Author Topic: Hosting Recommendations - any web developers out there?  (Read 1088 times)

FrugalFisherman10

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Hosting Recommendations - any web developers out there?
« on: August 10, 2017, 07:50:27 AM »
I'm trying to get my own site started up. It's going to be very photo/video heavy, like a gallery of my best photographs and some short travel videos I make.

I'm not very technical, so initially I was considering something like squarespace or Wix for use of their website builders. Then I started to realize that 'hey, nobody wants a free site (no custom domain name), and the price is more like $15 - $20+ month once you get into their paid subscription services, maybe I should look at a free Wordpress site with some cheap hosting (like Blue host?). Couldn't that be better long term and maybe cheaper (or at least more cost effective)?"

I had also read that going with a Wordpress site from the beginning is going to be better in the long run if it were to actually need to scale and if you started gaining a lot of traffic. (i think Mrs. MM says that in her post here about it)

So I'm looking at wordpress sites and hosting and all that, and see that MMM himself, as well as many others, recommend super cheap hosting with BlueHost, so I'm thinking "wow this would be a way cheaper option."

But, I need to build the site - hard to do without a website builder and without knowing wordpress..
Then enter "Divi" and their latest website builder https://www.elegantthemesdemo.com/?et_fb=1 (link if you don't know what I'm referring to... Basically they put something as capable and seemingly user friendly as Wix on top of WP, and it seems to work really well (from what I can tell without actually getting to demo it myself).

SO, now I'm thinking:
A. Wordpress site (free)
B. use Divi 3.0 to build it (which is like $90/year for a license, or I can just stop paying for the license and the site will keep working but it will not get upgraded), and
C. figure out where to host it.

Which is where you web developer/knowledgeable people come in - I can look online at 100s of comparisons of hosting providers and it's nearly impossible to tell what I need, and also to receive unbiased information (non-affiliate stuff).
If I'm expecting maybe 100 visitors to my site in a day (who knows.. probably much less for a while), should I just go with Shared Hosting on something like Bluehost?

Shared vs Managed hosting?
I don't want to spend a ton of time figuring out all this 'cpanel' backend stuff to keep my site up and running. I don't know what that means. So I'm considering managed hosting, but just not sure if I'm the 'right customer' for that yet.

my site will have big jpegs and videos, lots of pictures... so speed is a major consideration. Does SSD hosting matter? or will they all be pretty fast?

Either way, I have enough 'design' in me to try and build my site myself, that's kinda the whole point actually... I want to extend my creative outlet of photography and share that in a more formalized way.

Thanks for any suggestions or recommendations!

FrugalFisherman10

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Re: Hosting Recommendations - any web developers out there?
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2017, 10:17:06 AM »
{bueller?}

meatface

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Re: Hosting Recommendations - any web developers out there?
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2017, 07:02:59 AM »
To clarify, you're against doing a SquareSpace/Weebly/Wix sort of thing?

FrugalFisherman10

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Re: Hosting Recommendations - any web developers out there?
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2017, 07:18:38 AM »
Not against it entirely, just kinda thought there may be better alternatives by getting my 'own domain and hosting'.

In fact I basically have a dummy site built out right now on Wix that I could just roll with. But I feel like if I do that then everything I want to do will be within the confines of their little "universe"...like SEO and getting ads on my site one day to help it pay for itself, etc. I just don't know that I would really expect a site hosted on Wix to ever become something where you're driving a good amount of traffic to it and able to reap the benefits of it in an efficient way. Maybe I'm just suspicious

meatface

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Re: Hosting Recommendations - any web developers out there?
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2017, 08:45:32 AM »
You can get your own domain, and without ads, on any of those sites. You don't have to have their name in your web address.

FrugalFisherman10

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Re: Hosting Recommendations - any web developers out there?
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2017, 10:36:51 AM »
Right, but what if I wanted to enable sponsors to advertise on my site so that I could get the revenue? It just seems more convaluted to go through a "website builder" like that, no? Or am I missing something and it is that simple

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meatface

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Re: Hosting Recommendations - any web developers out there?
« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2017, 05:38:06 AM »
You can certainly do Google AdSense and affiliate links on SquareSpace, for example. No doubt the others are the same.

I think the main advantage of WordPress is that it's more customizable than SS/Weebly/Wix, but also requires more effort on your part. That said, there are a bazillion WordPress themes, for free or less than $100, that will make your site look really good. You'll need to go through some online lessons to get a good idea of how it all works.

A. Wilk

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Re: Hosting Recommendations - any web developers out there?
« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2017, 07:30:03 AM »
Ok. I am not a web developer.

I am a blogger that used to host with Bluehost, HostGator, Dreamhost, SiteGround, etc you name it. I have a blog that pretty much receives high traffic and all those hosting performed poorly.

Until I found the love of my life. Digital Ocean.

Digital Ocean was recommended by my game developer brother and web designer sister (not bragging about their profession but just letting you know that this recommendation came from them and not from me, and now I recommend them).

I moved from HostGator > BlueHost > Siteground > DigitalOcean. Finally contented.

I am self-hosted and using the standard droplet plan of $20 a month. https://www.digitalocean.com/pricing/#droplet (not affiliate link). I never experienced down time since moving. But installing WordPress for the first time can be a pain in the ass. My brother installed it for me.

I think it's perfect for your WordPress photo site.

MBot

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Re: Hosting Recommendations - any web developers out there?
« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2017, 09:12:48 PM »
I like iPage for a bunch of reasons.


I'm a very amateur web developer who used to know a little about HTML but not much. I took several years' break before building anything, but found this pretty intuitive. I've done both Wordpress and their template sites.

The reasons I chose it.

#1, top of it all. Good rates! Even at renewal. Not just great introductory offers.

 I don't want to migrate sites over or rebuild them every few years. They renew at good rates. And it's a pretty good deal to start too. I use the integrated Wordpress hosting for my main site.



2. If you don't need Wordpress, it's even cheaper.

Their integrated templates work a lot like Wix or Squarespace (almost as dead simple). I've built sites for $15 using their templates, just buying a new domain + using my current hosting account.



3. They have a decent affiliate program.
I rarely plug it, but it does work. I chose the option where I get cash rather than hosting credits. No need to use my link of course, but I wouldn't object
« Last Edit: August 17, 2017, 09:16:21 PM by MBot »

beee

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Re: Hosting Recommendations - any web developers out there?
« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2017, 10:45:30 AM »
Buy your own domain name and use a constructor (SquareSpace/Weebly/Wix).
UNLESS
You're interested in becoming a web-developer or at least enjoy learning that stuff.

Web-development is such a big field, that you'll waste a lot of hours for no return.
Nobody cares whether your website is on wordpress/wix/squarespace/weeble/custom cms/etc.

The only thing that matters is your content.

Do it for 1 year, then revisit this decision. You can migrate your website any time, even preserving old urls.

Wordpress and own hosting sound simple until something goes wrong (error in plugin or theme or wordpress upgrade script). Then you'll have to waste even more hours or hire somebody for $50/hour to fix things.

MrSal

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Re: Hosting Recommendations - any web developers out there?
« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2017, 11:23:56 AM »
The best host is https://www.siteground.com/recommended?referrer_id=7614852. (referral link there) (Best host within the shared/VPS hostings cheaper - of course we could go to hosting companies that charge 40-80/month or more)

You can buy their hosting for about 3 dollars/month.

Use them with Wordpress. Wordpress is easy. Click a button to install and then in wordpress just choose a template and you are ready to do whatever.

There are even free page builders within wordpress.

Dont use Wix/Weebly etc... not only its more expensive since to have your own domain you have to have the premium package, but their coding is not the greatest and might impact you in google rankings.

I have my websites at Siteground... most my pages open in 0.5 seconds while my competitors open in 4-5+ seconds.

You will be independent and start getting some SEO ranking.

SG customer service is pretty good and speed is also top notch im my opinion. TTFB on their server is around 100 ms which is very low already... if people are on SG and they are having speed problems is because they have some other issues on their site.

Use a light theme such as Generate Press or Astra or Genesis (paid) and you are good to go...

« Last Edit: August 18, 2017, 11:29:37 AM by MrSal »

narrative

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Re: Hosting Recommendations - any web developers out there?
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2017, 11:25:56 AM »
Wordpress is relatively simple to setup, and many hosts have automated installers that make it even easier.

I have been using 1and1 for a few years on sites just to mess around and setup a site for a local church on 1and1 with Wordpress also and they have been fantastic. I call each year before my basic shared plan renews and tell them I am going to cancel and they give me the promo rate again (something like $12 a year).

If your site gets bigger (hopefully!) you may not be able to do this though.

It is pretty easy to get going with free Wordpress templates and customization via HTML/CSS isn't too tough either.

My two sites (for examples):
stpatrickshavana.com
chromeschoolers.com (still setting this one up and adding content)

I can answer specific questions if you have any - just send me a message. :)


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ZCademy

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Re: Hosting Recommendations - any web developers out there?
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2017, 11:38:10 AM »
I am a web developer. I'm currently doing contract work full time, but I used to do freelance, mostly WordPress with a little other stuff as well.

I've never had problems with Hostgator. You can do your domain name registration through them, or use a separate DNR provider.

The nice thing about WordPress is that you can change themes in the future, and your content is protected. So you can start with a free theme that's "good enough" then change it later.

Definitely follow Mrs MM's recommendation about installing JetPack and Akismet, and changing the Admin name. If you allow comments at all, you will get comment spam, and Akismet is great at catching it.

I need to add to her post about one other thing I consider essential for all WP sites: a security plug-in. I always use iThemes Security (free) ... there's a "just the basics" setup, and a lot of individual controls as well.

If you ever took a computer course and got a C+ or better, you can learn everything you need to know about using WordPress for a basic blog. While you can go a lot deeper, you never have to.
Been there, done that

FrugalFisherman10

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Re: Hosting Recommendations - any web developers out there?
« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2017, 09:29:15 AM »
Buy your own domain name and use a constructor (SquareSpace/Weebly/Wix).

I'm intrigued by this idea. So who do I buy my own domain name from to do this? One of the 'hosting' sites right? ...(godaddy, hostgator, siteground, etc.) or am I misunderstanding that

Do it for 1 year, then revisit this decision. You can migrate your website any time, even preserving old urls.
Unfortunately on Wix, the one I think I like the best, you cannot migrate your site. It isn't coded in that way :/
Which is a pretty big hang up. Unless I really just like them and can continue to use the site their for the next 5, 10+ years.

FrugalFisherman10

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Re: Hosting Recommendations - any web developers out there?
« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2017, 09:32:16 AM »
TTFB on their server is around 100 ms which is very low already...
What is TTFB?

if people are on SG and they are having speed problems is because they have some other issues on their site.

..such as? Having a ton of high quality pictures and video on their site :)   ?
That's what I plan to have, so just asking.

Use a light theme such as Generate Press or Astra or Genesis (paid) and you are good to go...
I don't think the theme I'm interested in would be considered 'light' as it is basically a website builder..it's called Divi 3.0. Can you tell me if it's "light"?How do I determine if it is

meatface

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Re: Hosting Recommendations - any web developers out there?
« Reply #15 on: August 25, 2017, 12:44:39 PM »
Buy your own domain name and use a constructor (SquareSpace/Weebly/Wix).

I'm intrigued by this idea. So who do I buy my own domain name from to do this? One of the 'hosting' sites right? ...(godaddy, hostgator, siteground, etc.) or am I misunderstanding that

Either buy it from GoDaddy or buy it through SquareSpace/Weebly/Wix directly.

beee

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Re: Hosting Recommendations - any web developers out there?
« Reply #16 on: August 25, 2017, 12:51:20 PM »
Quote
So who do I buy my own domain name from to do this?

Godaddy can work.

Quote
Unfortunately on Wix, the one I think I like the best, you cannot migrate your site. It isn't coded in that way :/
Which is a pretty big hang up. Unless I really just like them and can continue to use the site their for the next 5, 10+ years.

By "migrate" I meant rework, sorry for confusion. If you're just starting, you don't really know anything about your future website, your audience, your content, your ability to produce that content, your "style" of maintainig your website, etc.

For now, you just need to start, you will want to rework your website in a year or two anyways, no matter how you start now. That's why I think it makes sense to start small, easy and fast, by using a constructor with custom domain name.

Content is the most important thing for any website. The faster you start doing what is important (producing that content and making it public), the faster you can validate your idea of having a website.

You can worry about design, TTFB (time to first byte), speed, etc later. It's not that important when you're just starting out.

toganet

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Re: Hosting Recommendations - any web developers out there?
« Reply #17 on: August 25, 2017, 12:55:42 PM »
I second the SiteGround recommendation, as well as the choice of WordPress to build the site.  I will warn you that you must be prepared to keep WP updated, and use a combination of approaches if you want to avoid malware, hacks, and the general annoyances that come with using an open-source platform that powers over 25% of the world's websites.

Disclosure: my company provides managed hosting services for WordPress, and we resell SiteGround.

Magy Lin

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Re: Hosting Recommendations - any web developers out there?
« Reply #18 on: August 28, 2017, 07:02:38 AM »
Never thought about the fact that hosting is very necessary. I should read more about this

narrative

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Re: Hosting Recommendations - any web developers out there?
« Reply #19 on: August 28, 2017, 12:20:48 PM »
This popped back up today and I re-read through your wants/needs.

The reality is that once you have WordPress setup, you won't have much to do in cpanel or an admin console, but you will spend LOTS of time in the WordPress admin screens where you create your blog content. Those WordPress screens will be the same no matter where you host (store) the site.

I think a managed WordPress hosting setup would be a good place to start. It will allow you to focus on the part you are interested in - creating your content.

I think these would be good options:

(Hosting links are NOT affiliate links. Just links from my own research. The eBates link is my referral link.)

Something like the 1and1 WordPress Basic plan (looks like about $12 the first year)

or the GoDaddy Basic Wordpress plan (looks like about $24 the first year)

Also, GoDaddy has a 9% cash back deal with ebates (that's my affiliate link), so that helps on price a little bit.

Bluehost has WordPress specific plans too, and they include SiteLock but they are more expensive - looks like about $20 a month to start. There is a $10 ebates cash back on bluehost too.

Pictures and video shouldn't be too much of a problem on any of them. Something else to think about - Will you host your video content locally or will you embed it from another site like YouTube?

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Bbqmustache

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Re: Hosting Recommendations - any web developers out there?
« Reply #20 on: August 29, 2017, 05:37:08 AM »
Any recommendations for a site/hosting solution for a small e-commerce website with Etsy links?  Can WordPress do e-commerce?

toganet

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Re: Hosting Recommendations - any web developers out there?
« Reply #21 on: August 29, 2017, 08:21:29 AM »
Any recommendations for a site/hosting solution for a small e-commerce website with Etsy links?  Can WordPress do e-commerce?

Take a look at WordPress + WooCommerce. and the various ways to link it to Etsy.

You may also want to look at Shopify, as an alternative to all of the above.

FrugalFisherman10

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Re: Hosting Recommendations - any web developers out there?
« Reply #22 on: August 30, 2017, 08:55:35 AM »
Something else to think about - Will you host your video content locally or will you embed it from another site like YouTube?

I will likely embed it from another site like youtube or vimeo, as I guess that's what I'm used to seeing,  but I'd be interested in knowing the pros/cons of each. Do you have any more info about that?

narrative

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Re: Hosting Recommendations - any web developers out there?
« Reply #23 on: September 13, 2017, 04:25:54 PM »
I will likely embed it from another site like youtube or vimeo, as I guess that's what I'm used to seeing,  but I'd be interested in knowing the pros/cons of each. Do you have any more info about that?

No real personal experience with video, but this links covers it pretty well:
http://www.digitalthirdcoast.net/blog/self-hosting-vs-youtube

I have been working on a few screencasts for my blog and addressing the same question. I don't have a solid answer right now as for which is better. I am thinking for simplicity's sake I will probably use youtube.
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toganet

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Re: Hosting Recommendations - any web developers out there?
« Reply #24 on: September 19, 2017, 07:32:03 AM »
I've done a ton of online and over-the-top (aka "streaming channels") and would be happy to outline the pros and cons for anyone really interested.

BUT, the TL;DR version is: you don't want to host your own video.  Start with YouTube or Vimeo, use their embedded player, and if you start having enough traffic that you outgrow that, you should be monetized well enough to worry about your next step (which still own't be hosting your own video).