Choosing a Hosting Company

Once you have your domain name picked out you will need to find a hosting company. Like the domain name this is a cost you must deal with, it is absolutely essential to your site's success with both traffic and revenue that you have a paid hosting account, free hosts usually do not offer the features you need, they will not allow you to run a high traffic site (which you will have by the end of this guide), and they often run their own ads which will cut into your professionalism and profitability.

The good news is that nowadays you can find a good hosting company for around $10 a month. There are hundreds, maybe even thousands of hosting companies though, so how do you choose the right one? It is important for you to have a reliable hosting company, they're your lifeblood, if your site goes down you won't be getting any traffic. If you run a high traffic site a downtime of a few hours can mean a few thousand visitors, a downtime of a day can mean thirty thousand. To find out which hosts are reliable you can use a website like Or ask for opinions in your favorite webmaster help forums.

In addition to reliability there are technical requirements that should be offered by a good host. The first thing I'd like to talk about is bandwidth. Don't fall for the "Unlimited Bandwidth" trick, there is no such thing. Bandwidth costs money, so if you use too much of it these hosts that offer unlimited bandwidth will either cancel your account or restrict your usage to only x amount at a time. By implementing a restriction they will effectively limit your bandwidth to whatever amount, and much like a clogged pipe, your site will load slowly for all your visitors. Be sure your host offers upgrades to existing accounts, when your site grows you may need it, but for starters 5 GB of bandwidth is enough, unless you offer downloads or have high graphical content. Typically it'll take one hundred to one hundred and fifty thousand impressions to use up 1 GB of bandwidth on the average site.

Your host should also offer server logs, especially error logs, and usage stats. Although you'll most likely want to install your own logging scripts to measure traffic, error logs offered by your host are very important as they will allow you to fix problems with the visitors coming to your site. After all, if a link pointing to your site has the wrong URL then it's not doing you any good. The ability to create custom error pages is also essential. You can put links to your homepage and other information on a custom error page so that people will be more likely to look through your site for the page they want rather than just clicking the back button.

Another aspect worth considering is database support. Even if you don't plan on it now, it would be in your best interest to eventually database your site. A database driven site has distinct advantages in the areas or manageability and flexibility that a static site does not. If you choose a host that does not offer database support then it means they you may eventually have to switch hosts.