*taps the podium*… Listen up, class! We will now be reviewing The 5 Commandments of Web Hosting.
1. Thou shall set up an auto-billing plan
“Honey, did you turn off the lights?”… “No, did you?”… has this conversation ever happened with you and your spouse or significant other? You know, that moment when you realize the lights went off because you forgot to pay the electric bill. Here’s the deal. Every month you’re going to have to pay for your web hosting, right? You have two options.
First is the option you don’t want to choose, and that’s manually paying every month. You have to log in to your hosting account’s back-end and make your payment. If you forget to pay, all of a sudden your websites go down. Bad news. Your website going down means lost money, and I don’t know about you, but I hate losing money.
The second option is the option you’re going to pick, and that’s selecting to be auto-billed. You’re never going to forget your web hosting payment this way, your websites will never go down, and everyone’s a happy camper. The world is at peace and you can rest easy at night.
2. Thou shall respect ones web host’s rules, terms, and policies
Breaking the rules that have been laid out by your web host is a really cool thing to do. Wrong. It’s stupid, senseless, and can easily get you removed (with no refund) from your hosting company. This means you waste their time and most importantly yours. You have to transfer everything to a new host, your domains, files, and so on. Your best bet is to play by the rules and you’ll never have to worry about getting caught.
In the case that you’re confused about what the rules, terms, and policies are, take a look at the bottom of your hosting company’s website. They’ll have pages labeled “Privacy Policies”, “Terms and Conditions”, etc., and these are the documents you want to take a brief review of. (Reading them word for word may take hours so I wouldn’t recommend it – they’re usually full of that legal mumbo-jumbo anyways.)
3. Thou shall keep up to date with software updates to keep loophole-seekers at bay
Has a website of yours ever been hacked? It’s happened to me before, mid-June of 2012, and I thought my life was over. It was the website for one of my main online ventures and immediately I called my hosting company. After about an hour (perhaps closer to two) things were cleared up. I got off easy.
One of the best ways to make sure this doesn’t happen to you is by keeping up to date with your software updates, both on your website itself (i.e. WordPress) as well as in the back-end (i.e. cPanel). Usually you’ll receive an email when an update is released, but you’re better off checking every couple of days to keep on the safe side.
4. Thou shall take advantage of customer support when questions arise
With the monthly fee you pay every month there’s customer support included, generally by phone but sometimes restricted to only email and/or live chat. I can guarantee you’re going to run into issues at some point and having this customer support in your left pocket for those situations is beyond comforting. Usually they’re very helpful, and if you’re nice to them, they’ll go through hoops to make sure you’re a completely satisfied customer. Heck, without you (their customers), they’re not in business!
5. Thou shall understand ‘unlimited’ does not mean ‘unlimited’
You’ve seen it before – “unlimited disk space”… “unlimited bandwidth”… but here’s the catch. It’s not unlimited. In fact, it’s very limited, just not to the average website owner. The average website owner, for example, may own several HTML-based websites and even if several thousand visitors come to the sites every month, not much bandwidth nor disk space is used. Everyone is happy in this situation.
On the other hand, say you throw together 100 flash-based websites and are driving thousands of hits to your websites each and every day. All of a sudden a huge strain is put on the hosting company (as you’re not on a Virtual Private Server (VPS) or dedicated one for that matter), and thus issues arise. This is the point when your website goes down until further notice (i.e. your hosting plan is changed or you switch to a different hosting company) and you come to realize unlimited isn’t always unlimited.
And there you have it, The 5 Commandments of Web Hosting…
I think it’s safe to say you have these commandments down pact at this point, right? If not, I’d recommend scrolling up and studying the above commandments again. Why? You’ll be tested on them next class… and your entire grade depends on it. No pressure, though.