Website Hosting Tips for Fellow Activists


It took us a significant amount of time to grasp the concept of websites, web hosting and how it all worked together.  Finding out what tools to use or how to actually develop a website was time consuming and painful to say the least.  We thought it is a good idea to share our experience so that anyone planning to start a new website can make informed decisions.

First we had to register a domain name in order for people to find our website when typing in in a browser.

Then we had to create a website.  There were many web development applications to choose from.  However, we could not afford a developer so it was important to find a solution that was easy to setup and maintain ourselves.  We discovered a number of free and easy to use website builders available for creating websites that also included free hosting.  However, in most cases these website builders only allowed very limited bandwidth and we had very little or no control over the branding and/or advertisements that they displayed on the website.

We found a web development application that was not too difficult to use but after spending more than a year trying to develop a website from scratch, we realized that we were going to spend too much time developing and maintaining the website and very little time updating it with content.  We went back to the drawing board looking for something that was easy to setup and maintain.  After doing more research, we discovered, a free content management system (CMS) based on PHP and MySQL.

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The core software is built by hundreds of community volunteers, and when you’re ready for more there are thousands of plugins and themes available to transform your site into almost anything you can imagine. Over 60 million people have chosen WordPress to power the place on the web they call “home” — we’d love you to join the family.

Now that we had a domain name and CMS System, we had to look for some hosting options.   There were plenty of specials for $3 hosting that included “Unlimited Bandwidth” and “Unlimited Disk Space”. We signed up thinking this was a bargain.   Installing on the new hosting provider was easy and we were able to create a website in minutes.  It was also very easy to change the look and feel of the website without doing any development by applying a premium theme.  We found a premium theme for True Activist from Gabfire Themes.  Everything was running fine for a couple of months, until waking up one morning with a message : “Your website has been suspended”.

They did not even bother sending us an email providing us with a reason why the website was suspended.  After contacting the hosting provider, we discovered that our website was getting too many visitors. This could have been a good sales opportunity for the hosting provider to suggest a better hosting package that could have handled our web traffic. Instead they just went ahead and suspended our account!

We were very surprised because the hosting provider clearly states on their website that everything is “Unlimited”.  However, if you think about it, all server resources must be paid for by the hosting company so if you greatly exceed their user average, you may find that once you reach their “reasonable use limits”, they may see you as being a problem and drop your account altogether – without warning.  It is always a good idea to read the hosting company’s reasonable use policy and if it is not clear, ask one of the sales reps.

If your goal is to make money with an advertising affiliate program or target more than a 5000 visitors a day, then $3 hosting is probably not the best option for you.

Our new hosting provider VPS.NET are using Virtual Private Servers that can easily upscale or downscale depending on your requirements and costs a fraction of a Dedicated Server. With our current  6 node configuration we can handle 100K visitors a day. Their customer support is world class and wether you’re looking for a specific flavour of Linux or a Windows Cloud Server, they offer both, with 100 different operating system templates, available to instantly launch a powerful VPS Cloud Server.

We hope that the information we provided will assist you with your journey as you make your presence known in the world wide web.  We are not in any way suggesting that our recommendation is the ultimate solution, we are only sharing our experience. If you would like to share your experience, please feel free to share it with everyone in the comments section. 

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