Researching website options
October 1, 2009 7:03 AM   Subscribe

Researching options for all things website: hosting, domain name registration and DNS. Can you help me narrow it down?

Hello Mefites, this is my first ask.mefi question. I'm writing a report for a 'professional writing' course. We will be assessed on the quality of the writing, not the content.

Scenario: you say "I would like a website for my small company."
I say: "Well, you need content (I have this covered), a domain name, and hosting."

What do I say next? I know I can google web hosting providers, but there are lots! What are the good and/or popular companies out there?

I have on the list already: GoDaddy (my own domain bought through them, looking to change.)

These are companies I've seen mentioned on my journeys around the web, but I'd like more recommendations please.
posted by titanium_geek to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
With shared hosting, which is what I assume you're looking at, the majority of providers are roughly equivalent (Nearly Free Speech's payment model notwithstanding) -- acceptable uptime, all overselling space and bandwidth, etc. -- the main difference comes in the kind of customer service you get and how much you want to pay for it. You already got my two favourites, but I've had good experiences with Dreamhost and A Small Orange, too. When people recommend web hosting companies (still assuming you're only looking at shared), they will mostly be making personal recommendations based on their own experiences, you'll probably find.

I don't know as much about domain providers, but I suspect it's roughly the same deal. Personal recommendations: GoDaddy, Make sure you pick one that will remind you when your domain is about to expire.

One bit of advice: it's usually a good idea to keep your domain provider and your web hosting provider separate.
posted by nostrich at 7:20 AM on October 1, 2009

I used iPower for my hosting and got my domain through GoDaddy. I was happy with both, and if I hadn't neglected the site so badly that it became pointless to hang onto it, I'd still use them.
posted by desjardins at 8:18 AM on October 1, 2009

I've had a Dreamhost account for a couple of years, and love it. Very inexpensive, super feature rich, and great support.
posted by Laen at 8:36 AM on October 1, 2009

What do I say next?

It's not strictly part of the website, but you'd want to determine how to handle e-mail. Hosted at the same place as the website? Separate? Google Apps?
posted by kidbritish at 9:46 AM on October 1, 2009

One bit of advice: it's usually a good idea to keep your domain provider and your web hosting provider separate.
posted by nostrich at 9:20 AM on October 1

Could you explain why it's a good idea, nostrich? Just wondering if I should switch one of mine since they are with the same company right now.
posted by soelo at 11:06 AM on October 1, 2009 [2 favorites]

I usually use for getting domains.
but I am waiting to hear the scoop on getting hosting... many say but the reviews are not good... I see that has hosting too (and it looks pretty cheap), but I have never used it... any comments?
posted by Drasher at 4:40 PM on October 1, 2009

Response by poster: Anyone have some good sources critiquing various hosting/domain solutions?

Thanks for the help so far! nostrich, can you provide a cite for having hosting/name separately, besides common sense?
posted by titanium_geek at 7:06 PM on October 1, 2009

Best answer: Apologies for the late reply.

Domain registrars generally only offer web hosting as a sideline and can't be guaranteed to be good at it. It's usually highly oversold, meaning slow websites. (Because hundreds or thousands of other websites are loading from the same servers.) They generally don't offer the full suite of things you might expect from dedicated hosting companies, such as up to date PHP installations and phpmyadmin access, MySQL databases, access to a cPanel (or equivalent), basic things like MX records and mail forwarding, the ability to change domain nameservers and such, and just generally not having things you may or may not want -- your requirements will vary, etc.

On the flipside, if you register your domain from your hosting company, and at a later date want to change hosts, or you accidentally let it expire or whatever, it's going to be a lot more difficult to transfer your domain elsewhere than it would be if it was already separate.

Not to say companies can't manage both (I had good luck with Media Temple), but most can't. Approach with caution (and, preferably, a glut of glowing reviews from other customers).
posted by nostrich at 10:15 PM on October 2, 2009

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