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Cheap Website Hosting Questions

We all need a secure, high-performance ISP with a good reputation to host our websites. Here is some advice on how to go about it it, and a list of things to discuss with your website hosting company before signing up.

Cheap Website Hosts

Companies who host your website have all kinds of deals, many of them very cheap.  They often include free websites, though there may be restrictions.

However, many people don't know what questions to ask before signing up.

Our hosting package comes with the right answers to all these questions, all at no extra charge.

If we're to make your website, we'll look after the hosting for you.

And don't forget, if you're on a tight budget, you can make yourself a completely free web page for a local market using a Google My Business or Bing Business page.

The Hosting Sucks Test

One more thing. Before signing up with anyone, do what Americans call the "Sucks test." Here in the UK we tend to use the word "Problems".

google time searchGoogle the phrase, [your-website-hosting-company] problems. It helps to choose a recent time period, too, so you are not mislead by old data. To do this, click on Search tools at the top of the results page.

Questions to Ask Your Hosting Company

Click on any item in the list to display a short explanation of each potential problem. Click again to hide it.

Some ISP's expect you to get support from a forum, and charge for email or telephone support.

Our web host features regularly in the annual PC Pro awards for good service and support.

If you prefer no hassle, host your site with us we'll act as buffer between you and the techies. If you have a problem, call us or email and we say, "OK, we'll sort it."

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Your free website may be limited to a fixed number of pages and you have to pay extra if you want more. You might find other restrictions, like the number of images or types of page.

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Some on-line website editors require quite a lot of IT and Internet knowledge if you're going to use them effectively.

You update your BlueTree website using ezeSite, our CMS, or Content Management System. Anyone used to a word processor can use ezeSite.  It handles all the Internet and IT issues behind the scenes so you don't have to worry about them.

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Many hosting contracts won't let you move your free site to another web host. You have to start all again on your new host's server.

Moving host also requires a knowledge of DNS, the Domain Name System. You'll need to change your entry to point it at the new location.

If you want to leave our hosting package we'll unload your website and send it to you, so you can hand it to your new web designer. We'll also release the DNS when your site is in its new location.

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Metatags help search engines to work out what your site is about and which page to serve. These tags can be tricky to update with some websites. You may need to waste time learning more than you want about HTML.

What you write in the tags can affect the way search engines view your site.

You normally have to pay extra for an SEO package if you want to change these tags.

It's free and it's easy to update these tags with BlueTree's ezeSite content management system.  We'll explain what you need to put in them, too.

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The unique name of the page on the Internet is important for search engines. It gives them a clue about the content, so we need to put our keywords in it. A page number or code is no use.

Sometimes you have to pay extra for an SEO package if you want to be able to specify page URL's. Not so with BlueTree's ezeSite CMS.

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A good way to encourage search engines to like your site is to start a blog.

This requires code on the website, and access to a database, for which you may be charged extra.

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Social media, like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are important in promoting your business on-line.  Blogging engines like world-leader, WordPress, have add-ons that integrate these services. You can put links on your web pages, too.

It would be a pity if your hosting package doesn't allow it, or charges extra.

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It's easy to add a broken link when updating your own website, even if it's only for a while.  Your host may display an advert when this happens, and you lose your potential customer. At best, this is an advert for your web host. At worst it can contain ads for other companies, even one of your competitors.

We always recommend you have a custom error page which apologises for the error and suggests what to do to keep the visitor on your website.

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The control panel gives you access to all an ISP's services. This is where you control everything, including email set-up, web page redirects, error pages and so on.

Control panels vary widely in usability, from very simple to downright awful. We've come across some very counter-intuitive designs. These waste time and usually mean you'll be testing the ISP's support desk sooner rather than later.

Both our ISP's use cPanel, an Open Source system. Pity every ISP doesn't use it.

BlueTree ezeSite customers don't have to worry about any of this, we manage this for you.

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Search engine analytics store information about who visits your website, what pages they looked at and how they found it. This is very useful for developing your website and making it work to its full potential.

You need to be able to install code on your website to allow them to work.

Ask how easy this is, and if it costs extra.

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StatCounter is another site visitor analysis tool. It provides some features over and above those delivered by search engine analytics tools.

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Search engines provide tools that indicate how they see your website. You have to install code on your website to allow them to work. They're not essential, but they help you keep your website in tip-top condition.

Again, the questions are, "Can I?" and "How much?"

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Search engines use web page load speed as one of the many factors when selecting top-of-the-page results. To get the fastest page loads we need access to settings usually hidden by ISPs.

Here's how to check an ISP's page load speed.

  1. Find a friend who uses them, and look at their website;
  2. Click here for how to check page load speed.
  3.  

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Contention ratio refers to the the number of other websites sharing your connection to the Internet. Ours is 5:1, meaning that four other website servers share our connection.

Page load speed is important for search engines, so the lower the better.

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Here are four good reasons why hosting in the UK is important.

  1. Search engines use your location to provide results tailored specifically for you. If you don't always log into your Google or Microsoft account when searching, they will use your ISP's IP address to work out where you are. Now this may not be in your town, but at least it'll be in the UK.
  2. If your customers include government departments, they'll insist data you hold about them is held in the UK.
  3. Even at the speed of light, it takes longer for your website data to cross the Atlantic twice than to to travel to and from from an ISP in the UK. See page load speed, above.
  4. You may be sure that your website contains nothing to upset any foreign government, but thanks to Mr. Snowden's revelations, we all now know that US government agencies collect and examine all Internet traffic going through America. We also know how prone officials are to making mistakes...

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BlueTree websites are all hosted on secure servers in the UK, at Britain's first certified Carbon Neutral® ISP, Memset.

Green credentials are becoming more important in marketing and image building, and every little helps.

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no such thing as a free websiteThere's no such thing as a free lunch, Anon.
There's no such thing as a cheap website hosting package, either.

Murphy's Law, "What can go wrong will go wrong," Captain Edward A Murphy, USAF, 1978.

Murphy's Law applies as much to websites as to anything else in business. Make sure you choose a hosting company with a good, highly-rated support service.

More questions?

Call BlueTree now on 0117 339 0095.

 

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