For the much harassed high street business owner this of course comes down to their postal address and the building situated there.
Online we have of course the digital equivalent, your domain which is your address and the web presence found at that address which of course like the high street premises is the place where you welcome potential customers into your world.
Thankfully this digital equivalent is far less expensive to setup and operate but of course with this comes the issue of selecting the most appropriate options for you and your business.
I have tried several hosting services but over time and thanks to many recommendations I now find myself using HostGator and today I want to start discussing the hosting service they provide.
As they have a large range of services to promote and grow your business, this page is going to grow over time.
To make finding the information you want easier use the links below to jump to the relevant section.
following video is going to be the first of several and provides a short over view of their service. Of course if video is not your thing, below the video I summarize the main points.
- Web Hosting: Shared; Virtual Private Server; Dedicated Server
- Reseller Accounts: Not recommended
- Domain Registration: Not recommended
- Application Hosting: Content Management Services; ecommerce via Magento, Wiki sites; Forums
- Cpanel hosting management
If you are currently using a reseller account then I recommend that you switch to an unlimited account today.
Perhaps you think that making this switch will be too expensive, well the video above and the fact that you can start for under $4 per month with Hostgator proves the lie to this assumption.
Give your online business the hosting it deserves by clicking on the image below.
This is where we get into the meat and bones of the Hostgator service which is of course hosting your domain content.
There are 3 types of hostings you can select from and the video below takes you through how to set up your hosting and the benefits of the other options.
Thus in short your first Hostgator website will become your main domain, each of the subsequent unlimited Add On Domains will be hosted under this main site.
- Addon Domains will be the most common form of hosting you use, each of these sites requires a dedicated registered domain.
- Sub domains such as startinganonlinebusiness.increasedgrowthonline.com, are great for emphasising both your offer and your domain, whilst organising your sites into logical sections. They do not require a dedicated domain registration.
- Parked Domains, I have not yet used but have seen them used. In short they allow you to use multiple domains to host the same or similar content, perhaps a dedicated site for your regional customers. The reason for using this type of hosting is that it allows you to extend your contents search potential without creating new content. I mention Google Webmasters in the video, you should register your sites with this service as it will allow you to specify amongst other things the geo-targeting of your sites.
- Redirects, will anyone remember your blog post url? This is where redirects or as they are more commonly known, url shorteners come into play. By sharing the short url, the visitor will be redirected to the long url that contains perhaps your blog post or affiliate link.
- DNS Zone Editors, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, Domain Name Servers translate the alphanumeric urls we use daily into the numeric urls used by the hosting server. Do not adjust these unless you have more than a little knowledge on the potential disasters you could create, I speak from experience!
With a domains content hosted on HostGator, the next step is to allow the world to engage in conversation with the online community. The simplest way to do this is of course via email. Click on the image below to play the video and discover what HostGator’s Mail services can do for you.
Hostgator includes comprehensive videos on how to setup all of the most common desktop clients, so these are not mentioned in the video however
- Email, you can have as many POP3 email accounts as you like, it is not advised to use IMAP as you will quickly hit process limits. Running processes is the most important limitation to consider when using Hostgators services
- Webmail, read your mail on the go without having to setup an email reading service. Of the 3 options, Squirrel Mail is the one I use, as they have the best message management options.
- SpamAssassin, lowers the amount of unrequested email that you see in your inbox and has a very simple user interface, there are other services you can use alongside this but that discussion is for another time.
- Forwarders, once you have multiple domains or social profiles, its a great time saver to have all the messages delivered to group email addresses perhaps for all your Twitter profiles or domain reports.
- Account Level Filtering, this works alongside SpamAssassin and will allow you to automatically block specific message patterns, such as those flagged by SpamAssassin.
- Email Trace, in the video this is not explained clearly. By using a trace you can see how a message would be delivered to a specific address, it is not for checking the journey of any actual message being sent. This could be a useful diagnostic tool if a specific email address is not getting your messages.
- Import Addresses/Forwarders, if you are moving to Hostgator then this will allow you to get your email service personalised quickly and simply.
- Email Authentication, inbound options are best to be avoided as this will create a new service that you have to manage, outbound will help to reduce the likelihood of your email addresses being hijacked. I have left the settings here to their defaults.
- MX Entry, if you have your email hosted on a separate server this will allow you to redirect the mail to this alternative server. This is not a service I have used as Hostgator manage all my sites and mail accounts.
With your domains content hosted on Hostgators servers and with the ability to contact others its now time to consider how you will measure your success.
All analytic programs offer a wealth of information that will soon overload your senses if you are not clear on what trends you are looking for within these data streams. Perhaps its the number of visits, the amount purchased or the file download count all of these can be tracked but your definition of success and what you choose to measure this by can be achieved via your Hostgator Cpanel as illustrated in the video below.
As you can see there is a wealth of information to define your success by, the one you choose will be determined by your goals and the type of site you are managing.
There were several services I omitted from the video, below I clarify why this was
- Webalyser FTP, is a repeat of the Webalyser site report but centered on your FTP activity, maybe useful if you have many content contributors.
- Raw Access Logs, these are apparently plain data reports compressed using GNU zip, I say apparently because I could not find a program that was capable of opening and displaying its contents.
- Choose Log Programs, this is not available to me most likely because I am on a shared server.
And finally a video that highlights the other services that Hostgator has to offer to make your site building even easier
If you are not hosting your sites with Hostgator then I recommend you make the switch today by following the link below.
HostGator Ambitions Unlimited Hosting