HostGator Web Hosting Blog | Gator Crossing

HostGator Blog

Web Hosting Made Easy!

  • What Is Web Hosting?

    Monday, June 5, 2017 by

    What Is Web Hosting

    What is Web Hosting?

    HostGator Snappy thumbs upDo you have something you want to share with the world? Awesome! There's never been an easier time than now to share your creativity, products and ideas with people anywhere in the world. There's no scribe, town crier or carrier pigeon required, although we know an alligator who's happy to guide you through the process. Creating a website is easier than most people expect it to be. Before we go over the steps involved, it's helpful to think about exactly what you want your website to do for you.  

    How Can A Website Help Me?

    1. Publish a blog. Whether you're sharing your thoughts for fun or profit (or both), you need a website to serve as a home for your blog. 2. Build your business. Most people look online for places to shop, so a website is a must if you want customers to find you. 3. Show off your portfolio. If you're a freelance photographer, writer, web designer, or another type of independent worker, an online portfolio can show prospective clients what you do and why they should hire you.
    portfolio website hosting  small business website hosting  Blog website hosting Feeling inspired yet?
      Next, we explain how you get a website for your business.  

    What Do I Need to Create a Website?

    You need to get three things to set up your site: a domain, a web host, and site content. If this is all new to you, it may help to think of the process like throwing a house party only you’re starting by building the house.   Domain name is like a street address1. Your Domain Name Step one is choosing and registering a domain. Your site domain is like the lot where you’ll build your site. Every domain has a name, just like every house has a street address, so visitors can find you. 2. Web Hosting Next you’ll need choose a web hosting service to take care of the construction and wiring. Your web host provides the space, access, hardware, and security your site will need. 3. Site Content When you have a domain and a host, you’re ready to put up content to create your site. This is the step where you choose a template to organize site content like your portfolio, an online shop, a blog, and more. Think of it as furnishing your new house to delight your visitors. When all that’s in place, you’re ready to throw a housewarming party and launch your site. With a reliable web host taking care of access, storage, and security, you can focus on making your guests comfortable and helping them find what they want.  

    How Does Web Hosting Work?

    Your web hosting provides four basic things: Web hosting is like parts of a house1. File storage: The image, text, and design files that make your website look like it does are stored on a server – a computer maintained by your web hosting service. These files are sort of like your party décor, music and snacks – the reason people come to your house parties. 2. Hardware: The server where your website files are stored is usually one of many servers  stored together in a data center. Keeping all this hardware in one place makes it easier for your web hosting service to keep it up to date and running properly. Hardware is like the furniture, lights, and plumbing in your own home. 3. Uptime: The amount of time when your site files are available to visitors is “uptime.” Uptime of 99.9% is the industry standard for web hosts. You don't want guests to drop by and find that your website is unavailable, just like you don't want party guests to find your house locked and empty when they arrive. 4. Security: On the internet, pranksters and criminals are always trying to break into servers, files, and sites to cause mayhem or steal data. Your web host's security measures protect your site from break-ins, just like your home security system keeps people from breaking into your house. A good web host will also include other services and tools that make setting up your site easier and faster, like:
    • Round-the-clock live support so you can work on your site anytime and get help if you need it.
    • Free templates for your website so you can create a professional looking site in just a few clicks.
    • Video and written tutorials to answer your detailed questions.
    • Domain and WHOIS privacy registration services.
    • Shopping cart tools to help you start selling online.
    • Unlimited email hosting so you can create professional email addresses for yourself and your employees or blog contributors.
    • Spam filters, because who wants spam?
    • Automatic site backups to protect your site files as your website evolves and grows.
     

    How Much Does A Website Cost?

    As versatile and powerful as websites are, they're also remarkably cost-effective compared to other marketing methods throughout history. For less than $5 per month you could get
    • 5 pounds of feed for carrier pigeons (pigeons and messages not included).
    • 50 large postcards to mail to prospective customers (postage not included).
    • Your very own website with the potential to reach more than 3 billion internet users.
    Cost of web hosting Does a website seem like a better fit for you than postcards or pigeons? We agree.  

    Do I Have to Pay for Web Hosting?

    Can you use a free hosting service instead of getting your web hosting? You can, but you're taking a risk that the free service may shut down your site if...
    • you run afoul of their rules,
    • people complain about your site, or
    • something happens outside your control that takes the service offline.
    It's like trying to throw a party at your parents' place: Their house, their rules. What did they always say? “When you pay the bills, you can make the rules.” There you go. There are other potential problems, too. Having the free hosting brand's logo on your pages and in your URL makes your business look amateur to visitors. If you won’t spend money on your business, why should they? Limits on bandwidth from free site builders can cause you to miss sales if a product or promotion goes viral. Don't limit yourself or your site. Choose web hosting that supports your goals as your business grows.

    Ready to set up your site?

    Get started with HostGator. Buy HostGator Web Hosting
  • What Type of Web Hosting Do I Need?

    Monday, June 5, 2017 by

    What Type of Web Hosting Do I Need

    Choosing the Right Type of Web Hosting

    In a previous post, we looked at the three things you need in order to set up a website for your blog or business:
    1. Web hosting: file storage, security, and bandwidth on a server maintained by the hosting service
    2. A domain name: the address where visitors find your site
    3. Content for your site: the fun/profitable stuff like your shop, blog, and portfolio
    Now we're going to look at hosting in more detail, so you can compare the types of web hosting available and choose the best fit for your goals, budget, and technical skill level.

    You can choose from 5 main types of web hosting

    If reading those terms makes you want to head to the pool for a procrastination break, don't worry. We brought the pool to you – as a metaphor for your web hosting options. Let's dive in.  

    Shared Hosting

    Shared HostingThink of shared hosting as a neighborhood pool pass for your website.

    Pros of Shared Hosting

    For a few bucks, you get to use the Olympic-size pool without having to do pool maintenance and upgrades. If you like to go for the occasional swim, don't mind crowds from time to time, and host  small parties that comply with the pool manager's rules, shared hosting may be the option for you.

    Cons of Shared Hosting

    Because shared hosting means your site shares a server with many other sites, those sites' traffic volume and security practices can affect you. If you're hosting a water meditation class and five busloads of kids arrive for a field trip, your tranquil vibe may be disrupted. If another swimmer brings a glass bottle and it breaks in the pool, everyone has to get out while the lifeguards clean up the mess. (That pool user will likely be asked to leave, just as shared server users can get booted for breaking the rules.)

    Best for...

    Dipping your toes in the waters of the internet. Shared hosting is inexpensive, so it's an easy way to try setting up and running your site without spending much money. If you decide you need your own server/pool later on, upgrading is easy.  

    Cloud Hosting

    Cloud HostingCloud hosting is like having your own VIP waterpark pass.

    Pros of Cloud Hosting

    Cloud hosting lets you access the features you need when you need them by using resources from multiple servers – again, without the high cost of a dedicated server. It's like being able to skip the waterslide lines and bring as many guests as you like on the log flume, because cloud resources make it easy for your site to scale, handle traffic spikes, and load super fast.

    Cons of Cloud Hosting

    If you're the sort of technical-minded person who'd rather build your own waterpark, cloud hosting may not be your best fit because it doesn't give you root access for customization.

    Best for...

    New site owners and small business owners who want to wow visitors with fast load times and handle traffic peaks during sales seasons without a lot of technical work on their part.  

    Managed WordPress Hosting

    Managed WordPress Hosting Managed WordPress is like having your own personal trainer at the neighborhood pool.

    Pros of Managed WordPress Hosting

    Managed WordPress hosting makes your WordPress site load faster, look better, and easily handle big jumps in site traffic. It's like having an expert trainer guide you through improving your swimming form, lap times, and endurance in the pool. If you run into trouble, you've got support right there ready to help.

    Cons of Managed WordPress Hosting

    Your site must use WordPress as its content management system to use managed WordPress hosting. Some WordPress plugins are disallowed if they create security issues, hamper site performance, or are redundant, so you'll have to stick with the (many) allowed WordPress plugins.

    Best for...

    New site owners and small business owners who want the choice and flexibility of WordPress templates, themes, and plugins for their site plus extra site security and expert technical support from their web host.
    • Pro tip: For first-time site owners and brand-new small businesses, both managed WordPress hosting or cloud hosting are affordable options that offer support, flexibility, and a solid foundation for growth and success.
     

    VPS Hosting

    VPS HostingVPS hosting is like having part of the neighborhood pool reserved just for you.

    Pros of VPS Hosting

    VPS partitions off part of a shared server for your use, like having your own reserved space within the larger shared pool. That keeps your costs down and gives you freedom to do what you like in your own pool area, even if the rules for swimmers in the rest of the pool are different.

    Cons of VPS Hosting

    Other activity on the server can affect you, and you don't have access to the whole server's resources. If there's a Super Soaker battle in the general pool area, you may get splashed, and you don't have access to the whole pool, only to your part.

    Best for...

    Site owners who want the low-maintenance, low-cost advantages of a shared server plus the some of the flexibility, reliability and guaranteed resources of a dedicated server.  

    Dedicated Server Hosting

    Dedicated hosting A dedicated server is like having your own Olympic-size pool.

    Pros of Dedicated Hosting

    You don't have to share with any other swimmers, although you can certainly invite people to drop by. With a dedicated server, you can set up the place however you like. Want tiki bars and cabanas all around the pool deck? Want to let people do back flips off the high dive? Your pool, your rules.

    Cons of Dedicated Hosting

    Dedicated servers, like huge decked-out swimming pools, are expensive and require some technical know-how to keep them in shape. Unless you're hosting the online equivalent of daily pool parties or swim meets, a dedicated server may be more hosting power than you need.

    Best for...

    Established businesses that want to host many sites on one server, implement their own security protocols, handle high traffic volumes, or store huge amounts of data.  

    Ready to choose your web hosting?

    Get started with HostGator.
    Buy HostGator Web Hosting
    Want to share our web hosting infographic? Click to enlarge.
    Web hosting infographic
  • Should You Launch A Website For Your Personal Brand?

    Monday, June 5, 2017 by
    Personal Branding FAQ

    The Q&A Guide to Personal Branding

    Job seekers, freelancers, and entrepreneurs hear a lot about the importance of building a personal brand. But what, exactly, does “personal brand” really mean, how much does it matter, and how do you go about creating yours? The answers to these questions and more are in this FAQ Guide to Personal Branding. HostGator WordPress Hosting

    Personal Branding Basics

     

    1. Isn't my personal brand the same thing as my portfolio, reputation, or professional image?

    Kind of. Your personal brand includes all those elements plus a few more, like your ability to build rapport with other people and to communicate the value only you can bring to a job or a project.  

    2. Do I really need a personal brand?

    Everyone has a personal brand, whether they manage it or not. That's because other people, including people who might hire or recommend you, form impressions of the quality of your work, your work ethic, your interpersonal skills and more when they see you or your work online. Your personal brand is out there. The real question is whether you're making it work for you.  

    3. If my personal brand already exists, what is it?

    To answer this question, you'll need to audit your brand, which is not as taxing as it sounds. Start by looking at the professional and personal information that recruiters, potential clients, and hiring managers can find about you online. What are your top Google search results? What images are associated with your name? How many of your social media and forum posts can the general public see? Is there media coverage of your work and accomplishments? Next, look at what other people say about you and your work. How do your references describe your skills? Are there online reviews for your business? If past employers or clients have given you LinkedIn recommendations, is there a theme running through them about reliability, creativity, or some other positive trait? What do your mentors or academic advisors say about your skills? Finally, look at your existing work. Can employers and clients find your portfolio online? Is it easy to view and does it truly represent your best work? Taken together, all of these views—the information anyone can find about you, what peers and mentors say about you, and what your work says about you—make up your personal brand. For example, let's say Jane is a costume designer who turns up in a lot of Google searches and social media posts alongside stage actors wearing her Elizabethan-style creations in Shakespeare productions. Her LinkedIn is filled with recommendations that praise the authenticity, wearability, and durability of her historical costumes. And her website includes a video portfolio of her costumes onstage, a link to a local museum exhibit of some of her work, and photos from a sewing class she teaches at a local community center. From all this, we gather that Jane is creative, detail-oriented, highly skilled, and community-minded. As brands go, Jane's is a good one—depending on what she wants her brand to achieve.  

    Personal Brand Uses

     

    1. What if my personal brand doesn't match what I want to do professionally?

    If our hypothetical Jane wants to develop her career in historical stage costuming, she's on the right track. However, if she's hoping to move into high-tech costuming with LED lights and robotic components, she's going to have to adjust her branding to show prospective clients and theater companies that she's right for that type of work. Once Jane knows what she wants to do, she can set goals for her brand. Let's say she wants to get hired to combine her love of robotics and costumes for the stage. So she starts sharing photos from a robotics class she's taking on her Instagram account, which she links to her website. Maybe she chats on Twitter with makers who build the types of gadgets she wants to work with and collaborates with them on some experimental designs. By adding those experiences to her personal brand, she's in a better position to show prospective clients that she knows how to do that work, which will make landing those new clients easier. Those gigs, in turn, will become part of her portfolio to help move her brand in the direction she wants it to go.  

    2. How can I use my personal brand to drive business traffic without selling all the time?

    Be your (best) self. Your personal brand can and should relate to your business, but it should be also be where your share the causes, hobbies, and interests that make your life uniquely yours. For example, personal finance isn't an exciting topic to most people, and there are plenty of experts selling systems, advice, and planning tools. What sets someone like author and consultant Ramit Sethi apart from the personal finance crowd is his social media presence. Sethi's posts are an eclectic mix of life advice, how-to guides, posts on his interest in fitness, and odd emails and success stories from his readers. This blend of personal and business posts helps build rapport. It's also more interesting to his audience than constant reminders to fund your 401k.  

    3. Does a personal brand matter if I'm launching a startup?

    Yes, indeed. Make your experience and previous successes the main elements in your personal branding to show potential investors, employees and vendors that you know what you're doing. Richard Branson, for example, has such a long history of business wins and such a positive social media presence that any venture he invests in gets a boost in buzz along with his cash. Like Sir Richard, you can use social media to talk about what you've learned from your successes, mistakes, and mentors. You can also give credit to the people who've worked for you and who've inspired you—a good way to signal to prospective employees that you'll give them their due.  

    4. Does my personal brand have to be business-focused to be effective?

    Not necessarily. Consider Oprah Winfrey. There's no question she's among the most successful businesswomen ever, but business skill is not the main theme of her personal brand. Oprah's life and career are a master class in a different approach to personal branding—one based on emotional resilience, generosity and empathy. Her rise from poverty and abuse to billionaire is an inspirational story, and her experiences have given her the ability to make her audience feel that she understands them and wants them to succeed. If you've faced obstacles on your path to success, consider talking about them. Share what you've learned to encourage other people in your field or target audience who face similar challenges.  

    Building Your Personal Brand Website

     

    1. What domain name should I use for my personal website?

    Ideally, your personal website URL will be your full name with a .com top-level domain, because it makes you easy to find and because .com is still the most trusted top-level domain. If your name .com isn't available, choose a variation that includes your name, if possible. Domain Name

    2. What information should my personal website include?

    There are five basic elements your site needs to be effective as a marketing or job-search tool:
    1. Contact information. Make getting in touch easy. Put your preferred phone number and/or email address above the fold on each page of your site.
    2. Your portfolio or resume, or both. Present your best work in the way that makes the most sense for what you do. If you're a videographer, embedded videos are an obvious choice. If you're a still photographer or graphic designer, make your images easy to browse. If you're a writer, include links to live articles online or PDFs of your print work.
    3. An “about me” section. Include a short professional bio, some background on your hobbies, interests, and charitable causes, and maybe even a list of people or places that inspire you. The keys here are to keep the section brief and fun to read and to relate your “about me” information to your personal brand. Jane, our would-be robotic costume designer, will likely include information here about robotics challenges she's participated in, classes she's taken, and collaborations she's done with other costumers and robotics pros.
    4. A blog. Regular posts on topics related to your interests and work can help you build a rapport with your audience – especially if you reply to reader comments and reach out to other bloggers with interests similar to yours. Not much of a writer? Consider adding a video blog, a podcast, or a photo of the day instead of text-heavy posts.
    5. At least one photo or video of you. A professionally done headshot is a worthwhile investment. If you're an outgoing person, the new trend of short video headshots may be perfect for you
    Other elements you may want to include are links to some or all of your social media accounts, as long as they support your personal branding goals, links to projects you've worked on, and links to community groups you've worked with.  

    3. How often should I update my personal website?

    You'll do better in search results if you update your site often, which is important if you have a common name. A blog on your site makes it easy to add fresh content. You can also update your portfolio whenever you finish a great project, and add new charitable work or interests to your “about me” page. At least once a year, look at your site on a live preview tool like Google's Mobile-Friendly Test to make sure it meets current responsive display standards. If your site looks bad in the preview or is rated “not mobile friendly,” choose a newer, better optimized template for your site.  

    4. Isn't this a lot of work for a site that doesn't even sell anything?

    Maybe, but your personal brand and your personal site can lay the groundwork for you to get hired, find clients, or raise investment capital. That's because before people do business with you, they want to know something about you, understand your skills and interests, and see your talent or expertise for themselves. When you manage them well, a strong personal brand and a good website can go a long way toward building your career.
  • Which Type of Entrepreneur Are You?

    Monday, June 5, 2017 by
    Which type of entrepreneur are you Anyone that has their own business is an entrepreneur, but that one simple term encompasses a wide variety of experiences and business types. There are so many different types of entrepreneurs, that many terms have been coined to describe the different modes of entrepreneurship. If you’re an entrepreneur, chances are there’s at least one additional and more specific term you can claim as well. Here are some of the most popular types of –preneurs you can be. HostGator Website Builder  

    The Solopreneur

    SolopreneurDefinition: A solopreneur is any entrepreneur with a one-person business. Solopreneurs go by many names – freelancers, independent contractors, and self-employed are some of the most common you’ll hear. While some solopreneurs hire other contractors to help, solopreneurs generally run their businesses based on supplying the kinds of services or products that one person can provide on their own. This is a popular business choice since it provides independence, solopreneurs can usually work from anywhere, and it requires lower startup costs than running a business that requires employees. Recommended Reading: How to Become a Freelancer Making the Move to Full-Time Freelancing? 7 Steps for Success  

    The Infopreneur

    InfopreneurDefinition: An infopreneur is someone who bases their business on selling information products. Infopreneurs sell things like courses and ebooks, rather than physical products or services. As with being a solopreneur (and many infopreneurs are also solopreneurs), infopreneurship is a popular choice for new entrepreneurs looking for a business model with low startup costs. Recommended Reading: Become an Infopreneur 3 Keys to Creating Successful Information Products  

    E-preneur

    EpreneurDefinition: E-preneurs are entrepreneurs who have businesses based entirely online. Also called online entrepreneurs, this category has a lot of overlap with the others on the list. It includes entrepreneurs that sell SaaS products, those that sell information products entirely online, and many solopreneurs that sell online services like social media consulting.  As more and more of our lives move online, there’s more opportunity for entrepreneurs to create online products people need that can be sold and bought from anywhere with an internet connection. Recommended Reading: How to Start an Online Business How to Get Your eCommerce Website Up and Running  

    Mompreneur

    MompreneurDefinition: Mompreneurs are entrepreneurs that are also moms who run their business alongside childcare duties. Mompreneurs usually start businesses in order to be able to stay home with their kids. They often market their products or services to other mothers, although that’s not always the case. There’s a big overlap in this category with solopreneurs and e-preneurs. Recommended Resources: The Mompreneur Show Productivity Tips for Busy Working Moms  

    Socialpreneur

    SocialpreneurDefinition: A socialpreneur is an entrepreneur with a business model based on providing some kind of social good in the world. If your goal in entrepreneurship is less about profit than changing the world for the better, then you’re probably a socialpreneur. Socialpreneurs make a point of selling products that are sustainably and humanely made and often provide a portion of their profits to a charitable cause. They usually highlight their social mission in their marketing and make it a key part of their positioning. Recommended Reading: Are You a Socialpreneur? 5 Essential Strategies for Becoming a Socialpreneur  

    Ecopreneur

    EcopreneurDefinition: An ecopreneur is an entrepreneur who either builds a business based on providing eco-friendly products and services, or commits to running their business in a sustainable and environmentally friendly fashion. Ecopreneurs are a subset of socialpreneurs but, in a culture that’s increasingly concerned about climate change and environmentalism, they’re a big enough category to include here as well. You’ll also hear ecopreneurs called green entrepreneurs or eco-entrepreneurs. Recommended Reading: Are You an Ecopreneur? How to Become a Successful Ecopreneur?  

    Multipreneur

    MultipreneurDefinition: Multipreneurs are entrepreneurs who have multiple businesses or business projects going at once. Many entrepreneurs have too many ideas to stop at one business and decide to branch into several fields or pursue multiple business ideas. If being an entrepreneur requires a good deal of work and energy, being a multipreneur requires the same in spades, so it’s definitely not for every one. But for the entrepreneurs that start to get antsy once they have one business idea off the ground, becoming a multipreneur is the natural next step. Recommended Reading: What is a Multipreneur? 7 Key Traits it Takes to Be a Multipreneur Did we miss one? Let us know what type of entrepreneur you are in the comments below!
  • June Tech Trends to Watch

    Thursday, June 1, 2017 by
    Tech News June 2017

    Top Tech News of June 2017

    While school kids across the country take their break for the summer, the tech world keeps moving at the fast pace it’s known for. For any business owners that try to stay on top of what’s happening in tech, you shouldn’t take a break either, and we can help. We’ve rounded up the top tech stories expected to make a splash this month. Dedicated Server

    Businesses and Governments Alike Scramble to Prepare for Cyber Security Threats

    The biggest tech story of May was the global WannaCry cyber attack, which infected over 200,000 computers in more than 150 countries. Cyber security isn’t a new problem, but it’s one that seems to only become more widespread and common every year. WannaCry’s impact was ultimately minimal – it caused a scare for a temporary period of time, before Windows provided a patch and systems quickly recovered. Even so, it served as a reminder for businesses and government institutions around the world of the importance of keeping their systems and data safe against the growing threat of cyber attacks.  

    Google Offers Easy GIF Maker

    Businesses frequently struggle with finding good images to accompany their content. Google’s just made the job a little easier, at least in some cases. The Google GIF maker lets you plug in a couple of terms with related data and immediately produce a GIF that shows the data in an intuitive, visual way. The tool’s simple and will only be useful for fairly basic data visualizations, but for businesses who want to add a visual representation of a simple data set to their website and don’t have much in the way of web skills, it’s a handy tool to have. Google GIF Maker

    Governments Target Online Extremism

    One of the many topics tackled at the G7 summit that brought together leaders from around the world last month was how to address online extremism. With a growing number of terrorists being radicalized by information found online, representatives from the countries gathered agreed that it’s important to find a solution that minimizes the influence hateful materials online can have. Attendees of the summit therefore called for internet providers and social media companies to crack down on and remove extremist content as it’s discovered on the web.  

    Microsoft Mixer Broadens Game Streaming Capabilities

    Microsoft is rebranding its online gaming service both in name and functionality.  They’ve ditched the old name Beam in exchange for a new name, Mixer, that the company says better communicates how it brings players together. The new name comes with new features and functionality, including compatability on new platforms, faster speeds, and the ability to stream multiple games side by side.

    Appian Launches IPO

    In a year where more tech IPOs have launched than usual, the app maker Appian has just joined the mix. The company launched in late May and their stocks immediately took off, rising 25% on day one and putting the company’s valuation at around $900 million. In a world where mobile rules, perhaps such a strong showing should be no surprise for a company that helps businesses develop their apps.  

    Google’s AI Gets Smarter

    One of Google’s many tech projects is developing artificial intelligence that will improve their search results and the functionality of various other products they provide. They announced last month a move from a mobile first approach in their business to an AI first one. Their commitment is already showing results. Last month alone, their AI efforts made news for making never-before-heard sounds possible and winning a game of Go against the world’s best human players. And on top of all that, they just launched a venture capital program focused on AI. The company’s throwing a lot at developing in this direction and the results are likely to have a big influence on all of us in the days and years to come.  

    Thunderbolt Ports Becoming the Norm

    Thunderbolt portsAnyone that’s bought an Apple computer in the past couple of years has been faced with a new sort of a port that doesn’t look anything like the standard USB ones. Thunderbolt ports offer faster transfers, which made them an easy sell for Apple, but the technology has taken longer to win over other computer providers. A recent announcement from Intel suggests that’s about to change. The company has committed to including Thunderbolt ports in its upcoming computer models. More and more computer users will be saying goodbye to USB and hello to Thunderbolt.   While we can make some assumptions about what’s coming based on what’s happened recently, June’s sure to throw some surprises our way. Check back next month to get a new dose of tech information so you don’t fall behind.