Guide to Choosing The Best Hosting Package for a Startup

Building Small Business Web Hosting From the Ground Up

Hosting PackageWhat's the first thing you think about when building your business on-line? Most companies focus on site design first, content second, and web hosting package / options last. In fact, many business owners never really think about web hosting at all until something has happened, a site becomes overloaded, or there's a question about the cost of web hosting. This isn't the way to make sure your site stands out from the rest.

Go With a Host First

Before you even consider any kind of WordPress plugin or website design guru, think about the type of hosting package that you will need to keep your operation running smoothly. It's simple enough to choose the first cheap plan that comes along, but that's a mistake. Why?

Let's break it down like this:

Shared Hosting Package : the concept here is simple enough. Shared hosting means sharing a server with other websites. This can be an okay idea if you don't ever plan on getting any major site traffic. But, let's be honest here, that's never anyone's plan. You want to get lots of site traffic, right? You want to create content that goes viral and have amazing lead capturing campaigns that are on par with what Hubspot creates, right? If that's the case, you can't go with a shared host.

Dedicated Hosting Package: dedicated hosting means that you won't be sharing a server with anyone else. So, if the Spam site that uses the same hosting company slows down all the other sites on a shared server, yours won't be impacted. In turn, your clients won't get frustrated, your site won't crash, and you won't have any issues. Unless, of course, you decide not to choose managed dedicated hosting.

Managed Dedicated Hosting Package: a managed hosting plan means that you don't have to worry if something happens to your site. You can just call up your hosting company, and that company will take care of anything that has gone wrong. Phew! This can't be a major relief! Take our advice and opt for dedicated and managed hosting package.

Now what? Now that you've chosen the right hosting type, how do you select the right hosting company? Well, that's not such an easy thing to do. But, here are some of our best tips.

Choosing the Right Hosting Company

You can go for a cheap host. You can go for a popular host. Or, you can pick the biggest hosting company that you can find. But, I’m going to tell you not to go with any of those methods for picking a hosting company. Why? Because you don't have to.

The hosting world is packed to the brim with companies offering all kinds of hosting package / plans. That's a good thing for you. Why's that? Because it means that some company out there will offer absolutely everything that you want in a hosting package. It means that you can find your niche hosting company plan, you can look for a company that values what you value, and you can really get all the services you absolutely need – and get rid of the ones that you don't.

When it comes to selecting a hosting package / company, consider these things:

  • User reviews
  • Downtime reports
  • Number of sites using a host
  • Host history
  • Whether or not a hosting company is green or sustainable (if that matters to you)
  • What services / hosting package are offered and what a contract looks like

Service Drilldown

Okay, so now that you know what to look for in a company, let's go over what services you need if you're running a small business. Since the term “small business” can really relate to companies of various sizes, let's break it down even more. This section will talk about startups – those companies that are really at the beginning stages of formation.

What a startup should look for in a hosting package:

  • Database support : if you're running an eCommerce business, you'll want database support. Why? Because this is where you will store everything, so that you can later access what you need.
  • Customer service : guess what? Customer service doesn't come with every hosting package ! Make sure that you have access to free customer service that's included in your plan
  • Scalability options : your business will, hopefully, grow, and that means that you will need your hosting provider to grow with you. Find out if other companies were able to grow with a host, or if some companies had to change hosting providers completely to accommodate growth.

The bottom-line here is that you shouldn't pay for what you don't need. On the flip side, you should absolutely pay for what you do need. So, don't skimp on the services that will really make a difference. There are lots of web hosting companies that now cater to startups, so do your research and find the one that fits your needs the best.

Questions? Need help? Just ask!

Hosting Company TOS: What to Know

Hosting Company TOS

TOS (Terms of Service)If you subscribe to a web hosting package through any web hosting company (it doesn't matter what kind of package or what company), you might be wondering what your rights as a consumer are – especially if you have run into some problems with your hosting company. Truth be told, figuring out what your rights are is not as cut and dry as you may want it to be, and it all comes down to reading the terms of service that are part of your hosting agreement.

Terms of Service (TOS)

It's not the part of a hosting agreement you think about when you sign up with any hosting company. But, the TOS is really important. Every company lists separate TOS on a main site page. As a consumer looking to sign up with a company, it's your job to pay attention to those terms. You also have to understand what those terms are before you sign up with any host. Why? Because if you violate those terms, your site could be taken down. Now, you may not know why your site has been taken down if you don't read the TOS.

Where to Find the TOS

Before you sign any contract, you can find the TOS link at the bottom of most sites. Look for the link to the TOS page. Once there, you should see a list of terms that you have to abide by if you want to sign up with a particular company. These terms may be presented in an unclear manner that's marred with a lot of legal-speak, but it's still your job to figure out what each company is trying to get across (tough, I know!). These days, though, most companies are presenting TOS in a clear manner, so there's no ambiguity when it comes to understanding terms.

If You Don't Understand

If you think that you have been wronged by a hosting company or don't understand TOS, it is within your interest to hire a lawyer to figure this part out. Lawyers can be expensive, but not as expensive as facing a shut down site because you violated some terms that were outlined in a TOS. In this case, it doesn't pay to sign up with a hosting company and not understand the TOS. What happens if you did read the TOS, signed the contract, and the TOS was amended after the fact?

Your hosting company has to notify you of any TOS changes. At that point, the company also has to ask you whether or not you agree to these changes. If you haven't been notified of changes, and now you are in violation, you may have a case to present to a lawyer. However, please note that this information is not to be seen as legal advice in any manner. We suggest that you contact a lawyer to proceed in this case.

If you have any general TOS hosting questions, feel free to post those below. You'll also find lots of great hosting company reviews here on our site, so make sure to take a look!

Best Cheap Hosting Provider

Best Linux Hosting Packages

Which company provides the best Linux hosting packages?

linux web hosting

Let's take a look.

Top 10 Linux Hosting Companies

InMotion Hosting : this company provides basic features for Linux hosting for just $ 5.99 per month with unlimited bandwidth and unlimited disk space. They offer 2 websites in a single account with 2 MySQL database. Most importantly, InMotion is single hosting provider that offers a 90-day money back guarantee with complete customer support and best quality hosting.

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Arvixe Hosting : Arvixe is a multi-support hosting provider that has supplied the same services since 2003. To maintain the market value, Arvixe provides unlimited bandwidth, unlimited disk space, and unlimited email accounts for just $4.00 per month.

iPage Hosting : iPage still believes in affordable prices with the best features. Thus, this company is able to offer packages starting at just $1.89 per month (cheap web hosting provider). In its ‘Essential' plan iPage offers unlimited disk space, unlimited data transfer, unlimited domain hosting, free domain registration, free security suit and most importantly anytime money back guarantee.

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GoDaddy : a world famous and popular hosting provider that offers complete website services including design, development, and web hosting. GoDaddy provides both Windows and Linux web hosting with unlimited bandwidth, unlimited disk space, and unlimited domain hosting.

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Site5 : Linux packages start from $4.95 per month including unlimited disk space and unlimited bandwidth. Site5 provides their services in VPS hosting, reseller hosting, shared hosting, and cloud hosting with a 45-day money back guarantee.

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JustHost : for $2.25 per month (for 2 years min), this company offers unlimited disk space, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited domain hosting, unlimited email accounts, unlimited MySQL databases, and all essential features.

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HostMonster : With Host Monster, you will feel and get everything unlimited like: unlimited disk space, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited domain hosting, unlimited email accounts and many more. Apart from that,  can find solutions for e-commerce and multimedia features as well. Packages start at just $4.95 per month.

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BlueHost : this company supports various web hosting such as: PHP Scripting hosting, VSP hosting, WordPress | Joomla | Drupal | Linux hosting with unlimited disk space and unlimited bandwidth. Their affordable price and great customer assistance increase their value as well. They provide their services in just $4.95 per month. Other than PHP or Linux, Blue host supports RoR (Ruby on Rail), Pearl, MySQL, SSH, SSL, FTP and several CGIs.

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HostGator : Host Gator offers VPS hosting, dedicated servers, reseller hosting, and shared hosting. Their starting package is available for $3.96 per month. Host Gator's management team continuously provides better experiences to their existing customers and assurance of better customer support to their upcoming customers.

HostMetro : with high performance rates and 99.5% uptime assurance, Host Metro provides their services for just $2.45 per month. They offer max bandwidth, max disk space, unlimited domain hosting, unlimited email accounts and unlimited database with free domain, free SSL, free security suite, free website transfer and free SEO package.

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The above top 10 Linux hosting providers can be divided into best hosting providers, cheap hosting providers, best and cheapest hosting providers as well. Apart from these details there are several more features available with each hosting service.

Dream Host Gives Back: Here’s How

Every once in a while, a hosting company gains attention for all the right reasons. Dream Host is one such company. In addition to providing great packages and rates, Dream Host also does its part to help the world through charity work. Here's why DreamHost is on our radar today.

Dream Host: Charitable Donations

Dream host

A lot of companies offer charitable donations, but Dream Host does it all a bit differently. Each month, Dream Host picks a new charity to spotlight, and offers customers the chance to donate to that charity. At the end of each month, Dream Host then quadruples the amount of money raised, and all of those funds go towards that chosen charity. That's a pretty great way to give, right?

But, this company does more than that too.

Dream Host: Additional Giving

DreamHost also offers free hosting to many different charities in need through the company's non-profit discount center. The Dream Host sites states that the company offers free hosting to hundreds of charities in need. While it may not be something most webmasters think about, charities are often lacking the funds to create websites or invest in hosting company packages, so these organizations really need help from larger hosting sites like Dream Host.

Dream Host: Playing Your Part

If you are looking for a web hosting company to sign up with, Dream Host is a great option. If you have a few extra dollars to spare each month, picking a charity from the company's list is a great idea, and it will help with those in need. If you run a web hosting company, get in touch with DreamHost's HR department to find out how the company runs its charity setup. Or, start a charity donation program within your company.

Getting wrapped up in business is easy to do, but you can reconnect with the world and do your part by helping other people out – and giving your clients the change to donate to charities too. Plus, most donations are a tax write-off, and that's not something to shy away from. You can certainly give to others and add that donation to your taxes, there's no harm in that kind of a plan. The fact of the matter remains that you are helping charities that need those donations desperately, and that's a really good thing.

Dream Host: Free Offers

Another great thing that Dream Host does is offer a free trial for two weeks. If you're looking for an ethical hosting company to do business with, Dream Host is a great option. Plus, this company offers a ton of great packages to select from, so do make sure and take a look.

Screenshots: Can You Use Them?

Screenshots Utilization

ananova-menu Screenshots

If you run a blog or write for a blog, you're probably looking for ways to make that blog better every day. Part of making any blog post stand out is creating images that capture attention (and, hopefully, hold it!). You can grab images from a creative commons site like Flickr, find press kits on corporate blogs, and ask for permission to use certain photos – all are good methods. You can also take pictures yourself, but this is often hard to do when it comes to explaining certain topics.

Another great idea: take a few screenshots.

But, is this legal? And, what can you do to make sure the screenshots you're taking won't result in a legal notice?

The Lowdown on Screenshots

This is a really stick subject for a number of reasons. But, basically, if the screenshot you have just taken is used fairly, it's fair game. Let's explore that term a bit because “fair” is often subjective.

In the U.S., the ‘Fair Use' law applies when:

  1. You have good intent and purpose: if you are teaching, learning, criticizing, or reporting on news, your screenshot falls under the ‘Fair Use' category, and there's not much anyone can do about it. Of course, you do have to prove that you had are using that picture for one of these set purposes.
  2. How many duplicates you make: don't make ten thousand duplicates of the same photo and pass it around. If you make just one copy, you should be okay.
  3. Amount of copyrighted material: you can't take screen-shots of every page of a document – that's copyright infringement. You can, however, take a snippet screen-shot of a document. See the difference?
  4. Are you making money off of it. This one isn't as clear cut as it sounds. Essentially, the screen-shot that you post has to be used for one of the purposes listed above. So, if you want to post a screen-shot of, say, a Google Analytic s dashboard to show someone how to use Analytic s, you're okay – even if your company sells something.

Um, Now What?

So, now that you know what the laws are, you're probably asking yourself: sure, but can I actually use that screenshot I just took? For the most part, you can. If you get a nasty letter from an attorney telling you to stop using that screenshot (and you have done so legally), there's not much that they can do about it. But, this is not legal advice and should not be taken as so – just some friendly advice to help you get through the content jungle!

Also, you will find the Snaggy site very useful when it comes to, well, snagging screenshots. Just copy, paste, edit, and copy to your site. And, by all means, if you run a web hosting site and you want to take a screenshot of a product that you sell to teach your clients – do it! The more images your site has, the better off you will be!

Questions? Let us know!