Hosting is one of those mandatory elements to every affiliate marketing career. Well, maybe not every … some affiliates choose to do their business without a website or any kind of .com domain. The great majority, however, knows that owning a website is truly essential to see the kind of profits that make this whole affiliate marketing thing worthwhile.
You obviously can’t own a website if you don’t sign up for a hosting plan first. And when it comes to hosting plans there are really many different ways you can take.
Just over a week ago we shared a list of top 10 hosting providers for US affiliates, by the way.
This post presents a handful of tips on how to select the best hosting plan for you; what to look for and what to avoid.
Unlimited Disk Space
Unlimited disk space is often the standard these days, but not always. So if you’re signing up for a shared hosting plan you need to make sure that the offer includes unlimited disk space.
You need disk space to upload your websites and all the media files you want to share with your visitors. Things like images or videos take much disk space, and you really don’t want to hit the mark and not be able to upload anything more.
As an affiliate you are very likely to run more than one website, and a really convenient thing to do is to have them all run by a single provider. Of course, further along the way you’ll need a custom hosting plan if your sites reach certain popularity, but for starters you need to make sure that your provider lets you run unlimited domains.
That way you can start multiple affiliate sites and test the waters to find out which have the most potential to succeed.
(Check out some great hosting plans at Hostgator – no limits at all.)
Unlimited Email Accounts
This isn’t a characteristic that comes to mind right away when you’re choosing a hosting plan, but it becomes important really quickly.
Having a professional email address is a nice asset when doing business over the internet. A good email address is one sitting on your own .com domain.
However, chances are you’ll need more than one address for a number of purposes. Some popular email accounts worth having: your personal account, business account, customer support account, orders and financial issues account, etc.
If you’re hosting provider limits the number of email accounts you can have it will make your life harder very soon.
Bluehost is one hosting provider that allows unlimited email accounts.
Uptime ratio is the most important characteristic of any hosting account. In plain English, uptime ratio is the percentage of time when your site is available (not down). And, of course, you can’t make any money with your affiliate site if it’s not available to the public.
The bigger the better, obviously. The best hosting providers can offer up to 99.9% uptime. They also guarantee their uptime, which enables you to ask for a refund if your site has been down longer than expected.
One provider known for its uptime is Site5. They guarantee 99.99% uptime, which should be a really important factor for every website owner. Quite simply, your website isn’t making you any money if it’s offline, and that’s why the uptime numbers are one of the most important traits of a good hosting offer.
Money Back Guarantees
No matter what hosting provider you choose you can always stumble upon some problems. It’s not a given, but it’s still good to have a possibility to ask for your money back if you don’t like the service for any reason whatsoever. This probably doesn’t need any further explanation.
Everyone wants to get great hosting for the least amount of money possible…
First things first, forget about free hosting. Free hosting guarantees nothing. And even when they do, it still changes nothing. If your site goes down and someone says “sorry” it won’t compensate you for lost profits. Free is simply not worth it in this case.
That being said, you naturally have to look for the cheapest solution that meets your requirements.
For shared hosting, you can often start below the $4 per month mark (at Hostgator, for example).
Such a plan is almost certain to be enough if you’re just starting out, and it can well be sufficient until you reach a 5000 visitors a day mark, which depending on your niche and promotional skills might take a while.
Easy Script Installs
Nowadays, hardly anyone creates a site from the ground up. Most websites are run on platforms like WordPress or others similar.
A good hosting plan makes it easy to install these platforms with a click of a button, so you don’t have to do anything manually.
When selecting your plan make sure that this feature is included by default. You really don’t want to spend time on installing website platforms if you can spend it on constructing your campaigns.
This we can’t stress enough. Everything’s fine and dandy when your site is up, but when it goes down you need to find a way to get a hang of what’s going on immediately.
This is where professional 24/7/365 support comes into play. Select only hosting providers that offer such support and allow you to contact them via phone, Skype, or any other direct medium.
SSLs and IPs
Depending on the kind of services your website will be providing you might need an SSL certificate. Essentially, an SSL certificate is the internet’s way of making sure that data is being sent safely from one computer to another. This is really important when performing any kind of financial operations, like credit card processing, for example.
Also, every website on the internet has its own IP address. Depending on the hosting provider your IP might be shared with a number of other sites or it might be unique just to yours. The latter is a lot better for SEO purposes. However, it might require an additional investment because it’s rarely a default feature.
Your Perfect Hosting Type
Hosting is a truly massive market with lots of solutions, services, and products. When you’re shopping for a hosting plan you’ll stumble upon many different offers regarding the type of machines that will host your future websites.
The most basic plans (which will be enough for every beginner) are called shared hosting. That’s because one hardware platform hosts multiple hosting accounts – you’re sharing one machine with other people.
Some of the more expensive solutions are dedicated servers. This is where you get a whole machine to your own use. Another kind of hosting is one that’s been very popular lately – cloud hosting. The principle is that you don’t have to worry about your bandwidth or anything like this because cloud hosting is extremely scalable, and it can include additional resources the minute they’re needed. This reduces the chance of your site going offline due to a sudden increase of traffic.
No matter what type of hosting you end up with make sure to consult a professional representative who will guide you towards the solution that fits you best. However, if you’re just starting out then cheap shared hosting will surely be enough to get you going.