Finding and getting a suitable web hosting service plan is just the first step towards running a successful website.
To stay competitive and be that much closer to the success you are aiming for, you need to be able to maintain your hosting account – and your site in particular – properly. Worry not, because we are going to discuss some of the best tips to get started in this article.
Keep Your Hosting Space Clean
It is very easy to add more files to your web hosting account, especially when you are testing things out or developing a new site. Over time, however, those files – the unused ones – will start clogging your server. There are a few risks associated with these unused files too:
– Abandoned CMS or web app installations, such as the WordPress installation you use to test new plugins or themes, are seldom updated. These unused files pose serious security risks to your entire hosting account.
– You are actually wasting hosting space by storing files you and your site no longer use. Web hosting space may be cheap, but storing hundreds or even thousands of unused files is certainly not how to use them.
– After a while, your entire hosting account can be too much to manage. Mixing up unused files, old versions of your scripts and various other content is certainly not the way to go if you want to have a successful site.
The answer to all of these problems? Be meticulous. Organize everything properly from the very start, keep your files in check, and you will not have to worry about it at all. You can also conserve hosting space and keep your costs down in the process.
Backup and Backup Again
I can’t stress this enough: there is no such thing as having too many backups. The hosting service provider most likely maintains a weekly or daily backup of your site. This is a good baseline to begin with. Should an update or an attack ruin your site, you can always ask the hosting company to restore a working copy of your site from one of the stored backups.
That said, the automatically created backups should not be the only backups you rely on. Download a copy of your backup files and store them offline for safekeeping. You will be able to restore your site even when the online backup is destroyed. On top of that, you can restore your site on a completely different server if necessary.
Lastly, back up your site to another server or a cloud backup service. With a simple cron or a plugin (depending on which CMS you use) this can be automated completely. You don’t even have to sign up for a paid or premium backup service. You can use available free services such as Google Drive and Dropbox for the job.
Separate Domain and Hosting
This next tip is a very important – and very handy – habit to get into. We all love those free-domain offers from top hosting companies. They are great when you are just getting started with your site and you want to keep your costs low. In the long run, however, maintaining your own domain names is critical in protecting your brands and online assets.
You can separate hosting and domain management rather easily. Some hosting companies already use two separate control panels for these services, so you don’t even have to worry about it. Other hosting companies, on the other hand, bind the two services together. If this is the case, you should transfer the domain name to an independent registrar.
Name.com, NameCheap.com and various other domain registrars are great for this purpose. They have intuitive domain management tools, giving you complete control over your online assets. You can even register a domain for more than a year just to be extra safe.
Should your existing hosting service no longer meet your standards, you can switch hosting companies without having to deal with transferring your domain names first. All you have to do is change the nameserver configurations of your domains and you are all set.
Monitor and Evaluate
Just like any other business, a web hosting company may experience its own ups and downs. Service level is not always going to be superb; this is common with almost every hosting service out there. With that in mind, monitoring and evaluating the hosting service you use regularly can help you save a lot of time and money.
When servers start to fail on a regular basis, it is usually a sign of trouble. Instead of waiting for days of downtime and loss of your own customers due to an inaccessible site, you can actually act early and prepare a backup site just in case.
Routine evaluation will also help you identify upgrades and features you need to keep your site running optimally. When you start seeing 100% processor use most of the time, for instance, you can start adding more processor cores to keep your site running smoothly.