My last post told you how to register a domain name for your website. But a domain name, URL, or website address isn’t a website any more than a street address is a piece of property. If your domain name is a street address in a phone book and your website is a house then your web host is the property the house sits on. In this post I’ll tell you in torturous detail how to sign up for a web hosting account. Shall we get started?
1. Click this link to IX Web Hosting to get started.
Why IX Web Hosting? Because we’ve tested them out and they’re cheap, reliable, established, have decent customer support (not stellar, but decent), offer both Linux and Windows 2003 Server virtual servers, make it easy to upgrade or downgrade, they have an easy to use control panel, and they have little perks, like dedicated IP addresses for every website, which is good for search engine optimization and other things.
Once you click on the link above for IX Web Hosting you’ll be taken to their homepage as seen below. Click on “Yes! Tell Me More” under where it asks “Experienced Web Master?” You may not be a webmaster yet, but you will be soon.
2. Choose your web hosting plan. You’re going to want either the Business Plus or Unlimited Pro web hosting plan. Trust me on this one. The Expert Plan is the super low-end plan that is great in rare situations, but I wouldn’t bother with it because you’ll end up wanting to upgrade within a week anyway. For most people the main difference between the Business Plus and Unlimited Pro plans will be that you get up to 8 domains with the Plus and 16 with the Pro. If you’ve got more than 8 websites you want to host on this account (yes! you can host multiple websites on this account! can you dig it?!) or think you’ll have more than 8 soon, sign up for the Pro. One other difference is that the Pro gives you unlimited server space, so if you plan on storing more than 300 gigabytes of files on this server you’ll also want the Pro.
3. Enter your domain name. Don’t worry, if you’ve got your website hosted somewhere else it’s not going to take over it and mess it up. Then click “continue”.
4. Select web hosting package details. “Wait, didn’t I already choose a hosting package?” Yes, you did, but you have to do it again. Don’t ask me why. There are some more details to pay attention to here, however. As you’re choosing the “product” you’ll have to choose between having a Linux or a Windows server. If you just bought your domain name and have never set up a website before and have no recommendations from anyone else about this stuff, choose a Linux plan. Choose a Windows plan only if someone has specifically instructed you to do so.
Then you can choose your billing cycle. Yeah, those prices they showed on the homepage only apply if you sign up for two years! I think most people choose to sign up for 12 months. You avoid the setup fee and get a discount, and 12 months isn’t all that long. Personally I have two accounts here (one Linux and one Windows) and I signed up for two years because I’m pretty sure I’ll be longer than that. Switching hosting providers is a pain and I’m already pretty sure I’m going to be happy with IX for a long time to come.
You’ll notice that it tells you the total price you’re going to pay just below where you select the billing cycle.
Once you’re done there fill in your contact information.
5. Finish filling out billing/account information. That was a long page, so I divided it into two steps. Finish filling out your billing information, then choose some FTP information. Any old username and password will do, and they will email all this information to you later, so you can write it down if you’re paranoid or just wait for the confirmation email.
Check the terms of service box.
Then submit your order. There is no turning back, so make sure you’ve got it all right before you click that button.
6. You’re done! There you go. All done. You’ll get an email with all the information on how to login to your account in a few minutes. It generally seems to take 5-10 minutes, maybe a little more sometimes, to get the email. Be patient.
Next, I’ll tell you How to Configure My Domain Name Settings for my Web Host.