Hosting a Website

Thinking about hosting a simple website (HTML, CSS, PHP, MySQL)? There are three options that come to mind. Select one based on your budget and your comfort level (especially for option 3).

This list is by no means complete and I’m sure there are better options out there. My goal is to get you started with some basic information and let you figure out what works for you.

Option 1: Web Hosting companies:

These are not the best companies out there. I have listed them here simply because I have heard of them in the past and they seem to have fairly positive reviews on the Internet. You can find more options here.

  1. JustHost: Use coupon code 50OFF
  2. iPage: They charge you $3.50/month to begin with. To get a better rate, you need to go to their website -> select a domain and when you are presented with a form that asks you for your credit card information, simply close the web page. You will see a javascript popup message that offers you a 67% discount which drops the fees to $2.95/month. I don’t like their tactics, but it works.
  3. Bluehost: They charge you $3.95/month for 24 months.
  4. GoDaddy: They have a $1.99/month for 3 months special going on right now.

Note:  Please double check the services that you have signed up for as these companies are pretty good at automatically signing you up for features that you don’t care about.

Option 2: To the Cloud

  1. Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud: It might be worthwhile to look at Amazon’s EC2 to host your website on the Cloud. The first year is typically free for new users as long as you select the right machines to host your website. Their web interface is pretty intuitive and launching/terminating new instances is quick and easy. They also provide great documentation on the services they offer. They also have an online monthly bill calculator that helps you estimate your monthly bill depending on your usage.
    This service basically gives you a running Linux (or Windows) server somewhere in the Cloud along with instructions on how to log in to them. You have complete control over the software that gets installed on these machines.
    This solution might cost you more than Option 1. You might want to check this out if you are interested in learning more about the Cloud.
    Note: Please double check the services that you have signed up for.
  2. Google App Engine: Allows you to run your web applications on Google’s infrastructure. I have used this service in the past and this method requires you to have working understanding of either Java, Python or Google Go. It is a fairly restricted environment, in that you can’t install any software (like Apache or Glassfish) you want.

Option 3: Hosting from Home

Yes, home. Look up DynDNS. I will be posting a detailed tutorial on this shortly. This is one of my preferred methods as I like to get my hands dirty with router settings, port forwarding and like having complete control over my server.

This method requires some basic understanding of how the Internet and routers work. You will be modifying settings in your home router to allow traffic from the outside world in to your network, which is kinda scary, and I wouldn’t recommend following this approach if you don’t know what you’re doing.

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