UPDATE: I’ve corrected the broken links (especially the internal ones, in the Table of Contents), and added a link to the WAVE tool (thanks Matt!) I'm proud to share with you a list of almost 200 of my favorite blogs, guides, resources, tutorials and tools on web entrepreneurship, which I've been constantly using for years. I hope many of these websites become useful assets to you as they are for me. I've broken them down for you into 7 parts:Web Design Web Analytics Keyword Research Project Management HTML5 + CSS3 E-Commerce Web Accessibility
Over the past several months we've spent on creating Host Advice, we've been constantly asking ourselves countless questions, most of which have helped us figure our creative solutions to many problems we’ve been facing. We simply asked each other non-stop questions - and solved them together.
It was almost like a little game for us, and coming up with smart questions and figuring them out became almost an addictive and very rewarding pass-time. The result of this continuing mental exercise was the website you’re on right now – one that is far better than what we have initially envisioned.
It often happens that a web project starts to grow very fast. In such cases, the project manager may be not ready for improving hosting parameters, and that can cause troubles. The most popular and flexible solution for ambitious fast-growing web projects is cloud hosting—the possibilities are just unlimited.
Cloud Hosting and How It Works
In simple terms, a cloud is a number of interconnected servers that redistribute the overall traffic load among themselves. That works easily — several servers just have the same data. So, let's imagine there are 20,000 users checking a certain webpage. Some 10,000 will access website data hosted on one server, while the other 10,000 will get it from another rack.
Looks easy, right? But if you dig deeper, you'll discover a number of cloud hosting plans — and all of them will have different functions and applications. Read on to find out more about the most common cloud hosting types.
Cloud Hosting Types
If you browse the web, you'll see that most web hosts have such cloud system types: public clouds, private clouds, hybrid clouds and managed clouds. Different web host companies have different pricing systems. So, let's take a closer look on every of cloud options to understand what would be the best solution in case your dedicated plan is not enough:
Public clouds are the most popular cloud offered on the market, as well as the cheapest one. The main idea of public clouds is similar to that of shared hosting: you get a part of a huge cloud with truly unlimited resources. However, you have to share that cloud with a range of other web projects. We can't say that's a big disadvantage, but the loads go redistributed all the time, which may cause a performance slowdown.
Public clouds are very popular. Even the cheapest offers will grant you a set of new possibilities when compared to dedicated solutions. The most important feature of the clouds— the on-demand access to information — is also available in public solutions. Additionally, if you choose a proper pricing system, this type of cloud hosting can also cut your costs.
If you purchase a private plan, the whole cloud will be yours. That is especially good in terms of security and stable performance. Also, private clouds allow more flexibility — you can discuss some special adjustments with the hosting company. Private cloud solutions are not that widespread, so you will be treated quite well by the host's customer support services.
Technically, your plan will include a number of servers that will work only with your web content and only with your users/customers. However, remember that private cloud solutions are rather expensive. Most hosting companies don't show their private cloud prices, so you can negotiate — and a lot depends on how well you can do that.
Hybrid clouds combine several technologies at once. Different service providers will offer you a number of options. However, one of the best combinations is a cloud that takes the best from public clouds, private clouds, and dedicated servers. When in conjunction, these three technologies will give you pay-as-you-go scalability, enhanced security and ultra-fast performance. Sounds good, right?
Again, hybrid cloud prices are not public, so you have to file a request describing your needs to a number of cloud hosts in order to get a more-or-less adequate image of the market. If you really want to get an ideal hosting solution, it's worth spending your time on it.
Managed clouds are a set of services designed to save your time. Indeed, it will cost you more, but you will have a chance to invest your time into something more important. In fact, when you purchase a managed cloud, you get not only a number of servers, but also a team of specialists — systems administrator, support engineer, cloud specialist, database admin, among others.
In other words, ordering a managed plan is your chance to get a perfect cloud architecture faster than if it were built by your own team who may not have the necessary skills. Look for a day-by-day managed plan—that will help you save money after the basis of your cloud is created and you'll only need occasional support.
Cloud Pricing Models (Hourly and Monthly)
There are two common pricing models you will find among different cloud host companies: the month-based and the time-based model. In the month-based model, you just pay a certain price monthly, and don't mind of how many resources will be needed (or not)for the project.
The time-based model will only count the time you spend on modifying your servers. Let's say you install and adjust an OS on your servers and it takes you 2 hours. At the end of the two hours, you'll only need to pay for those two hours. The system looks really attractive, but the hourly prices rack up if you need services all day long, seven days a week.
If you are not planning to make improvements frequently, the hour-based model is great. You will also find a couple of cloud hosts offer hourly prices that are the same as the monthly prices divided by thirty days. That's a rare case; still, it's worth looking for such offers. The hour-based model is more common for public cloud solutions.
Different cloud types are not so hard to understand. On the whole, the model is the same, but with some changes. All you have to do is be attentive to your needs. Cloud hosts, in turn, will surely offer you a solution that can fulfill any needs you may have.
Our experts have compared the best cloud hosting platforms - Check it out here >>
If you start looking for a good hosting plan on the web, you'll see that most servers have Linux or Windows OSs pre-installed. That, however, may not mean anything to you. Let us offer some explanations so that you understand the difference.
If you ask us, what option is better — Linux or Windows — we won't give you an answer. As in many cases, it depends on what you need from your server. That's why it's always good to make a certain list of expectations before choosing a hosting package. Then you can compare this list with the capabilities of different OS, hosting plans, web hosts, and other considerations.
Operating System — It Matters
Of course, Windows and Linux servers, have different performance, security, pricing, database formats, and other features that will influence the functions of your hosting. Still, before getting to the controversial dimension, let's first discuss what the two have in common.
If you're planning to work with forms and dynamic content, both systems will provide you with CGI, a tool commonly used for working on shopping carts and other eCommerce solutions. MySQL, which is supposed to be a Linux format, can now also be processed by a Windows server, though it's still more common for Linux.
All You Want to Know About Linux Hosting
Indeed, Linux is extremely convenient. That's one of the main reasons why this OS is the most popular server solution. The convenience of Linux servers has three key components: MySQL, PHP, and price.
As we've already said, you can run both PHP and MySQL on Windows servers, too. However, these two formats work best when working together. Such a combination, in turn, works on Linux particularly well. The reason for this is obvious — Linux was originally used for PHP and MySQL, so the whole system of this OS is tailored to these two formats. However, you must know that PHP will also work with several other database formats, such as Oracle, PostgreSQL, Sybase, Solid, etc.
Linux is just cheaper. Most distributions of this OS cost nothing. Some OS versions like RedHat will have a number of special features created for better server performance, so they will have a price, but it's not really high as compared to that of Windows. Essentially, Linux is great for a start-up: you get a flexible system, popular coding and database formats, low price, and more.
Key Facts About Windows Server OS
If your web masters work with ASP.NET, you'll have to opt for a Windows-powered server. ASP.NET is similar to HTML and PHP, but it uses a different request processing scheme. You will also be happy to know that ASP.NET also works with different database types.
While it’s a common belief that the ASP.NET algorithm helps Windows servers to work with big databases faster, you will, in fact, hardly find any data to support that idea. You will also find many articles saying that Windows is less secure than Linux. This is also a myth. Linux also has a lot of security issues, and very often it depends on the rack and its support. So don't take such claims seriously.
Windows or Linux — What to Choose?
It’s up to you to make a choice between Windows or Linux. Both systems have advantages and disadvantages, and it mostly depends on if your web master can make maximum use out of server features. Remember: your server doesn't create websites; your web master does. So, listening well to the web master’s advice is probably the best decision when choosing between Windows and Linux.
Our experts have compared the best Windows hosting providers - Check it out here
Alternatively, check the best Linux hosting here
Every person owning a web project wants it to be successful. It's absolutely logical — the more visitors to your website, the more clients you'll get. One of the best ways to become popular on the web is to rank high in search engines like Google. When many web technologies work together on these ranks, it's known as Search Engine Optimization. Let's have a closer look at how it can help your project grow.
What Is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization, or just SEO, is a combination of services that take into account search engine algorithms. After certain actions, search engines like Google consider a certain website more popular and reliable. Therefore, its rank grows and you get more visitors that can be converted into contacts, clients, purchases, loyalty, or whatever you need.
Usually SEO experts work on several directions at once. Normally they will include special keywords into texts, buy links redirecting users to your website, work with text uniqueness, and improve a number of ranks, among other tricks of the trade. Depending on how popular your search request niche is, making to to the top ten ranking in Google, which reflects the most visited sites, may take between one week and one year.
Along with expert services, you can do some SEO work yourself. It is particularly great if you have a small startup project with a limited budget. Be aware that many startups became popular because they started SEO right after registering a domain. You can take the first SEO steps yourself, but later you will need a SEO manager, sine holding top positions in the rankings can be difficult.
SEO-Friendly Web Hosts — What Are They Like?
If you want to understand how SEO works, you need to first look at the early stages of web hosting. If you get good web hosting, it will be much easier to manage SEO tasks from the very birth of your website. Likewise, if you work on your skills gradually, you will improve your understanding of how it all works.
What features need special attention when choosing a SEO-friendly hosting plan? The four easiest features that you need for a good start are below—check them out.
Free SEO bonus
Some web host companies offer a Free SEO Bonus. It differs, but usually in such case you'll get 1 to 3 months of free SEO services. Later on, you can pay for renewed services. This option has a range of advantages. First, you get free SEO from the very beginning. Another bonus is if you decide to work with this SEO team later on, they will already know your project well. You also don't lose anything — even if the paid services are too costly, you can refuse it after a couple of free months. Still, this SEO bonus is not that popular — only a small number of web hosts offer such a service.
Google Ads bonus
Unlike the previous option, Google Ads bonus is quite popular. Many companies award every hosting plan with $50 for clients to start the promotion campaign right away. Moreover, Google Ads is an efficient SEO tool. Remember — the more people visit your website, the higher it will rank in search engines.
If you are not planning to create a complicated website, make it with a CMS (Content Management System) — that will help you a great deal. For SEO you will need adequate amounts of content. A CMS will help you generate and manage that content with great ease.
Put special attention on WordPress. This content management system has a lot of advantages. The plugins you can install on WP are also very good for SEO. Indeed, some plugins will add many important features like meta descriptions and page name, which will automate many processes, making SEO as easy as pie.
It is a rare case that a webhost offers you SEO support. Still, it's possible that the customer support of your web host will have good SEO skills and coordinate your SEO for a few months—just don’t bank on it.
More SEO Tips
We'd like to tell you about organic SEO and SMM. The main principle of organic SEO is to insert links into your texts so that your readers don't think they were put there on purpose, which will add a number of loyalty points. Finally, SMM, or Social Media Management, is another set of tools and services that will help your website grow very fast, especially when combined with SEO.
Remember, you can check a lot of articles on the web that will share main SEO principles with you. However, if you start thinking of search engine optimization during the web hosting selection process, it will be more familiar to you. Better understanding always gives better results. Good luck!
Our experts have compared the best hosting providers - Check it out here >>