com site. They’re giving you a lot for free; it’s no surprise that you can only sell ads in WordPress-approved ways. On a self-hosted site, however, the world is your oyster…or, you know, your sales floor.

In addition, while, WordPress.com recently introduced new ways to sell on your site, eCommerce is more established and flexible with a self-hosted site.

4. How much can you spend?

Self-hosting is an upfront cost that ranges from a few dollars a month to closer to hundreds per year. But using a free WordPress.com blog and adding a lot of additional features can get pricey. Infographic cost comparison:http://howtomakemyblog.com/wordpress-com-org/

When it comes down to it, WordPress.com is a valuable tool for users looking for a free option, who don’t need to customize or make money off of their site. But getting a self-hosted site through WordPress.org provides the most flexibility, freedom, and opportunity for growth. And let’s face it, you’re going to want to use this site to become a moneybags, and WordPress.org allows more freedom for turning your hard work into cold hard cash.

10 WordPress Plugins You Can’t Live Without

When starting a web site or a blog of any kind on WordPress there are certain plugins that can make your life 1000x easier. Not only will they save you time, but plugins can bring your site to the next level by making it more usable, searchable, and innovative.

So what is this magical “plugin” we speak of? A plugin is simply a program that you can install to add a specific feature to your website. For WordPress, these plugins are written in PHP and integrate seamlessly with your site.

Installing A Plugin

Installing a plugin can be a little bit tricky if you haven’t done it before. First, log in to your WordPress admin page (https://[yourdomain.com]/wp-admin). From the admin dashboard, look to the left sidebar menu. There is an option on that menu to choose called “Plugins.” Click it! You’ll open the plugins settings tab. From here, there are two main ways to install:

1.  Search for a plugin in the plugins library

When you open the plugins setting tab, there is a search box on the main page. Type in the name of the specific plugin you are looking for, or a keyword (i.e. “SEO”) to find a list of options. You can also search by popular, new, favorites, or pre-determined keywords. Once you search, a list of matching results will appear. Research them by clicking “details” or install right away by clicking “install now.”

Search for Plugins

2. Upload your plugin

You can download a plugin as a .zip file to your computer, and then upload it to your site. Click the “upload” tab in the top navigation on the plugins settings tab, choose the file, and voila! Your plugin will upload and install for you. An important note is that you can only upload files in .zip format, so if you get an error message, check that!

Upload plugins

Every plugin is slightly different with the setup required once it is installed – some require none at all, and others require a bit of work. Click into your plugin once you install it to make sure you follow the correct steps to get it up and running!

Must Have Plugins

As you will see, there are thousands of plugins to choose from. What makes a plugin a must-have? Here’s the criteria we like to use at Skillcrush:

  • Will the plugin make your site faster?
  • Will the plugin reduce spam?
  • Will the plugin help you better accomplish your site goals?

We scoured to find you a few wonderfully helpful plugins that will accomplish just that! Try them out to make running your website much easier:

Akismet

This is a great plugin for getting rid of annoying comment spam. If you are frequently disapproving or deleting spam comments, you need this. [Download here]

Google XML Sitemaps

This plugin makes it much easier for search engines to go through your content. And, when a search engine can better index your content, it is more likely to show up in searches! Plus, this plugin notifies search engines whenever you publish a new post. [Download here]

Flaunt Your Clients

This is a fun plugin for web designers to use to make it easy for your clients to show how pleased they are with your work!  It creates a new custom post type specifically for client stories and testimonials. These “client pages” can be sorted by category, linked to blog posts, and more. [Download here]

WordPress SEO by Yoast

This plugin is super useful for ANY blog: it is the ultimate optimization plugin. It enables you to determine how your post will look on Facebook and Google. It also allows you to optimize your page or post for Google search. There is a reason there have been over 7 million downloads to date! [Download here]

Slick Social Share

This plugin will get your stuff shared on social media seamlessly. Plus, it looks gorgeous on your site! [Download here]

W3 Total Cache

This plugin will help your site load faster (which, especially if you have a lot of high-resolution photos or images, is quite important). It has page cache, minification, database caching, CDN integration and browser caching to speed up loading times for site visitors. [Download here]

SEO Smart Links

This plugin fully automate the internal linking process of your WordPress blog. One of the best ways to keep people on your site and improve SEO is to link between your own site content and posts, and this makes it straightforward and no-brainer. It also can convert specific keywords into internal and affiliate links. [Download here]

Video Capture

This plugin integrates video into your site in a big way. You simply put a shortcode into any page or post, and users will be able to record short videos, up to three minutes in length. It’s a fun feature to add, if you have a creative way to use it! [Download here]

Meet My Team

This is great for showing off who is on your team. This plugin will provide you with a custom post type designed for displaying team members and their info. A shortcode displays the team members in a responsive grid on any page or post you like.  Until you learn how to code it yourself, it’s a great shortcut to make your site responsive! [Download here]

Contact Form 7

If you ever filled out a contact form on a blog, it very well may be through Contact Form. This plugin provides easy contact forms for blogs (i.e. contact us for help / advertising, etc.). It also works in conjunction with Askimet (above!) so there won’t be any spam abuse with these forms. [Download here]

Do you have any particularly helpful WordPress plugins? We’re always on the lookout for new favorites! Let us know.