How to Choose a Reliable Web Host for Your Business

The most common complaint I hear from new clients is “I think need a new website because my site is slow, or is down all the time.” But in most cases, the problem isn’t the website, it’s who they’ve chosen as their web host. When I ask these clients who they’re hosting with, it’s almost always GoDaddy, FatCow, Hostgator, or any of the atrocious EIG subsidiaries like BlueHost, HostMonster, Arvixe and Site5.

Why Shared Hosting is a Bad Decision

The biggest suggestion I can make, is that it’s important not to go with a “shared” hosting service. These are hosts that normally charge anywhere from $2-$20/mo for website hosting. I call this “communist hosting” because they jam hundreds of users onto the same server and make them share the server’s (limited) resources.

Granted, this shared setup makes the monthly cost appear cheaper for everyone, but if someone happens to be running a porn site on your assigned server (which you’d never be able to know beforehand) and that website is maxing out the server’s resources with their hundreds of thousands of visitors and adult video downloads, everyone else’s site will experience severe slowness or complete blackouts due to this. If you choose to remain on a host like this, your business’s SEO is going to suffer tremendously, because Google discriminates against slow websites and websites with frequent outages.

If you plan to have a WordPress website (which most people choose to do these days, because it’s open source, easy to use, and can accommodate those with limited web experience) then I would recommend WP Engine. (Be sure to use our 20% off promo code to save yourself some coin.)

Why I Recommend WP Engine & Other “Managed WordPress” Hosts

WP Engine constantly monitors your website to make sure things are running properly. They’re hosting experts, but they are also experts in WordPress, so if you ever find yourself struggling with any (and I mean ANY) aspects of your website, hosting-related or not, they will dedicate their time to help you through it. This is priceless, especially if you have limited web experience.

Their hosting services start at $30/month, but the speed, free SSL encryption, nightly automatic backups, and expert support team makes the cost a no-brainer, especially when you’re running a business and don’t have the time or knowledge to troubleshoot web issues.

A Warning To Those Who Aren’t Web Experts

Hosts like GoDaddy are tremendously tedious to manage for people who aren’t web professionals. Yeah, their $5/mo hosting sounds great, but when something goes wrong, they can’t (and won’t) help you. It may cause you to have to rebuild an entirely new website or hire a professional for $120/hr to troubleshoot problems, all because you wanted to save a few bucks each month.

On average, troubleshooting a website problem takes about an hour of time. If you hire someone for an hour to troubleshoot, the $120/hr you’ll spend on a web professional will completely obliterate what you thought you’d save by hosting for a year with GoDaddy and the like.

So there you have it. If this info is able to help you or anyone else out there that is shopping for a reliable web host, I would like to save you (and your web designers) the hassle and heartache of dealing with these low-quality hosting providers. Because, the truth is, they’re not actually saving you anything.

How to Setup FTP in Dreamweaver

In order to begin managing a new or existing website’s files on a remote hosting server, you must know how to setup FTP credentials into a file management software, such as Adobe Dreamweaver or FileZilla.

For newbies, FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol, and is a method of transferring files from one host server to another over a TCP-based network, such as the Internet. A common example of this process in action, is a web designer drafting new code for a website and uploading it via FTP to store on an online hosting server like WP Engine.

For more information about understanding the basics of FTP, read the University of Indiana’s brief introduction.

This FTP setup tutorial will simply be confined to using Adobe’s Dreamweaver (Creative Cloud Version), however, these simple concepts can be applied to any previous versions of Dreamweaver, or an alternate file management software.

Let’s begin, shall we?

How to Setup FTP Connections in Dreamweaver

  1. Within Dreamweaver, access the Manage Sites window by clicking Site > Manage Sites… from the top toolbar menu.
    This window allows us to view a list of saved site credentials we may have already entered, as well as allow us to input new site access information. You may double-click on any item within the list to edit an existing site’s details.
  2. To input FTP information for a new site, click the “New Site” button found at the bottom-right of the Site Management window. This will prompt the Site Setup window to appear, where we’ll enter the basic details for our new site.
  3. Under “Site Name:” enter the domain name of your new site.
    Be sure to include its extension, but exclude the “http://” or “www.” prefix (ie. “yourdomainname.com”)
    I recommend using all lowercase characters, to minimize errors, as web servers handle capitalization differently.
  4. Create a folder for your site cache
    From just beneath Site Name, locate and select (or create) a new folder for your site’s backup files (web cache) to reside. I recommend titling the folder with your domain name and its extension (ie. “yourdomainname.com” )
  5. Before saving the details, select the “Servers” tab
    The Servers tab is found on the left side of the Site Setup window. This section allows us to setup or edit the remote server connection.
  6. Click the plus sign (+) in the lower left corner to set up a new remote connection.
    • Title your Server Name exactly as you named your domain in the initial setup (ie: “yourdomainname.com”)
    • Opt to connect using FTP in the dropdown menu below
    • The FTP address will typically be “ftp.yourdomainname.com” but may also be “yourdomainname.com” if errors occur.
    • The Username and Password will be the same as you created with your web hosting account (I prefer WP Engine).
      If you have trouble remembering your login credentials, you can always obtain them from your web host, but they typically send them in an email upon creation of your account.
    • The save button next to the Password allows you to save the password for future connections.
      If you are on a trusted computer, always check this box.
    • The Root Directory is typically “public_html/” however, you may also try just a slash “/”.
    • Your Web URL is the complete domain name of your site (ie: “http://yourdomainname.com”)
    • Click the “Test” button to attempt to create a connection with your remote server.
    • If you receive a “Successful Connection” message, save your details and exit the Server Setup menu.
  7. Click “Done” to close out of the Manage Sites window.
    The Files panel will now display the content of the local folder setup
  8. You have now successfully created a connection to your web host!

If you have received any errors within this process, your host may require specific settings in order to connect. In this case, I’d recommend Adobe’s detailed help, or searching your host’s website to obtain proper configuration details.

And nevertheless, if you’re still struggling with this process, or any of the concepts involved, send Bytesize Media a message. We’re always happy to help your business with its web design services, so that you can spend more time getting more customers!

Until next time!