When someone says “personal something,” that generally means there are other versions, right? Professional, general, public… Well, the same can be said for personal website hosting. There are several versions of web hosting – and the version you end up with all depends on what you expect from your website.
Is Personal Web Hosting For You?
This is the biggest question, because you could end up reading this whole article and find out it’s not what you want (and really, don’t you just hate that?). So let’s go down a quick checklist to decide whether you need a personal website or something more.
Web hosting for a personal site is right for you if:
- You want to start a blog or online journal
- You want to start a hobby site
- You don’t expect a lot of visitors
- You want to use your site as a business card
- You don’t expect to sell products
On the other hand, if you want to start an online business, sell products and have a lot of visitors, small business web hosting is a better option. A personal website is generally small and uncomplicated– it doesn’t take up a lot of room, doesn’t get a lot of traffic and won’t be selling products.
I’m Still Here – So, What’s a Personal Website, Really?
A personal website can be several things and several things at once. For example, a personal website can be a blog or online journal, a portfolio, a business card or any mix of these things. It doesn’t have to be about you. It could be about something you enjoy or feel strongly about. You could create a personal website with nothing more than quotes you really enjoy, or Scrapbooking for the Non Artistic. You can write 5,000 word essays on being romantic, or something as simple as:
Blog entry, Tea Time – I could have chosen biscuits, but the prawns looked really good today. Yay for prawns! P.S. Don’t tell mom, but I ate three…
There’s no “proper” way to use a personal site. Here are a few examples of personal websites, to give you an idea of the possibilities:
- Journal – Daniel Howells
- Willy Sudiarto Raharjo – My Personal Blog
- Daniele Liberati
- Hugs for Monsters
- Adelle Charles
Web Hosting for Personal Websites
Remember the checklist at the beginning of this article? This section explains why it was there in the first place.
How hosting works – the really simple version
(If you know how hosting works, skip this part) You’re using a computer to access this article. That computer has a certain amount of space on it – 300 Gigabyte, for example. Your hosting provider also has a computer, specifically set up to serve web pages to the Internet (aka, a server). The server’s space is limited; therefore, the space available to you is also limited. Some files, such as large images and video, take up a lot of space.
Choosing your personal web host
Not all website hosting is created equal. Some provide better customer service, yet offer smaller space. Others offer huge amounts of space, but you’ll never be able to talk to a live person. Many hosting providers offer services and space you’ll never need (but it sounds really good). Because of the many differences in cost, services, space and so on, choosing a personal web host provider is something that must be done carefully. Here’s what you’ll really need to run a personal website:
Domain name – A domain name is the URL (i.e. www.myexample.com). It’s the virtual address of your site, much like you have a physical address for your house.
Shared hosting – This means you’d be sharing space on the same server with other websites. Don’t worry – your information won’t be mixing with theirs. Shared hosting is fine for most websites. Usually, the only time a dedicated hosting plan (the server is all yours for the using) is needed, is for large corporate sites like Ford, Target and Wal-Mart.
Disk space – If you aren’t going to be uploading a lot of video or large images, you won’t need a lot of disk space. 500 Megabyte is enough for the average personal site.
Bandwidth – Bandwidth is how much traffic your website receives. Unless you’re a celebrity (in which case, your site would get tons of traffic), you won’t need a lot of bandwidth. 15 – 30 Gigabytes should be sufficient.
An FTP account – FTP (file transfer protocol) accounts allow you to upload files to your web host. Personal websites need two, at most – one for you, and one for your webmaster if you have one.
MySQL database – Most personal blogs are run on a CMS (content management system) like WordPress. If you’re doing more than a one page business card, you’ll most likely need a database for easy management. However, you’ll only need one.
Planning for Expansion
The best web hosting providers are those that allow your website to flourish and offer solutions to match your changing needs. Some hosting providers do; many don’t.
A lot of people who become successful business owners never planned to run an online business. It just happened that way. Many, when it came time that they needed more from their website hosting provider, either found the provider was unable to handle their needs, or that the upgrade package was too expensive.
When choosing a web host, always look at the package you need and the next one up. Find out if you can upgrade and, if so, do they help you with that upgrade. Ask if they have the option for Secure Socket Layers (SSL), necessary for sites that accept credit cards. Can you upgrade your server space and bandwidth? These are important questions to ask, and important considerations to take into account.
So That’s What Personal Websites Are…
Now that you know what a personal website is, and you know what your needs are for personal website hosting, what are you waiting for? Create YOUR personal website, and start sharing all that information running around in your head… like My Personal Stand on Star Wars, or The Plight of the Pigmy Wombat, or maybe My Experiences with Personal Website Hosting…. Yeah – that’s a good one!