Domain names, Hosting and WordPress…Oh My! (Part III)
(This is the third in a series of posts covering the basics you need to know in order to create your business website with WordPress)
You now know the difference between the two versions of WordPress, and what a domain name is and how to choose and purchase one. It’s time for step three. Web Hosting.
If your domain name is the address for your business on the Internet, web hosting is the building your office will reside in. Make sense?
Your web host collects ‘rent’ and in return gives you space on their server where you can create your website, sort of like moving desks, file cabinets and ficus trees into that office building. And just like choosing which office or suite of offices suits you best in that highrise downtown, there are choices out there when it comes to web hosting companies and hosting packages they offer. And just as you would in the physical world, you need to choose the one that fits you and your business best.
Not all hosting is created equal. Although most web hosting services have seen the light, there are still a few out there that aren’t compatible with WordPress. So the first thing you want to do is make sure of the following (taken directly from the WordPress Codex) :
- PHP version 4.3 or greater ( version 5.2 to be ready for WordPress 3.2 expected to drop this Spring)
- MySQL version 4.1.2 or greater
- Must allow remote connections
- Linux OS is recommended
- (Optional (required for multi-site)) Apache mod_rewrite module (for clean URIs known as Permalinks)
I know, it’s all techno-babble, but trust me if you ask customer support they should understand it and be able to tell you if they fit the bill. Most likely you won’t even have to talk to customer support because most of the hosting companies out there are now using WordPress compatibility as a selling point. In fact some of them even have WordPress specific hosting packages. Which segue’s into my next point…
Choosing a hosting package
As you’re considering your web hosting company options, you’ll also be looking at the different packages they offer. For the sake of keeping it simple, we’re only going to discuss the most common type of hosting called Shared Hosting, which simply means that it’s like an office building where there are many offices. Yes, there are options like dedicated servers and virtual private servers, but in the attempt at keeping this less confusing for the most part shared hosting is going to work just fine for you and is less expensive than the other two.
Most hosts will offer you several levels of hosting that generally will look something like this.
Each host offers different packages with different options, some of the lower end packages don’t include WordPress hosting, so be sure that it does before hitting that buy button.
You generally pay for a year of hosting up front, although a few hosts offer a monthly fee, although it ends up more expensive.
CPanel vs Hosting Connection
In my previous post I mentioned that GoDaddy was a great place to purchase your domain name, but I hinted that I wouldn’t choose them for hosting.
This is mainly because of my own personal experiences with hosting on GoDaddy. Difficulty with theme compatibilities, slow loading times and the fact that they use their own ‘hosting connection” software for working with your webhosting rather than the cPanel that many other hosts use have led me to find hosting elsewhere. That said, I have clients that use GoDaddy hosting and have been extremely happy with it. It’s like anything…personal preference.
Many people that I’ve worked with weren’t even aware when purchasing their domain name through GoDaddy that they could host it somewhere else. You can. And we’ll discuss how to point your domain name to a host in the next post when we talk about installing WordPress.
The Green thing
One more item that some of us might like to take into consideration is what type of carbon footprint are these web hosts talking about? Some of these web hosts are environmentally friendly and advertise themselves as carbon neutral.
Hosts I can recommend
With all of the information above you’re pretty well armed when doing a web host search for your new website. Below is a short list of hosts that I personally have built WordPress websites on (yes, a couple of the links are affiliate links).