What are the things that you should consider when buying a domain and web hosting for your business?
When you start thinking about setting up a website, and you’ve never done it before, what you would generally do is start looking for advice. As in the case of any topic, you’ll get a lot of free advice. You’ll get to hear about a lot of terminologies and concepts in web hosting.
But in the middle of all these, you’ll hear these two words a lot –
1) Domain (or Domain name)
In simple terms, a domain (or a domain name) is like your street address, while the hosting is like your house in that location. The domain name is what people use to find your website, and the hosting space is where your website (all the code and files that make up your website) resides.
When you buy hosting, these are the two things that you need to have. You buy a domain, you buy hosting space, and you connect them to each other so that people can reach your website. While these two are used together, domain and hosting are actually independent entities. You can buy the domain and hosting space from the same vendor, but if you don’t like your hosting for some reason, you can always choose a different web host, copy your files there and point your domain to the new web host.
Let’s look at some of the common mistakes that you can avoid.
1) Buying hosting and domain from the same provider
To be frank, there is nothing wrong with buying a domain and hosting together from the same provider. Some users prefer keeping everything in the same place. But at some point, you think that your host is not working out well for you and want to move out completely, then you’ll have the additional step of domain-transfer.
Another reason is, if you ever get hacked and the hacker gets access to your web hosting account due to a data breach, then you risk losing your domain name as well (the hacker can transfer your domain name to another account, and getting it back will cost you a lot of time and money). Keeping your domain and hosting separate means that you can also keep your account details (username and password) separate.
In addition, a dedicated domain name provider will be able to offer you more TLD options than what a web host can offer. Most web hosts will provide you with a .com, .net, .org, and certain country specific domain names such as .co.uk, etc. But if you want more options, such as a .club, .live, or even a .org.uk, you would find it easy to go for a dedicated domain name provider than go with a web host. Any domain name that you buy from any domain name provider can be linked to any web host.
2) Buying a lot of stuff when you start
When you buy your domain and hosting, you’ll also be offered a lot of goodies by the vendor, such as free Gmail, SSL certificate at a low monthly fee, storage on a private cloud, etc. Usually, these are offered at a much lower fee for the first year (or a limited period of time) and charged regular fees from then on.
Thing is, when you’re just starting off, you don’t need many of these, but it’s sometimes tempting to opt for a few of them because of the low fees. You may even end up not using them later. Just concentrate on the domain and hosting when you buy. You can buy additional stuff later from your host when you need them.
3) Buying at a longer lock-in period
Monthly payment options are available with almost every web host out there. But many hosts provide reduced pricing when you pay upfront for a longer period such as 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, or even 5 years. The pricing reduces when you choose to pay for a higher period.
Again it’s tempting to take that offer, but it becomes difficult to move if you don’t like the provider for some reason. You can choose to go for a monthly or a half-yearly option if available to try out their services before paying upfront for a year or higher.
4) Not having a plan
Before you look for a host, you need to figure out what type of website you need, and what functionalities you would require.
Depending on your business, your requirements can vary. If you want just a website to showcase your business, you might want to go for a simple HTML website or a WordPress website with a good theme and a few additional plugins. In such cases, you could opt for a good shared hosting plan. But if you want a larger website, you would want to list out what you need and discuss your requirements with a good developer.
Once you have your requirements laid out, you can buy the configuration that you need, such as a VPS or a dedicated server. Keep in mind that a VPS or a dedicated server is costlier depending on the configuration that you pick than a shared host which usually has limited server resources.
5) Not doing a bit of research
Finding a domain and hosting is somewhat similar to finding an office space when you’re new to a city. You check if the location has all the amenities that you need if it is easy for your customers to find if it is in a prime location, the history of the office space, etc. You need to do some amount of research before you choose a domain name and a web host. Here are some things you can do:
When you look for a domain name,
- Choose one which you think will represent your business
- Choose one which your customers can remember
- Choose a short name if possible, one which is not difficult to type (no hyphens or not too many hyphens)
- Get a .com if you can, because that’s what most people would remember
When you look for hosting,
- Make sure that the technologies you need for your website are available with the host
- Check online for reviews from other customers
- Check how long a web host has been in business
- Look at the services that they provide and see if there is anything specific to what you need (for example, you can look for managed hosting for WordPress instead of shared hosting)
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.