In this chapter we are going to cover what you NEED to know before picking the best hosting company for your affiliate marketing business website.
Before we get into the long list of different hosting sites that you can choose from, let’s cover the basics of web hosting. If you are thoroughly familiar with the what web hosting is, then you can Skip to Chapter 4, but we highly recommend that you at least skim through this chapter (you never know… you might still learn something!)
In order for a website to be viewed by users, the relevant HTML and data have to be accessible by the visitors web browser. So when they type in www.yourwebsite.com, the browser will try to find the code for that website and display it to the visitor. In order for this to work, a computer with the data sitting on it needs to be running 24/7 and listening for visitors that want to look at your information, and then sending the information they request. This computer is called a Host.
In the modern era of computing and web browsing, most websites are stored on massive servers provided by Hosting Companies. These companies have lots of super powerful computers that only have one mission in life, and that is to provide website information to visitors as quickly and safely as possible. Large businesses with a big bankroll will actually set up their own servers, or will rent out dedicated servers from Hosting Companies.
For our purposes, we will focus on the four main types of web hosting to consider:
Self Hosting- No offense, but if you are visiting our website to learn how to make money online, then chances are you are not ready to Self-Host. Self-Hosting is the process of configuring a separate computer for the sole purpose of serving as a host for your website(s). It is a very sophisticated process to get right. It is possible to set up a simple host for fun, but any serious website being self-hosted would require extensive security protocols that can be taken advantage of very easily if you are not 100% sure what you are doing. We definitely recommend that all website owners gain a basic understanding of what goes on with hosting, but we strongly encourage you to go with a Hosting Company for your website.
Shared Server Hosting- This is the most common type of webhosting that people use. This type of hosting is usually the cheapest option and typically comes with the ability to host one or more domains on a server with a bunch of other websites. Don’t worry. This is totally safe and has been done this way for many years.
WordPress Shared Server Hosting- This is a newer type of service that is being offered by some hosting companies. Technically, you can run a WordPress site from most Shared Servers, but these newer services use servers that only store and run WordPress sites. This allows the hosting company to fine tune the way the server runs in order to speed up WordPress sites and to provide greater security. If you are planning to run a WordPress site, then this is probably the most ideal service for your website.
Dedicated Server Hosting- This is a premium service that most hosting companies provide. With the additional money you are shelling out, you get the exclusive use of a single server. This means that no other websites will be on your server. Although this might sound ideal, it really is unnecessary unless you are running a large commerce site that requires a lot of backend server programming and finetuning. 99% of websites will run perfectly fine on shared servers.
Like every other industry, the main companies are going to offer similar products at similar prices, but each will typically have a slightly different set of additional features. In most instances the truly make-or-break features are standard across the board, but if you have something in particular you are looking to get from your hosting company, then you will need to pay attention to a few of the additional features. Here are some of the common additional features that will vary between hosting companies, and usually accounts for the price variation.
Email- This means having custom email addresses based on your domain name, like email@example.com. Most companies seem to offer it, but if you look outside of our recommended list, then make sure to read the fine print. Some low price sites will fail to mention anything about an email address, and then have you paying extra for service.
TLS/SSL- Transport Layer Security ( TLS ) – and its predecessor, Secure Sockets Layer ( SSL ), are cryptographic protocols that provide communications security over a computer network . Websites can use TLS to secure all communications between their servers and web browsers. This added security measure requires that your website have a certificate to prove it is safe, which you will need a third party to provide. Simply telling everyone that your site is safe simply won’t cut it. Most hosting companies will offer TLS or SSL support and even certificates but may charge extra for the certification. If you want to learn more about SSL certificates, you can find some great articles like SSL for Newbies at Host Gator.
Subdomain- Subdomains are separate websites in terms of different content, but do not have their own domain name. Instead of using the www portion of the domain name, a subdomain would use something like forums.yourdomain.com or help.yourdomain.com. Most hosting companies will allow subdomains with the second level or above packages.
Addon Domain- Addon domains are separate websites as well, but they have their own domain name (which you have to pay for separately of course) that visitors can use to find the website. Useful if you have multiple niches that you want to go after and are essentially running two websites, but just hosting them under one service.
Parked Domains- Parked domains are NOT separate websites in terms of different content, but does have its own unique domain name. Parked domains are used when you want multiple domain names to go to the same website. For example if you have www.yourdomain.com and you have www.yourdomain.net and you want the .net domain to automatically direct traffic to the .com address, then you can use a parked domain.
Linux vs Windows- Regardless of what operating system you use on your personal computer, some hosting companies will give you the option to choose between a Linux Server or a Windows Server. For the sake of simplicity, just trust us that you should go with Linux for now, as that will typically include C-Panel, which is the most common domain managing software. Almost every question you have and need to look up online will include answers based on the Linux/Apache/C-Panel/MySQL/PHP setup… so unless you are already intimately familiar with ASP and .NET that Windows servers use, or unless you just really want to frustrate yourself to the point that you will smash your computer into tiny little pieces...then go with the Linux option. Trust us, you will enough other things to worry about to become a successful affiliate marketer, so don't let your hosting software be one of those.
Now that we understand some of the basic terminology and additional features of hosting services, let’s continue onto the next chapter, Affiliate Marketing with a Website- Chapter 4- Choosing a Hosting Company.
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