August 5, 2013

A good website host can do wonders to your blog!

How website domain names and hosts work
In a previous post, we discussed website domain names. OK, all websites need to have a domain name [web address] so that people can find them. But where does the domain sit and how a visitor gets to browse it? What are the ways to make it secure and big and prominent? That takes us to website hosting (or simply web hosting), which is the topic of this post.

This series of posts are regularly updated. In these posts, we use the term 'website' to include all types of sites including blogs.

Who hosts my blog xyz.blogspot.com?

Google Inc., the owner of the Blogger platform, has placed your blog ‘xyz.blogspot.com’ on their servers. Similarly, xyz.wordpress.com is hosted on Wordpress servers.

Google does not charge anything from me. If I create a blog xyz.com and ask Google to host it, will it host it free?

There are web hosting companies [e.g. Bluehost.com] that will host your blog / website but charge you for that.

How is web hosting relevant for me when I am not charged for my blog and I am happy with it?

Well, if you maintain a purely personal / hobby blog on Wordpress, Blogger or such other blogging platform, you really need not bother about hosting it elsewhere. We hope that Blogger, Wordpress, LiveJournal, Tumblr etc will keep giving free web-hosting services for a long time. Old bloggers, however, have had a bitter experience of an excellent free web-hosting platform, GeoCities, going down.

But if you have a business blog or you estimate that your growing web resources will one day need a lot of space and bandwidth, you will not like to be constrained by the limitations of Wordpress/ Blogger. If you want to add functionalities such as collaboration and payments on the blog, you will need background applications and database behind the website, and Wordpress / Blogger won't allow that. If you have a business website but also want to have a blog to support it, you will like the blog to be on the website’s host rather than on Wordpress/ Blogger.

When you host a blog on Wordpress/ Blogger servers, you are bound by their terms and conditions on various aspects including commercialization.

How much is the charge for hosting a website?

That depends on the type of facilities you ask from the host. They often have packages to suit different requirements. The charges start from about $4-5 per month on main web hosts. [There are some free website hosts but we won’t recommend a .wordpress or .blogspot blog to shift to them.]

You gave example of a particular company for domain name registration and web hosting. Does it do both jobs?

Yes, we talked about one. There are many such companies that offer both domain name registration and web hosting as independent services and also bundle them into combo packages that are often attractive. They also have their own tools for creation of websites. We'll talk about them a little more in another post.

Can I have an absolutely independent place for my website? Will it be less expensive than going for a web host?

Hosting a website needs a server that runs 24 hours on all days and is always connected to high-speed internet. It also needs a lot of configuration, software installation, maintenance and so on. Can you afford that? We can't.

You mentioned about migrating a .wordpress or .blogspot blog to  an independent domain. Where will the website / blog be hosted after that and what will be the charges?

In this series, we have been stating it again and again for the benefit of new bloggers and those wanting their own website that having an independent domain name and independent hosting are not the same thing. The first one deals solely with the website's name/ address and the other solely with its placement on the web. (Please see the picture on top of this post again if you keep mixing up the two.)


How will hosting on a new server impact my website / blog's performance?


That depends upon the quality of infrastructure and services offered by the host. Some servers can be fast and some slow. Some packages assure you a fast server. A website's looks, overall SEO, speed, scope for expansion, security etc depend a lot on the tools and services offered by the host. 
Do proper research before selecting the web-host. Changing host [and/or domain registrar] later on might be cumbersome.

PS: xyz.com and xyz.[wordpress/blogspot].com have been used as examples to illustrate certain points and do not refer to a particular website with this name.

All posts in this series:
First post: domain names
Second post: web hosting (present one)
Third post: Selecting blog host and domain registrar and upgrading a .wordpress or .blogspot blog to an independent identity