Larry Gowdy Website Designer
Web Hosting - Amarillo, Texas and Global
A Quick Guide to Website Hosting Plans
Updated March 30, 2016
Please also see the WebsiteHostingAmarillo.com page for the latest updates.
The information on this page is aimed towards helping my customers choose which type of hosting that works best for their needs. The links are given as a courtesy to enable the visitor fast access to additional information. Some of my best customers started their websites with free hosting, and after spending months learning that managing a website was not as fun as they thought it would be, the customers now happily pay me to manage their sites. My customers know that I am as interested as they are in their receiving the best service possible; my offering the best choice is much more important in the short-term as well as the long-term.
The following links jump to the different sections on this page:
Free Web Hosting
Cheap Web Hosting
Best Web Hosting
Full Web Hosting
The first thing that I recommend to all of my customers is that they take full control of their domain name. By "full control" I mean that the customer has immediate access to the domain name, and that the customer can at any time make any necessary changes to the domain's online settings. If you do not have full control over your domain name, and you later change web hosts, it can be difficult to have your existing domain forwarded to the new host, or worse, your website may be offline several days while waiting for the domain name to be redirected to the new host. I have seen websites that were previously number one on search engines be completely removed from search engines due to the sites being offline too long. Never take chances with your domain name!
I normally always handle all domain maintenance for my customers, which saves the customer a lot of time and frustration. For customers who have the time and experience to maintain their own websites, I recommend that the customers set up an account at Enom or at NameCheap. Enom has lower prices but requires a minimum initial account balance of $100.00 before you can purchase domain names for around $8.95 per year plus an additional cost of about $7.95 per year for ID protection. NameCheap offers a free account, with domain names costing $9.69 per year plus an additional cost of $2.88 for ID protection. Enom is more economical in the long run, especially for customers who have several domain names, but NameCheap is the better deal when using ID protection.
Whether you choose Enom, NameCheap, or some other domain service, just be sure that you have complete control over your domain name's DNS server settings (the host's IP address that the domain name points to), and that you can renew the domain name each year by yourself.
Free Web Hosting Services
Google® Sites is likely the best choice for a free beginner website. Dependability should be good, and there are numerous features offered at no cost, but the bottom line is that a website built through Google will have little chance of competing in search engines. There is also a free hosting plan for users of WordPress®, which ought to be a useful choice for individuals who want to build a site around a blog. The important thing to remember about free hosting is that it is free for a reason, and the reason is usually that of charging high prices for added features. If your site is for family and friends, and you have no desire to compete on search engines nor in any business venture, then free hosting can be an excellent choice.
Angelfire dependability is good, there are plenty of free add-ons, and there is a site-builder for beginners who do not want to learn HTML. The two main drawbacks of Angelfire are that all of your web pages must display ads and pop-ups, and there are no statistics for you to see which pages are being viewed or if another website is linking to your website. The cost of ad-free hosting with statistics through Angelfire is $4.95 per month, which is more expensive than many full service web hosts.
Tripod is part of Lycos, which includes Angelfire, and so the advantages and disadvantages of Tripod are the same as Angelfire. The one advantage of Tripod over Angelfire is that your URL would be yoursitename.tripod.com, whereas on Angelfire the URL is angelfire.com/home/yoursitename. I personally have a few small websites on Tripod and Angelfire, and for free web hosting services I have been pleased with Lycos.
50webs is a relatively new free web host that I discovered a few years ago. The main advantage of 50webs is that there are no ads or pop-ups. 50webs gives 60mb of disk space to build your free website, which is often enough for small personal and business websites. Similar to all other known free hosting services, 50webs hopes that you will later purchase full hosting and pay for your domain name through 50webs. At $15.00 for a domain name through 50webs, plus the free ad-free hosting, it is actually a pretty good deal. Like most any other free hosting, there will be no available statistics showing which of your pages are the most popular, customer service may be scarce, and the server speed is often much slower as compared to paid hosting.
Three of the most important things necessary for a website to gain popularity are (1) a domain name, (2) statistics to learn where the hits on your website are coming from (so that you can adjust your topics to fit popular searches), and (3) no ads; especially no pop-ups (unless, of course, they are the ads that you placed on the site yourself). While it is possible for a web page on a free web hosting service to achieve high rankings on search engines, it is very rare. If a person only wants a website to learn on and to share with family and friends, then free web hosting is fine, but if you want to create a popular website, then free hosting is not a good choice.
Cheap Web Hosting Services
There are hundreds of different web hosting services available, and it is not easy to choose the one that is best for you. If your website will require a lot of speed and bandwidth, such as for videos and music, you may want a hosting service that includes a dedicated IP address. For most of us a shared IP address is plenty good enough for normal websites. Some webmasters collect domain names and then place the domains on a single host that permits add-on domains, which saves a lot of money by not having to pay hosting service fees for each domain name. The final decision of which host to choose can be difficult, but only you know what will work best for your own needs.
Best Hosting Service
There may never be such a thing as a single 'best' hosting service. Different people have differents needs that different hosting services provide, so what works best for one person may not be ideal for someone else. Too, sometimes a hosting service may work great for a year or two and then suddenly turn sour. Some hosting services purposefully block Google's® bots, which permanently erases all possibility of your website being ranked by Google. A big name-brand hosting service purposefully makes their customers' websites invisible to all search engines, and the hosting service then tries to sell SEO to their customers at very high prices. I continuously research hosting services to find the best ones, and I share that information with my customers.
Full Hosting Service
For my customers who do not have the time or patience to build and maintain their own websites, I can host the website, upload the website's pages, configure any needed subdomains, configure email accounts, handle the domain name, and renew the annual subscriptions for the customer. Below are just a few of the problems that many website owners do not know about until after a web hosting plan has been purchased.
(1) The free domain names that are included with some hosting plans are difficult to keep and relatively expensive if you change hosts. A very popular domain registrar has low prices on its domain names, but unless the domain owner uses the registrar's expensive hosting plans the owner may not be able to direct the domain to another hosting service. A domain name is useless if you cannot direct it where you want it to go. I primarily purchase domain names through Enom where I can direct your domain to any website hosting service you want, and I can do it quickly, easily, and inexpensively. If you later decide that you want to manage your own domain name we can transfer it from Enom very quickly and without any additional cost (except, of course, the additional one year registration cost that your registrar will charge you to transfer the domain name into your account).
(2) Are you familiar with how hosting services work? Do you know about the index page? Do you know how and where to upload pages and graphics? Does the host require that you use FTP? Do you know what FTP is? Do you need a subdomain? Do you know what subdomains are best used for? What about shared servers, dedicated servers, virtual servers, and dedicated IP addresses? If you are new to hosting you may find it very time consuming to learn, and for many individuals it is much less expensive to pay me to do all of the hosting work rather than for the customer to lose time that could have been used more profitably in their own business.
(3) If your website needs a good ranking on search engines, do you know how to link your web pages to gain the best results? Search engines have become relatively sophisticated, with each search engine having specific likes and dislikes of how your website is structured. Every little thing counts with search engines, including your website's hosting.
(4) Are you familiar with the advantages of Microsoft® and Linux® hosting software? Which one works best for your needs?
(5) Are you familiar with the current website security concerns? Different hosts use different security measures, and different types of websites need different types of security.
The full service hosting costs $10.00 per month for a 1 year plan that includes a domain name and plenty enough disk space and bandwidth for most customers. For the few customers who need additional storage and bandwidth, the additional cost is only a few dollars more per month. Please call or contact me for additional information about the full service hosting plans.
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