Hosting your art website means your artist website has somewhere to ‘live’…
After you’ve chosen a name for your art website (see article here), you need to get hep to hosting it.
There’s a real quick and easy explanation of where WordPress websites live:
- Your website doesn’t “live” on your computer, even though you control it from your computer.
- Your website “lives” on a special computer called a server.
- When a website is on a server, it’s “hosted” on that server; meaning, websites are hosted on servers (exceptions need not concern us here).
If you read my previous article on choosing a website name, you’ll remember that there are companies, such as GoDaddy, that facilitate and take care of the process of naming your website. There are also companies, often the same companies, who will host your website for you.
Just to make things more complicated, there’s more than one kind of hosting.
There’re 4 kinds of hosting:
When you buy your domain name (see article), it’s a bit of a misnomer. You don’t own it so much as rent it, and you have to pay that company that registered it (hence the name ‘registrar’) for the right to use that name. Meaning, they “host” the domain for you, and you have to shovel over a few bucks every year.
But just because you registered a domain name with the company, that does NOT mean that you have to host your website with them!
In a lot of cases you can, as is the case with GoDaddy, but there are other options available…
This is where your emails happen. For instance, if you use Gmail, and I think that you should, you need to have your website name pointing from where you registered your domain name, to Gmail. A phone call to your registrar is all it takes. Then you can use a custom email name, in Gmail, like for instance [email protected]
I should point out that this is NOT the same as email marketing software; this is how and where people email you, not how you email people in groups (more coming on email marketing…!)
This mostly refers to videos, but can include photographs and music.
You don’t, in a strict sense, “Put videos on your website”, you put the video in specific places, like YouTube, Vimeo, Amazon S3, etc.
Then you just paste a line of code on you website (called an embed code) and your host server runs over and tells the video service to dish up the video. Not unlike a waiter running over to the bartender and ordering your drinks instead of having to mix them himself; he just delivers. Much faster, and a smoother experience for folks on your site.
Again, this is where your website lives. Hosting companies have different packages depending on your needs. The more data used, which usually means more traffic/viewers, the more it costs to host your website.
If you’re just starting out, or are making a fresh start, my recommendation is to use GoDaddy.
If you have much online experience, I can see that you’re hollering and waving your hands in protest at that recommendation, but for greenhorns, GoDaddy works fine to get them started. They can upgrade when they’re ready.
They can register your domain name, set up your email in Gmail, and host your website, and it can be done typically in just a few minutes, with you on the phone with them as they do it.
If you’re getting over a thousand visitors a month, or you need to have more sophistication to your online operations, you’ll want to upgrade hosting your art website.
You can even go so far as to have a dedicated server, meaning, that the only website on that server is you. But there’s quite a bit involved, and it starts around $600 a month.
That’s going to be overkill. But there are alternatives.
Like Cloud Hosting.
What’s Cloud Hosting?!
It’s hosting that’s “in the cloud”, meaning that there’s no ONE place your website or other information is stored. Your website is actually on several servers in various places around the world.
It’s how all the big ones do it: Facebook, Amazon, Google, etc. There’s no one place that hosts Amazon’s website; it’s all over the globe, on countless servers.
3 reasons to take the next step to Cloud Hosting
Speed is hugely important for 2 reasons:
- a slow website will cost you business, as people hate waiting for things to load, and
- Google rewards fast websites.
All things being equal, the faster website will show higher in the search rankings than the slower website. Google is obsessive about the user’s experience. They don’t want to take their users to a slow, crappy website.
To Google, milliseconds matter…
Think of it this way: if you’re in a shopping mall, there’re several ways you can exit and enter the mall. Now imagine there was only ONE door in the entire place, and everyone had to pass in and out that one place. And now it’s Christmas Eve…
Right, nothing’s moving fast; everything bogs down.
That’s kind of what happens with web hosting.
A person looking at your site means their browser is sending requests for information, and the server processes this request and dishes out whatever it is they’re looking at. Ideally, it happens in the blink of an eye, but the more traffic, the more requests, and now everything’s trying to pass through that one little hole.
But when you use cloud hosting, the people viewing your site can have it coming in from all sorts of places to maximize the speed and efficiency!
Also, viewers tend to get the closest server showing them, meaning that if someone in Australia is looking at your website based in Schenectady, New York, they’ll actually have the site “fed” to them from the closest server location, rather than have info bouncing halfway around the world (and taking its sweet time in the process).
Nothing stinks worse than having your online business grow, only to have a technical glitch crash everything on you (ask me how I know). A power outage, natural disaster, cyber-attack, equipment malfunction…you name it.
When your site is Cloud Hosted, there’s no weak spot. If one server gets shut down due to an earthquake or hurricane, the rest of the system around the world picks up the slack. Seamlessly. Automatically. You’d never even know.
You may have heard of “bots”, or “spiders”. These are small bits of software that rummage around the Internet doing various jobs. In fact, over 50% of all website traffic, is bots.
Most are good, some are very, very bad.
Google’s bots are good; they index the Internet to make it more useful for everyone.
Then there’re the Malware bots…they scour the web looking for vulnerabilities. They look for websites that haven’t been updated, or are using old software, or haven’t been set up properly.
Hacking isn’t personal
I can’t tell you how many discussions I’ve had with artists who seem to shrug off thoughts of security. They think “why would anyone want to hack my website?” They avoid dealing with security because they fear it’s too complicated, and it kind of is, and they find out sooner or later that their website has been hacked.
Getting your website hacked isn’t personal.. It’s not somebody out to “get you”; it’s bots scrambling around your site, finding weaknesses, and exploiting them.
Getting your website hacked isn’t personal.. It’s not somebody out to “get you”; it’s bots scrambling around your site, finding weaknesses, and exploiting them.Click to tweet
Except when it is…
The worst kind are DDoS Bots, which stands for “Distributed Denial of Service”. These bots flood your site with traffic, causing your website to crash. These ones do tend to be personal.
So when your website begins generating consistent revenue, I think you’d be crazy not to a) optimize it, and b) protect it by upgrading your hosting.
My 2 current recommendations for hosting your art website are SiteGround, and WP Engine. Here’s why:
I just changed The Colonel’s site over to Siteground, and it’s been spot on so far. It also has inexpensive hosting packages starting at just $3.95 a month!
And their customer service is very good.
The Rolls Royce of Hosting for The Average Person. I’ve used WP Engine for over 2 years as of this writing, and I couldn’t be happier.
WP Engine is tailored specifically for WordPress sites; it’s all they do.
I don’t claim to have a perfect understanding over how this website stuff works, but I know that when I phone WP Engine, I get a pleasant person who answers my questions and walks me through whatever I need doing – and without that snotty “pfhfhft…” attitude that some places have when dealing with someone who needs help with the basics.
I can’t recommend them enough.
WP Engine isn’t the cheapest solution, but it’s worth every penny.
And know I don’t have to worry about security, or whether or not the technical stuff about my website is “right” or “good enough”.
Speaking of security, WP Engine also has free SSL certificates! That alone can save you hundreds over hosting elsewhere!
I know it is, and the fact that it was easy – I phoned and THEY got everything switched over seamlessly and painlessly, making it a complete no-brainer.
Which suits me! 🙂
- We overwhelmingly recommend that you go with WordPress to build your site.
- BUT if you hate the techie stuff and want the easiest website possible, we recommend Shopify.
- If you want the added flexibility of WordPress and want some instruction, check out our WP 101 course.
- GoDaddy for registering a domain name, and for beginner hosting.
- Gmail for email.
- WP Engine for hosting your WordPress website.
Warning: DO NOT go for the “free” WordPress hosted site. You need your own domain name, not yourname.wordpress.com, you need yourname.com. Be professional! The first person that mentions the “free WP” hosting option in the comments gets excommunicated!
Read this if you want to know why free hosting is for schmoes… http://marketingtoolsforartists.com/false-economies/