Website Hosting

If you’re using a DIY provider – you most likely won’t have to deal with a domain registrar or hosting – as those services will be included in your monthly contract.  But, to teach you the proper terminology and use of each part of the online experience – I’ll explain a little about what hosting is, and how it’s used in the whole process.



The definition of ‘hosting’ can be complicated, as there are many different options, features, and perks to separate hosting accounts.  Describing each of those factors would take much more time and resources than this book can carry – so I’ll simply explain it in an analogy, and hope that you can catch on…

Hosting is like the piece of ‘land’ your website is built upon.


Relationship to Your Domain/Website

The hosting account is tied to your website, and by relation – tied to your domain.  To best describe the relationship between these three pieces, you can think of your website as your ‘house’, your hosting as the ‘land’ the house is on – and the domain as the ‘address’ for your property.  When people go to your house, they are using the address as a placeholder – like how your domain name is used as the address to your hosting account.  When your visitors come to your property (hosting) – they are presented with everything that is on your land, but are mainly interested in the home itself.  Your hosting account, and the website built for entertaining your visitors – is created to automatically display your website first, along with any other features you want to provide for your visitors.

Along with your ‘home’ (website), you can provide customer ‘portals’ (bill pay, plan submissions, secure logins, etc.) that are like other buildings on your property.  This analogy still holds up – because if you told your website visitor where your lawnmower is – they wouldn’t immediately go to the front door, but would head in the direction of the garage or shed.



Your hosting account can be divided up into separate sections called ‘subdomains’ – to redirect visitors to specific ‘buildings’ on your property.  Separate websites or software can be installed on your hosting account to display specific information for those visitors.

An example of a subdomain would be – which shows Google Maps – instead of the main Google domain.  They know you want to search a map, and the hosting account is smart enough to bring you to that specific page – instead of the main homepage (



Other features of a hosting account can be a bandwidth limit, which caps the amount of data that can be stored and recalled for all your websites, portals, etc. for a hosting account.  In the past, this limit denied website creators from building big, expansive websites – in favor of two or three pages online.  In recent years, this limit has stretched up to ‘unlimited’ – which means that the average website doesn’t reach what would cause the server (which holds your hosting account) from being overloaded.



Storage was also (and can still be) an issue with hosting providers in the past – but has also increased to ‘unlimited’ values in some cases.  There shouldn’t be any reason (as of the time of this writing) to need more than 5 gigabytes of storage for your small business website.  This would allow a LOT of images, text, background pictures, and even videos on your website – all within what is allowed by your hosting provider.



The most important feature that you should keep in mind – is the amount of RAM (random access memory – but easier to remember as ‘short term memory’ for quick decisions) available to your hosting account.  Too little (less than 1GB) – and you could have a website that struggles to load quickly.  If your website features large images, you should look at a hosting account with at least 2 gigabytes of dedicated RAM – which will allow your hosting account to be nimble enough to load quickly, and get your website loaded before your potential customer has a change of heart, and decides to go to check out your competitor’s websites.


Hosting Providers

Hosting providers are available all over the internet, each saying they have better services than the next, but in my experience, there are three very good hosting providers that have stood the test of time, and if you don’t like the pricing available from these sources, you are free to choose the provider you like better!  Just do a search in google for ‘hosting provider.’


Website Hosting Provider Examples

  • GoDaddy
  • BlueHost
  • HostGator

These three providers have reasonable pricing, great customer support – and are willing to help you get started, without trying to get you to purchase more than you need to get your business rolling.


Hosting Setup

Each hosting company has a different method of setting up their service, so I won’t go into depth in this book – but I will cover some of the basics (that should translate, albeit very roughly) of all web hosting providers’ setup process.

When you purchase a hosting account – you will be given the option to set it up with popular software, which can be a choice that is both difficult and very easy.  The sheer number of software providers who aim to cure the world of ‘difficult web development’ is overwhelming to say the least.  There is rarely a month that goes by without another player in the game, but overall – most non-techy people have migrated over to one of the options.

Domain Expiration

Since domains are basically ‘leased’ on an annual basis – there is a chance that they could expire, which would remove your ‘rights’ to that domain.  Entire companies of fraudulent people are patiently waiting to snatch up your domain before you have a chance to recoup your losses.

At that point, there is no option for recovery – other than to pay the price domain kidnapper is requesting (technically a digital-hostage situation), or to pick up your pieces and move on to another domain name.  Neither situation is satisfactory by any means, so it’s best to plan – and understand the process so you don’t accidentally let your domain lapse in registration.

How to avoid expiration of your domain name:

  • When you purchase the domain, make sure to set a calendar reminder for 2 weeks before the expiration.
    • During purchase, you should have the option to pick how many years you’d like for the registration to cover – with a default option of either one or two years.
    • Use Google Calendar, Outlook, or another ‘reminder tool’ to give you a heads-up when the domain is about to expire.
  • Change the time you renew to a memorable date.
    • Log into your domain registrar website – and pay in advance on a specific date, and pay multiple years when possible. Many registrars offer this service at a discounted rate.
  • Have someone manage the domain registration process for you.
    • This is probably the easiest route, as you don’t need to remember anything – but the same goes for domains as it does for your website – you have to trust the person doing the account management, as they are the last line of defense between you having a domain name for an extended period of time – or losing it overnight, due a lapse of judgement by your provider.
    • This isn’t supposed to scare you into thinking your current provider doesn’t have your best interests, but everyone makes mistakes.
  • Set up auto-renew.
    • Most registrars will have an ‘auto-renew’ option, which allows them to charge a card that they have on file – preventing your domain from lapsing.

If you don’t have auto-renew in place – make sure to choose another option above, to ensure your domain doesn’t lapse.

Domain Registration

Simply put – your domain name is one of the most important pieces of your online presence that you can control.  If you don’t have control, or aren’t sure if you have control or not – please read this section to learn more about your domain, and how it relates to your business ventures online.



Your domain name is like your tags on your car, in that you must pay for the ‘rights’ to use them per year.  You never truly ‘own’ your tags/license plate – as it is the property of the state in which you live.  You can register the tags for multiple years, and the same goes for your domain name.  But don’t go sending a check to the department of licensing for your domain name – as that would be taking this analogy too far!   As a matter of fact, don’t ever send a paper check to a ‘domain registrar’.  If you aren’t on their own website – paying with a secure connection, don’t trust them.  Call the domain registrar directly on the phone if you must – but don’t pay for a domain or domain extension without going to your registrar’s website, or talking to a representative over the phone.


Domain Registrars

In the online world, the procurement of domain names is handled by a ‘registrar’ company, who will help the process of purchasing the rights to any domain name.  They check if a domain is already registered – and if the domain you want is available, will file the proper paperwork to hold the domain in your name for a designated amount of time.

Companies that will handle your domain registration have a variety of services available, many of which we’ll cover in other chapters of this book – but for building your online presence, we really want to focus on simply purchasing the domain name itself.


Domain registration companies:

  • GoDaddy (
  • 1&1 (
  • BlueHost (
  • Namecheap (
  • com (
  • Gandi (


Each provider has different prices – for different periods of time.  There are some that will offer deep discounts to first time purchasers, but will raise pricing when you go to resign/continue registration of your domain the next year.  Average price for a ‘.com’ domain name shouldn’t be above $20/year, so if your registrar is charging more – there could be an obvious reason…


Domain Auctions

Since the dawn of the internet, there have been ‘poachers’ who purchase dirt-cheap domain names, knowing that someday – somewhere, there is a person who will want a domain – and will be willing to spend a little more money to gain the ‘rights’ to use it.  To go back to my ‘vehicle tags’ analogy, it’s like acquiring ‘vanity plates’ – in that there are quite a few people who might want “2FAST4U” – so someone buys up the rights quickly, and places the ‘rights’ to that domain back online for a raised price.  When the domain owner registers the domain initially, they send a message back to the registrar stating that they would like to auction the domain – and for the time being, will put a ‘this domain is being auctioned’ webpage in place.  Anyone who is interested in purchasing the rights to the domain must contact the registrar to organize the transaction.  If you find a domain that has an outrageous price tag – this is most likely the reason, but don’t be discouraged…  just search for something similar that you can use for your business.


Domain Name Ideas / Research

When researching a name to purchase – there aren’t going to be very many ‘.com’ names remaining that are short enough to explain to someone on the phone without some sort of misspelling or intentional (some people call it clever) misspelling.  I don’t agree with intentional misspelling, as it can confuse your potential customer – and if they accidentally spell the name ‘correctly’, they are going to be visiting another website, possibly owned by a direct competitor.  The value of a ‘.com’ is gained in search engine results (instant boost over a ‘.net’ or ‘.biz’ address), in simplicity for your customers – but there is another value that isn’t seen often – in that you don’t need to use your full address all the time!