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Debunking the Top 10 Myths About Web Hosting

What is a web hosting? In layman’s terms, a web hosting simply defined as a service that makes your website viewable on the Internet. On a deeper level, the right web hosting choice will ensure that your website is capable to reach out to wider audience, increase your online business revenue, and gives you the help you need to ensure that you’re making the most of your online presence.

 

If you are new to web hosting and not sure how to choose the right hosting provider, then this article will assist you greatly because we will help you to separate the facts from the myths. In this article, we are going to expose the 10 biggest myths regarding web hosting.

 

Myth #1: You Need to Be an IT Expert to Use a Web Hosting

This statement may have been true when websites were built decades ago, but now it’s far from the case.

The truth is that many hosting providers now offer a huge benefit of a user-friendly interface with an easy-to-use hosting control panel such as cPanel and while graphic design prowess can certainly help to give you a one-of-a-kind high end site, there are several sites that make creating your own custom website or blog a piece of cake.

For instance, Joomla And WordPress are two of the most popular sites due to their ease-of-use, free guides, and support articles from users that are pretty much everywhere you look online.

Nowadays, you don’t even need to know how to code in order to create a dynamic site that runs on databases.  In essence, there are so many features already built in on existing platforms with graphic user interfaces that anyone even non-technical people can create a great looking custom site with just a few clicks.

 

Myth #2: If You Use a Windows Computer You Need Windows Hosting

This is the most common misconception among first time web hosting user. For your information, majority web hosting service providers offer both Linux and Windows servers. There are pros and cons to each, but this has nothing to do with the kind of computer or operating system you are using. The majority of web hosting plans actually use Linux, which is generally cheaper and commonly used among web hosting user. This is also perfectly compatible with a Windows based computer. So do not think that a Windows based computer will require a Windows server.

 

Myth #3: Every Web Hosting Provider Are the Same

If you have performed research on web hosting companies on Google before, you might have realized that majority of the ads from various web hosting companies almost offer the same hosting plans with similar prices. So why bother to shop for the best ones? Well, there is a significant difference among these companies which is the uptime factor.

What is an Uptime? Uptime is referring to the amount of time your website is online – a number ideally close to 100%. Many of these hosting companies promote 99% uptime but there are some which do not mention about uptime at all.  You should realize that a small difference in uptime percentage will affect your website negatively. Here’s a sample calculation between a 99.9% uptime with a 98% uptime.

98% = 28.8 mins/day – 3.4 hours/week – 14.4 hours/month – 7.3 days/year
99% = 14.4 mins/day – 1.7 hours/week – 7.2 hours/month – 3.65 days/year
99.5% = 7.2 mins/day – 0.84 hours/week – 3.6 hours/month – 1.83 days/year
99.9% = 1.44 mins/day – 0.17 hours/week – 0.72 hours/month – 8.8 hours/year

From the calculation above, you can see that your website will be offline for nearly 30 minutes per day or nearly 3.5 hours per week (for 98% uptime) compare to a short downtime period of nearly 2 minute/day or 0.17 hours/week (for 99.9% uptime).

Therefore, always find a host provider that has uptime guarantees of 99% and above!

 

Myth #4: Free Web Hosting is the Way to Go!

Reliability is a big difference between paid and free web hosting. When an issue arises, you would definitely need the comfort of a support team to get your problem solved. If you go with free hosting, you are essentially alone in your battle against inevitable complications. More disadvantages, like limited amount of hard drive space, should convince you not to pinch pennies with hosting. Therefore, always choose a high quality & reliable hosting provider and spend some money!

 

Myth #5:  Good Web Hosting Should Be Expensive!

While free hosting is not the bargain it may seem to be as discussed previously in Myth #4, that doesn’t mean you have to pay a lot for hosting. Some of the best web hosts, in fact, charge less than RM20 per month. For example, you can sign up for a top quality cPanel web hosting plan from ServerFreak for only RM190/year which works out for less than RM16/month ! In fact, you can save even more money if you sign up for their web hosting plan during special promotional period. While you should always look at the big picture, such as all of the features offered by the company and its overall reputation, you don’t have to pay top dollar to get the best service.

 

Myth #6:  Find Web Hosting Provider with Zero Negative Reviews

As they say “haters gonna hate”. The truth is that every hosting company no matter how great they may be – will have negative reviews.

For web hosting beginners searching for hosting, they may see a bad review, and move on to the next company’s reviews. If you finally find a hosting company with zero negative reviews, odds are they are just starting out.

On the other hand, large hosting companies with tens of thousands of customers, are bound to have a few negative comments. Don’t dismiss these comments, rather see how the company responds to them. If the majority of comments are positive, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.

 

Myth #7:  Need Some Hosting Experience to Manage a Website

This is far from the truth because managing a website has become effortless thanks to the expansive control panel that improve website functionality. For instance, the control panel cPanel allows you to create and manage your email accounts, FTP accounts, MySQL database, password reset, setup error pages, perform domain redirection and many more.  As you can see, it does not require any technical experience at all to manage your website – even if you’re beginner.

 

Myth #8: Host Both Your Domain Name and Hosting with the Same Company

Some web hosting companies like ServerFreak offer a free domain name with their web hosting plans. There are also domain registrars, such as Godaddy.com and Namecheap.com that offer hosting. While it can be convenient to get these two services from the same company, you shouldn’t make your decision on this basis. Domain name registration is not complicated therefore do not simply sign up for a web hosting with the same domain registrar because of convenience or laziness. Always seek the web hosting company that offers the most value.  If they happen to offer a domain as part of the package, that’s fine. But this shouldn’t be the sole reason you choose a web host.

 

Myth #9:  Many Hosting Companies Have Their Own Dedicated Datacenter

This is something that you might assume, but it’s not always the case. There is a good chance they are outsourcing this unless they state it explicitly that they have their own datacenters.  It is common nowadays for web hosting companies to use third party datacenters. However, outsourcing datacenters does not mean that the company is offering poor service. Meanwhile, there are definite advantages dealing with company that manage everything in-house.  A hosting provider that has command over their datacenter, hardware, and support is better equipped to provide you with exceptional help.

 

Myth #10:  Outsource Web Hosting

Some things are best done by yourself even though the idea of outsourcing everything is getting a lot of attention nowadays.  As discussed in myth#7, it’s now even easier to build and manage your website by leveraging the tools provided by the hosting company.

 

If you outsource this, you are setting yourself up for potential problems and unnecessary expenses. You will have to contact or call the person you’ve hired each time you need to perform simple changes – such as typo or misspelling fix. It’s much easier to get comfortable with logging into your own control panel and making the changes yourself.

 

Conclusion:

Regardless of whether or not you consider yourself to be an expert on web hosting, it’s a good idea to refresh your knowledge from time to time to make sure that you fully understand just how valuable website hosting can really be. Hopefully, this article has given you the insight you need to separate the facts from the myths in web hosting.

Top WordPress SEO Tips for New Businesses

For new business or website owner, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can seem to be a complex and foreign landscape, but it doesn’t have to be too complicated. In fact, there’s many small businesses (and anyone) can do without any great SEO knowledge, and without spending too much money.

In this article, we have broken down SEO into a few key areas to help make it more manageable. Let’s take a look…

 

1) Install an SEO Plugin

The first tip is to use an SEO plugin to perform content optimization on your WordPress website. To improve the position of your pages and posts in the search engines, there are several SEO plugins available to this purpose:

a)    Yoast SEO

The Yoast SEO is widely regarded as the most famous WordPress SEO plugin. There are free and paid versions of this plugin. For the free version, it provides control over your titles and metadata, breadcrumbs, social links, permalinks, XML Sitemaps and lots more. However, the enhanced features of this plugin such internal linking suggestions and Content Insights can be unlocked only in the paid version.

For a start, the free version of Yoast SEO is deemed sufficient enough for any new website unless you want the full bells and whistles of the SEO features. The free version allows you to type in the keywords you wish to rank for a particular piece of content. The plugin will check whether your keywords density is satisfactory or excessive, or placed in the right position of your article content. It will also offer advice on what to improve in order to boost your website ranking in the eyes of the search engines for specific keywords.

b)   Yoast’s Local SEO

This type of plugin is works differently compare to Yoast SEO. Why? That’s because Local SEO focus on the optimization process for the local results in search engines. That means the plugin takes care of your websites visibility in Google Maps. You should consider installing to Yoast’s Local SEO for WordPress premium plugin if you have a local business with physical premises. Another option is installing Yoast’s Local SEO for WooCommerce if you are running an eCommerce store alongside your brick and mortar shop. The benefit you gain from installing this plugin is that it helps you rank in the search engines for local searches, as well as enable you to easily insert Google Maps, contact info, a store locator and opening times into your WordPress website. Try performing a search on “Serverfreak” on Google and you shall see our company working hours, office address and Google Maps location.

 

2) Perform Keyword Research

Performing keyword research is definitely vital for new businesses. As a new business owner, you need to identify what your potential clients or customers are searching for online. Once these keywords have been identified, you can prepare or start writing your content, so your site ranks for these terms. Alongside with proper keyword optimization, these visitors will come across your site in the search engines when someone searches using these keywords.

In order to identify which probable keywords your visitors enter into the search engine, you need to use a keyword tool such as the Google Keyword Planner, which is a popular tool that allows you to type in keywords that are associated with your business. It will inform you about the monthly and yearly searches for these particular words.

Another important feature of Google Keyword Planner is it helps to find related phrases or keywords associated with your original keyword. You should then try and use these relevant keywords in your content to help your site rank for a variety of popular keywords that are compatible with your niche.

 

3) Performing Link Building Activity

Link building is definitely an important action that cannot be simply ignored when it comes to ranking a website. It is an important factor in the Google algorithm for ranking websites; therefore you need to add links to your site, both internally and externally. Over time links will organically happen, but as a new business you should also plan for how to receive links initially for your WordPress site.

a)    Internal Links

To help improve your website ranking in the search engines, adding internal links to your website is certainly a must. Internal links allows Google to find your site, identify and rank content. Internal links also make it easy for your visitors to find content and help increase the time that they spend on your site.

Wherever makes sense to link pages and posts, take advantage of this opportunity to add internal links to your WordPress website. As an example, you may include link to other relevant blog posts within an article. Another example is from your home page, link to pages where you want your visitors to go next.

b)   External Links

Gaining external links is referring to getting links back to your website from large, reputable websites. By link association, Google will determine that your website is important and this will help it rank in the search engines.

Writing guest post on other sites is a great way to generate links back to your website. You can do this by contacting other sites in your niche, similar businesses, industry online magazine and news sites, and any other relevant websites you can find. By writing guest posts for these sites you can leave a link back to your own site.

 

4) Keep Writing Fresh Content

Content is what will help you rank for your target terms. This means content on product pages, homepages and everywhere around the site, but a blog can also help.

A blog also allows your site to grow. This can be achieved by adding interesting and valuable content that will attract new visitors and recurring users. You may consider uploading different types of media, like video, podcasts, and webinars onto your blog in order to appease different audiences. Increasing the traffic to your website will be great to your business but increasing visitor numbers or website hits will also help with your website rankings.

To grow your blog and increase the chances of your blog getting ranked for numerous keywords, you can write each blog post targeting different keyword. This will allows your site to rank for a selection of varied keywords, and consequently reach a wider audience. The more interesting and diverse content you posts, the more likely you are to connect with new users.

 

5) Site Performance Optimization

Another method to optimize your website for the search engine is to ensure that your WordPress site is performing to the highest level in terms of loading speed and user friendliness.

a)    Monitor Your Site’s Speed

Search engines reward websites with higher position especially those that load quickly and provide a seamless user experience. If you want your site to earn higher position in the search engines, then you need to ensure your website’s loading times is short.

You may want to use Pingdom website performance management service if you are unsure how well your site is performing. The free version of this service will allow you to monitor how fast your site is loading. Pingdom is able to produce comprehensive reports to help you understand what type of content or files that are reducing your website loading speed and what you can do to improve load times. If you want to monitor your page speed on an ongoing basis, you may consider upgrading to their premium service.

b)   Improve Your Site’s Speed

There are 2 ways to improve your site’s speed – themes & plugins selection and choice of hosting. Firstly, look carefully at the theme and plugins you are using. A modern, fast loading theme such as WP Total, will immediately impress the search engines and help your site rank. Installing a few different plugins to your WordPress website such as caching plugin, image optimization plugin and lazy load plugin will improve your site’s performance and help you gain favour with the search engines.

Secondly, hosting your WordPress site on a high-quality web host is equally important. With the old saying ‘you get what you pay for’, definitely rings true. If budget is not a concern to you, always choose a high end hosting company like Serverfreak. ServerFreak web hosting offers WordPress Hosting plans which have an impressive track record, providing fast loading times for the numerous websites they host.

 

6) Develop Your Website Becoming Mobile Friendly

If you want your WordPress website to rank well in the search engines, therefore it’s important to use a mobile responsive theme on your website. Mobile responsive themes are now easily available in the marketplace, so it is wise to spend some money in getting one of these for your website. However, for those using an older theme, and are not yet ready to upgrade, then you need to install a plugin that optimize your site for mobile devices.

One of these plugins is called WPtouch which is a free and extremely popular WordPress plugin. When accessed by smartphone or tablet users, this plugin will automatically enable a mobile-friendly version of your website with ease.  A Pro version of this plugin is also available offering a variety of enhanced themes and providing you further control over the features and functionalities used and displayed.

Another method is to utilize Google’s Page Speed Insights tool that checks how well your site is performing on mobile devices. Simply type in your website and Google will give you a score out of 10 for your site’s mobile performance, and recommendations on what to improve.

 

Conclusion

For many new businesses, most of them don’t have the time needed to dedicate to SEO. If this is the case, and you have the budget for it, then it makes sense to bring in an SEO professional to help optimize your website. Hiring an SEO expert can be a great way for a new business to jumpstart their way into the search engines. Just make sure you do your research carefully before hiring.

However, if you have limited capital for SEO professional service, you may consider the above tips in order to improve your WordPress website site ranking in the eyes of the search engines.

What Are the 5 Common Web Hosting Problems Faced by Newbies

If you are a first time web hosting user who has just purchased a brand new web hosting account, you will feel eagerly excited and can’t wait to get started to toying around with your new “toy”.  You might already have your website content ready and it’s just a matter of time before you start migrating your files into your new hosting account. When migrating your site to a hosting platform, there are a few common issues you might encounter related to downtime, layout, displaying content, etc. These are some options to look into when facing such issues.

 

1. I have uploaded my website successfully but I’m seeing a “Coming Soon” text?

If you are seeing this message, there are 2 possibilities. First, your web browser is still loading an old version of your website. Secondly, you might have uploaded your website files to the wrong place on your web hosting. The solutions for both of these can be found below.

To fix the first issue, you just need to perform cache clearance on your web browser. Instructions on how to clear your web browser cache can be found here.

For the second issue, there are 2 methods you can use to fix this problem.

  1. Ensure you have uploaded your website files/images into the correct directory on your hosting account.
  2. Ensure you have uploaded a valid “index” file into that directory. The “index” file are commonly named as “index.html”, “index.htm” or “default.html”

 

2. The changes to my website aren’t displaying!

This is again caused by your web browser cache. A simple browser cache clearance and restarting your web browser will do the trick.

 

3. My website was up just now but now it’s down!

Sometimes when we have made new changes to our website, that action alone could have possibly caused our website down or disappear. However, we shall assume that it is not the case though. In other words, there is typically one of two things that have caused it:

  • Your hosting company’s server is experiencing downtime. The easiest way to find out the real cause is by calling them. Or you can find that out by using their online chat service. Serverfreak web hosting company has both telephone and online chat services available at your disposal whenever you need them.
  • Your Domain Name Server or DNS settings have changed! If you aren’t sure what that means, contacting your hosting company is a quicker way to solve the issue.

 

4. My website doesn’t display any of my images!

This is one of the most common issues faced by first time user. If all of your images are missing, there are two possible explanations:

  • The images failed to upload to your hosting account. A simple fix is to just try and re-upload them.
  • The images are uploaded into the wrong folder. To find out where they’re supposed to be, right-click the area where the image should be on your website and select an option like “Open image in a new tab.” The new tab that opens will show you the URL your website is using — move your images into that directory and they’ll start displaying.

 

5. My website’s layout looks completely wrong!

You can tell this is happening because your website does not display its original layout or design elements except for text. When this happens, we already know that the root cause of this problem is related to missing website’s cascading style sheet (CSS) file. Here are 2 quick fixes to this issue:

  • Try re-uploading your entire site. This will often catch a CSS file that didn’t get uploaded the first time.
  • If that doesn’t work, you’ll need to find out where your CSS file is supposed to be located and then move it there.

How to find where your CSS file is supposedly located? Here’s how to do it:

  1. Right-click your home page, and then select an option like “View source.”
  2. Toward the top of the page, find a line that looks like this: “your CSS file’s directory”
  3. Make sure that your website’s CSS file is actually in the directory listed in that line.