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Once you settle on reseller hosting, you’ll need to find a web host. Make that decision carefully, as the quality of hosting service can make a huge difference to your experience.
While reseller hosting used to be a specialty service, that’s no longer the case. Control panels have enabled kids running servers in their mom’s basement to provide reseller hosting. The web site advertising attractive prices on hosting plans could be a large, professional company or just a hobbyist.
I moved to WebHostingBuzz several years ago. I had been with an excellent host that became an acceptable host after an ownership change, and a lousy host after a further change of ownership. I looked at many potential hosts, and decided to move to WebHostingBuzz. One of the deciding factors for me was the quality of management and staff. No web host is perfect, but WebHostingBuzz has demonstrated that they care about quality of service, listen to the concerns of their clients, and continue to make improvements. Here are some other reasons that I recommend WebHostingBuzz.
I prefer a host that runs a discussion forum with participation from both staff and clients. Such forums can be a valuable source of ideas, tips and support from fellow clients. I’ve often found great ideas from other clients, and I’ve given help to clients. It’s also important to me that the hosting company’s staff participate in the forums. While the WebHostingBuzz forum isn’t as busy as it once was, I’m glad it’s there as it lets us clients share with each other. I’m also pleased that WebHostingBuzz staff often reply to client threads.
Good customer service
Almost all of us will need help at some point. WebHostingBuzz provides 24 hours/day, seven days/week support availability. Their ticketing system tracks each help request with a unique number so that replies and follow-ups are all tied to that ticket. Clients may open and update support tickets via web form or e-mail. In addition, Live Chat is available, which can be an efficient way to handle less-involved issues.
Robust control panel
WebHostingBuzz’s reseller plans include cPanel, the world’s most popular web hosting control panel. As I explained in my earlier article, Is cPanel / WebHost Manager the best control panel for reseller hosting?, that popularity grew based on cPanel’s quality and features. It’s a powerful but easy-to-learn control panel.
This can be tough to assess, but you’ll suffer if you’re with an unreliable host. One measure is server uptime. This is the percentage of time during the month that a server was up and available for traffic. WebHostingBuzz regularly publishes the monthly uptime figures for its servers, which is a positive sign.
WebHostingBuzz regularly upgrades their servers, but current specifications for each server are: 8 x Xeon CPUs; 12-24GB ECC RAM; RAID10 SATA2 Hard Drives. These are powerful servers, providing a speedy platform for your web sites.
I want good data centres, good network connections, and a well run business. While anyone can potentially put together a fancy web site, assess the tone and quality of written communications, the level of information given about the host, replies from hosting staff in the forums, etc. Decide whether these are people who seem serious about their business and supporting clients. WebHostingBuzz deals with me in a business-like manner, and gives me confidence in their service.
WebHostingBuzz regularly adds features to their hosting plans, to benefit clients. Recently they added Blesta billing software as a free service to all reseller plans. They added the option of SMS notifications for billing renewals, to ensure that clients don’t let their plans expire.
Notice that I did not list price as an important criterion. While price must be considered, the fact is that no matter which host you choose, there is always one that is cheaper. Cheaper is not better. Hosts that compete primarily on price tend to attract price-sensitive clients. Many of those are the clients who abuse the servers with insecure scripts or spamming. I would rather pay more money to have a host concerned with quality and able to employ good support staff. WebHostingBuzz’s pricing is competitive and provides great value considering the quality of the service.
Reseller hosting works best with a committed, reliable host. WebHostingBuzz is a great choice.
Setting up a new server can be a daunting task, and no two servers are alike. Having said that, the amount of time it takes set one up largely depends on what you start with when you begin your mission.
A number of factors will determine how long it takes to setup your server, namely:
- what type of server setup you have: colocation, on-premise, leased remotely, cloud hosted, etc.
- whether you have a managed or unmanaged server. Obviously, if it is managed, there may be little to no setup involved on your end. The amount of time it takes will rest in the hands of your provider
- how your server is deployed. Are you starting with a preconfigured image or installing your operating system yourself? Will you setup virtualization that requires multiple OS installations? How will you install your OS? If it is Linux, will it be from precompiled binaries or built from source (which takes much longer)?
There are many other variables, but you should get the idea by now that it is not something you can rush. Once you have accounted for all those variables, you may or may not have to setup the following:
- Networking (name servers, DNS, routers, hostnames, domains, etc.)
- Security (firewall, intrusion detection, application firewall, secure passwords, etc.)
- Software (web server, database server, mail server, etc.)
- Hosting automation (some type of control panel to make hosting management easier)
- Websites (the whole point of the exercise)
Depending on the degree to which your server is managed by your host, these tasks may involve hours or only a few minutes of work. The more experienced you are at tasks like security setup, the faster the process will go. If you are brand new, you should take advantage of the many tutorials and help documents freely available on the web. You should also consider setting up a test server in a local virtual machine to get some practice.
Building an e-commerce website is a big investment. Not only do you have to concern yourself with the technical aspects of hosting, but also have to deal with the business side of it as well. Therefore, it is vital to the success of your site that you have a good e-commerce system in place. Magento is one of the most highly acclaimed and popular e-commerce applications on the market.
Magento is more robust than some of the smaller open source shopping carts and therefore requires a little more power out of a website. Some shared hosting customers may have trouble, especially if the website generates a lot of traffic. Because of this, you might want to consider using at least a virtual private server (VPS) to host your Magento installation.
The first thing you should look for when deciding which host to use for your Magento deployment is the system requirements for Magento. For example, it requires PHP 5.2. Therefore, hosts that still do not have PHP5 should not even be on your list. Other small requirements, such as having safe mode off and a memory limit of at least 256 MB are important and should play a factor in your decision.
Since you are mostly concerned with e-commerce and would rather not spend a great deal of time setting up a website and installing applications, you should look for a web host that can install Magento for you. WebHostingBuzz offers 1-click installers supplied by Softaculous that make it a breeze to get Magento up and running.
Starting an e-commerce site does not have to be a laborious experience. If you choose the right host and plan out your deployment just as you would with any major business decision, you can be successful.
Some web hosting companies specialize in delivering services dedicated to very specific types of software. WordPress is one example of popular open source software that a hosting company may feature. There are both advantages and disadvantages to this type of hosting.
Some of the advantages include:
- Expertise in the software you want to use. The company knows WordPress well because that is all it does. This means, at least in theory, that you will get good support if you have any problems with the software.
- Guaranteed compatibility. Since it is their only product, the host will make sure WordPress runs well and installs without any problems. As such, you will never have to worry about compatibility issues.
- Additional tools. Presumably, a host dedicated to WordPress will also provide useful tools and plugins to enhance the experience, as that is the only way the host can have a real edge over competition.
Some of the disadvantages are:
- Limited exclusively to WordPress. Yes, this advantage can also be a disadvantage. If you ever want to switch to another content management system or blogging platform, you will have to look for a new host. If you ever want any other type of software installed, it may or may not be allowed by your host.
- Narrow support . This host may be good at providing support for WordPress-specific issues, but anything beyond that, even if they allow it, will likely not be supported.
- Not unique. While exclusivity might sound like a plus, it really may not present any real advantages over a host that offers the same features in addition to support for other software. A good host that can install WordPress and many other web applications may give you more for your money.
Hosts that specialize in WordPress hosting may know some of the caching and content delivery tricks that less-experienced hosts may not have encountered. The true advantages, however, pretty much stop there. In the end, it is a better idea to search for a host based on standard criteria, such as the quality of service, customer support, and technology. Many will offer the same features as WordPress-exclusive hosts while also offering so much more.
Conventional wisdom would answer with: nothing is free. Everything comes with a price. Web hosting, in particular, is not something that any company can provide without cost. The only real question left to answer is how those companies pay for those costs, usually by passing them onto the customer.
Companies like WordPress, for example, offer free blog hosting and even give their blogging software away for free. While the software is truly free, the hosting services may still generate money for the provider. WordPress uses ad revenue and other paid features to recoup their costs and make a profit. Companies like Google offer a wide variety of cloud hosting services, but their revenue comes primarily from advertisements. In this sense, these “freemium” services are a lot like broadcast TV networks. Advertisements pay the bills.
For full-featured web hosting with your own domain name, free web hosting is probably non-existent. Even if you were to run your own server from your basement, you would still have power and network costs.
The other question you might want to ask yourself is how reliable a free hosting service actually is, especially if the company claiming to offer it has not found a way to make a reasonable amount of money to sustain itself. The last thing you want is to setup your web presence on a fly-by-night service that could be gone tomorrow. For stability and security, even a budget hosting service is better than free.
Having said all of that, free hosting may serve a good purpose, such in the case of the blogging sites mentioned above or for temporary sites and test pages. If you can use the services without the fear of losing important data or having unreliable connectivity, free hosting may be ideal.
FTP (file transfer protocol) is one of the most common methods of file transfer used in web hosting. It is easy to use and also widely supported by software on all operating systems. On on the other hand, FTP is not the most secure option for the user or the server; however, with a little help, you can make it safe for your shared hosting accounts.
Anytime users connect to your server there is a chance that they will end up someplace where they should not be. They may not intentionally cause harm, but with a compromised account, anything could happen. Therefore, it is important to jail users within their own home directories. This will keep them from accessing other parts of the server.
Another way to make sure you have secure file transfers is to use some form of encryption. You can use a secure extension to protect your FTP connection (FTPS) or use an alternative called SFTP. Many FTP clients also support SFTP. The downside of it is that it requires a shell (SSH) account to use. If you are a shared hosting user, you may not have access to one. If you do, it’s a secure way to transfer your files.
Many server security problems are the result of user error. Even if you have everything in place to secure your server, a bad password can make it easy for attackers to get in and do damage. To prevent this, you should require complex passwords of at least 8 characters. You can also setup your server to require users to change their passwords after a certain amount of time.
By taking these steps to secure your FTP transfers, you should be able to enjoy the ease and other benefits without having to worry about security.
When you have an enterprise with a lot of capital, you have plenty of options for good hosting, but when you are a small business owner, those options are severely limited. Whether your business employs 50, 10, or even just you by yourself, there are still ways to get good web hosting at an affordable price.
We could simply tell you who we think the best host is for small businesses, but we would rather give you a more complete answer so that you can come to the same conclusion on your own.
The following are five key features a small business should look for in web hosting:
- Reasonable Pricing – Particularly for small businesses, this may be the number one concern. You want the most for your dollar, but you also need quality services. Since your website will probably not be huge or generate Facebook-like traffic, features like unlimited space and bandwidth are less important than web development tools, free script installation, and multiple support options. With all of the hosting competition out there, you should be able to get all of that and more for a good price. Moreover, look for hosting deals. You may save money by paying an annual fee as opposed to monthly.
- E-Commerce Add-ons – Assuming you plan to do business on the web, you will want to have a variety of e-commerce options without having to jump through hoops to get them. Good hosts will offer add-ons such as SSL certificates and extra IP addresses without charging you a lot of money. Furthermore, some may even have special e-commerce or business hosting packages that fit the needs of most small to medium-sized businesses (SMB).
- Hosting Automation – Chances are, if your business is small, only a few people or possibly even one person will manage your website. A web host that offers poor hosting automation will cost your business time and money. Therefore, the next item on your list should be a good hosting control panel, and you should not have to pay a lot to get one. There are even quality free options if you are running an unmanaged server. But beyond basic control panels, good hosts will add value to their hosting automation by including additional features, such as script installers and third-party web analytics integration.
- Content Management – Not all content management systems (CMS) are ideal for business. You should make sure your web host either provides installation for business-oriented content management systems or at least meets the system requirements for the CMS you want to use.
- Scalability – Your business is small now, but do not assume it will always be small. Once you get it going, you may soon find yourself running out of space and running into a bandwidth wall. A good host will provide you with a reasonably priced upgrade path so that you do not back yourself into a corner. Whether you simply need the next step up in shared hosting or need something more powerful, such as a VPS or dedicated server, your host should make it easy to take that next step.
As you develop your small business, your website may become one of the most important aspects of it, especially in today’s technological world. You would not trust your money with a mediocre or even average bank, so why trust your website in the hands of a low quality web hosting provider? In this case, the right choice is very simple.
It would be convenient if there were a cookie-cutter solution that you could apply to any web startup business. Unfortunately, it is not quite so easy. The type of hosting service you need for your startup largely depends on the nature of the business, as well as your short-term and long-term goals.
If you are starting with a very small budget, you can still get quality shared hosting and have no problems hosting your web applications. On the other hand, if your goals are pretty high and you have a good amount of capital to spend on hosting, you may look for a more scalable solution involving a VPS (virtual private server), dedicated server, or cloud hosting solution.
The next issue you should consider is the type of app you want to host. Type in this case could refer to many things: programming language, functionality, design specifications, and even licensing (free, open source, commercial, etc.) For example, if you know from the start that you will be developing with Microsoft Visual Studio and need an ASP.NET platform, it would make no sense to sign up for Linux hosting. On the other hand, if you are used to developing in a LAMP stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP) environment, you should find a host that can meet your requirements.
If you do not plan to develop your apps at all and need something that is easy to install and manage, you might look for a host that offers easy 1-click script installers or even completely managed hosting. If you already have a proprietary app vendor in mind, you should check with your host to make sure they can support the applications you want to use.
By choosing your hosting provider carefully and considering all of the factors that will form the fabric of your startup, you can get off to a great start and be on your way to success.
Before diving into any discussion about Linux servers, it is important to first properly define the topic of discussion. For our purposes, a “service” is a daemon, a program that starts when the system boots and remains in the memory, running in the background. It is not a normal practice to restart these services without a good reason, but there are situations that warrant periodic restarts.
There are a few situations when you might want a tool that can automatically restart a daemon running on your dedicated server or VPS:
- You want it to detect crashes and automatically bring the service back up
- Daily restarts as a method of flushing out the system
- Detect errors, such as memory leaks and restart to remedy them
Regardless of the reason, the ultimate goal is the same. You want the server to restart a service without any human intervention. The following tools may be able to help you achieve that goal:
- daemontools – This is a no frills, no thrills tool that you can use to monitor daemons and automatically restart them if one of them goes down. It may not be the most user-friendly tool, but it gets the job done.
- Upstart – The Ubuntu project called Upstart can handle services and is meant as a full replacement for /sbin/init. If you are OK with that, you can also tell it to respawn services that die unexpectedly.
- Supervisor – Unlike upstart, it is not meant to replace init, and unlike daemontools, it is not limited to daemons. You can use supervisor to monitor and control any process. It is simple and uses a command-line or web-based interface.
There are many other tools out there that can manage your daemons. You should first determine what your needs actually are and then evaluate each of these tools based on those needs. Find one that is easy for you to use and that also provides you with the control you need to manage your services.
WordPress is a free and open source content management system primarily used as a blogging platform. It is written in PHP and relies on relational databases, such as MySQL, to store and retrieve its data. Because it is free, almost any web host is capable of running it. But what should you look for when choosing the best host?
- System Requirements – As I mentioned, most hosts can support WordPress, but there are certain nuances that only some hosts will have. Those nuances will either make WordPress run better or worse. For example, WordPress recommends running suPHP to make things more secure.
- Easy Installation – Some web hosts, who shall remain nameless, make it notoriously difficult to do simple things, like creating MySQL databases. You have to wait in a queue for your database to appear. You want a host that leaves your dignity intact. You should not have to jump through hoops to install a simple script. Moreover, the best hosts will have automatic 1-click installers to do it for you and not leave you with a message that says “pending setup”.
- Performance – A high-traffic WordPress site can put a great deal of stress on a server. Does your web host have servers with enough power to handle it? Moreover, will your host allow you to implement features such as web server caching and gzip compression?
- Track record – Ask around. There are plenty of awesome sites out there that run WordPress. Talk to the web administrators of those sites and find out who their web hosting provider is and how their experience has been.
The last thing you want to do when first starting out with a new WordPress site is to settle for a web host that will not give you the optimal experience. You want to focus on creating content rather than troubleshooting hosting issues. Go with a host that has the features you need and has a proven reputation of excellence.