Where Do I Host My Blog, Email, Domain, Website…?
In my experience, one of the most complicated parts of getting a new company blog or website is understanding how hosting works. There are four main parts of your hosting: domain, website files, blog files, and email.
You can have all three hosted with one company, or each one with a different company, or any combination of those. So let’s take a look at what your options are, and what the pros and cons are for each one
Domain Hosting (the most important piece)
Your domain is what someone types into a web browser to access your website. For example, sparkitive.com is our domain name.
The most important thing to remember when it comes to your domain is that you should always own it. You can easily go to companies like http://godaddy.com and register (or reserve) your domain name in an account that’s in your name. The extensions (.com, .net, .ninja) affect the price you’ll be charged, but the basic ones like .com and .net will typically be less than $20 per year and renew annually.
Just FYI… I don’t get a kickback or anything from GoDaddy, but I’m going to use them as an example in this article because I like their customer service. They are good at working with people that aren’t as technical as well as working with development companies like us to help maintain your account as needed.
Even if you host your website, blog, and email with other providers, your domain can stay right where it’s at. Let me say that one again - you do not… ever… for any reason… have to transfer your domain to anyone else. If you registered it with a company like GoDaddy and you own the account, then you can leave it right there… always.
Your email can usually be hosted with the same company that controls your domain. So if your domain is with GoDaddy, you can add email hosting to that. It’s pretty common to pay for email hosting per month, per email address needed.
Our preferred option for email though is Google Apps for Business. It’s very affordable at $5/month per email address and includes tons of features, like calendar, email, and cloud storage to name a few. We’ve been using it for years, and have recommended it to several of our customers that have loved it as well. https://www.google.com/work/apps/business/products/
You can also use groups to have an email box that goes to several people without the cost of an extra email address. For example, we have email@example.com that goes to my email and David’s email, but we don’t have to pay for that email box since it’s just set up as a group.
This is where the actual files and databases of your site will physically be stored. This is typically a web server located in a server farm. That server is maintained, and backed up, by the company that owns it.
This could be the same company that’s hosting your domain, but again - it doesn’t have to be. If you are using a website development company to build your site, they might offer hosting for it as well.
Hosting usually costs somewhere between $10-$50 per month in most cases. If you have an SSL certificate, it might be a little more.
The biggest possible downside to hosting with them is that if you don’t like them, or if they go out of business, you have to convince them to give your files to you so you can move to another hosting company. In some cases, they will require a payment to release the files.
This is why I recommend keeping the domain in an account you own. In the worst case scenario, if you can’t get your files from them and you have to have a new site built, you’ll still have your domain name. So you won’t have to worry about losing customers or reprinting all your marketing materials.
The advantage to hosting with your developer is that they can become your first line of support if something is wrong. Some companies even offer additional benefits over the bigger hosting companies. For example, we actually keep the WordPress software we build sites on upgraded to the latest version, along with the site’s theme and plugins.
One question we hear a lot is "Where should I host my blog?" Most of the time, your blog will be integrated into your website, so it won’t be hosted somewhere else. In some cases there, there can be a good reason to host it separately.
In our case, our blog is hosted with HubSpot because we want the additional tracking that we get with that software. So this page that you’re reading now is hosted with HubSpot. But our main site (that you see when you click the “Home” page) is built in WordPress and hosted on our hosting server.
Aside from wanting better tracking - you might also choose to host your blog somewhere else if you already have a site built and for some reason you can’t add a blog to it. This is rare, but can happen. Typically, if this is the case, then your website is past due for an upgrade anyway.
What We Do For Our Hosting?
I get asked this one a lot. Our configuration is not the norm… but this is what we do:
Domain: Enom Central (we’re an authorized domain reseller, so we use their service for our domain as well as our customer’s domains so we can ensure they are registered in their names, but we can maintain and renew them)
Website: hosted on our servers
Email: hosted with Google Apps for Business
Blog: hosted with WordPress
What do most of our customers do?
Domain: typically they either have their domain through GoDaddy or we register it for them with Enom
Website: Usually they host with either a company like GoDaddy or more commonly, they host on our servers
Email: If they have one or two emails, they might host with us or GoDaddy, but with more emails, or a higher volume of emails, they usually move to Google Apps.
Blog: Most have their blogs built into their websites, so they host in the same place. The ones that are doing marketing with us usually host with HubSpot so we can get the additional tracking to fine-tune their site and help it bring in more customers.
Need more help?
Do you still have questions that I missed in the article? Please drop me a comment and let me know!
One of my first jobs was running a cash register in my grandmothers diner. My job was to talk to customers and and to keep everything in my area neat and organized. Now years later those lessons I learned help me in managing client files and projects. Making sure our team is working to help our clients reach their business goals is what drives me everyday.
I am a strong believer that to succeed in life you have to work hard and never let roadblocks stand in your way. You have to read and study but you also have to experience life and all that it can teach you.
My mission is to help clients and our team have the materials and knowledge they need to make every project a success, while making sure to spread some of the information I learn around for others to enjoy.