Category: Tech News

9 Jul

The Best Web Hosting Services

best-web-hosting

Are you looking for the best web hosting services? Whether you need to host a small personal blog or a major corporate website, this article will help you identify the best web hosts to use.

Finding the best web hosting service isn’t as straightforward as searching Google and going with the one that offers the lowest price. There are a lot of issues to consider, including the reasons why you need hosting and how you intend to use it.

Here’s what you need to consider when choosing the right host for your needs, along with several recommendations of the best and most reputable web hosting services.

What Do You Need in a Web Host?

Before choosing your web host, you’ll need to think about your requirements. Consider the following concerns and decide the importance of each item according to what kind of site you’re putting up:

  • Speed: How responsive do you need your site to be? It may not matter if your personal site takes a few seconds to load, but if you want to run an e-commerce hub, those few seconds can turn away potential customers.
  • Bandwidth: How much data will be transferred every month? This is tied to how many visitors you expect to have on your website at any given time and how many bandwidth-intensive elements you’ll have (e.g. images, videos, file downloads require much more bandwidth than simple text).
  • Storage Space: How many pages are on your website? And more importantly, how many images, videos, and documents will reside on your server? You should first consider whether you could use free image hosting services. If you can’t, consider efficiently resizing your images to minimize storage concerns.
  • Technical Support: How tech-savvy are you? Is this your first website ever? Do you have trouble figuring out how to make changes to your site? Or do you only need help when the server is down? The more support you need, the more it’ll cost you.

Once you have a clear picture of your needs, you can work your way through the following list and identify which web hosting service is best for you.

The Best Shared Web Hosting Services

When multiple websites are hosted on a single physical server it is called shared web hosting. These plans are ideal for personal blogs or small websites where storage space and low monthly costs are more important than bandwidth and performance.

InMotion Hosting

best web shared vps dedicated hosting services

InMotion Hosting is mentioned under every hosting category listed in this article, and for good reason: InMotion offers excellent value plans for all types of hosting needs.

You’ll find the standard shared web hosting offerings, such as unlimited disk space and monthly bandwidth, plus a complimentary domain, data backups, and website transfers. You also get access to cPanel loaded with tools and apps that help you maintain your site.

MakeUseOf readers can get the Launch plan at a special discount of only $3.99/mo (normally $6.39/mo). For more performance, you might consider the Power plan at $5.99/mo (normally $8.49/mo), which allows up to 6 websites on one account, unlimited disk space, and up to 100 subdomains. The Pro plan at $13.99/mo (normally $14.71/mo) offers all that plus unlimited MySQL databases and unlimited websites on one server.

Get the special discount for these InMotion Hosting plans by using this link.

Bluehost

best web shared vps dedicated hosting services

Want reliable web hosting at rock-bottom cost? Bluehost’s Basic plan gets you 50GB of storage for your site, 5 email accounts with 100MB storage each, and up to 25 subdomains. The Plus plan allows for unlimited websites, unmetered storage, unlimited email accounts, and unlimited domains.

Like most web hosts, Bluehost offers cPanel for management, a simple site deployment feature, and e-commerce support (shared SSL, shopping carts, etc.).

Normally the Basic plan would cost you $3.95/mo for the first year, but MakeUseOf readers can get a special discounted price of $2.95/mo. Similarly, the Plus plan’s normal price of $5.95/mo drops down to $5.45/mo. Get the special discount for these Bluehost plans by using this link.

Media Temple

best web shared vps dedicated hosting services

Media Temple promises to alleviate short-term traffic-spike concerns with its service. It’s much more expensive, but the peace of mind it offers can’t be understated.

The service has its own control panel (not cPanel), so this may not be ideal for seasoned users who are used to cPanel. But for anyone who is new to web hosting, it’s easy to understand and simple to use.

Starting at $20/mo for the Personal plan, you get 20GB of SSD storage, 1TB of bandwidth that conveniently scales for short-term spikes, up to 100 websites, and comes pre-installed with the software you need to run highly-functional websites, including PHP, Perl, and Python. It comes with CloudFlare, one-click app installations, and better overall hardware.

MakeUseOf readers can use the following exclusive sign-up code to receive 20 percent off new hosting accounts with Media Temple: makeuseof20

SiteGround

best web shared vps dedicated hosting services

SiteGround is a solid option if you don’t have much web hosting experience. Start off with the StartUp plan at $3.95/mo to get 10GB of storage and enough bandwidth to handle up to 10,000 visitors a month. You get a free domain name, unlimited emails, cPanel and SSH access, and even CloudFlare support.

If you’re getting around 25,000 visits a month, you can get the GrowBig plan which starts at $5.95/mo for 20GB storage. This includes one free year of SSL certificate, better speed with SuperCacher, and “priority” technical support.

If your site is booming with 100,000 visits a month, the GoGeek plan is available for $11.95/mo. This includes 30GB of space, all the features of the other plans, plus “geeky advanced features” like fewer accounts sharing your server and more advanced hardware for better performance.

Namecheap

best web shared vps dedicated hosting services

Namecheap is one of the best options for first-timers who want to test the waters of web hosting. The Stellar plan starts at an unbeatable price of $2.88/mo.

For that price, you get 20GB of HDD storage, unlimited bandwidth, up to 3 domains and 50 subdomains, cPanel for management, 50 email accounts, support for CloudFlare, and all kinds of other additional software.

When you need to expand, you can upgrade to the Stellar Plus plan for $4.88/mo (unmetered HDD storage and unlimited websites) or the Stellar Business plan for $8.88/mo (50GB of SSD storage).

Not to mention the fact that Namecheap’s support is matchless among budget-level web hosts. And the performance is excellent for what you pay—much better than some web hosts that cost twice as much. It’s why we consider Namecheap to be one of the best cheap web hosting providers.

The Best Virtual Private Server Hosting

When your site starts to get a lot more traffic—we’re talking over 10,000 visits per day—it’s time to move beyond shared hosting to the next step up, which is a virtual private server.

With a VPS, you basically have an entire virtual server to yourself. It isn’t shared with other customers so you get full access to all the CPU and RAM allotted to you, and you get full control of the server so you can install all kinds of third-party software and restart the server whenever you want.

Note: These are managed VPS plans, meaning that the hosting provider’s administrators “manage” the server for you (e.g. regular updates, data backups, reboot crashes, fix issues) so you don’t have to worry. Unmanaged plans are much cheaper but we don’t recommend them because they’re riskier and require a lot more technical know-how.

InMotion Hosting

best web shared vps dedicated hosting services

Never to be outdone, InMotion Hosting offers SSDs as part of their VPS hosting. There aren’t quite as many customized choices here as you might find with other VPS providers—only three VPS plans—but what you do get is impressive. Uptime is excellent, and response times with tech support are lightning fast.

The VPS-1000HA-S plan offers an impressive 75GB of storage space, 4GB of RAM, and 4TB of bandwidth for $29.19/mo. The VPS-2000HA-S plan bumps it up to 150GB of storage space, 6GB of RAM, and 5TB of bandwidth for $47.39/mo. And the top VPS-3000HA-S plan gives a whopping 260GB of storage space, 8GB of RAM, and 6TB of bandwidth for $69.34/mo.

MakeUseOf readers can get the following special discounted rates: $27.99/mo for the VPS-1000HA-S plan, $44.99/mo for the VPS-2000HA-S plan, and $64.99/mo for the VPS-3000HA-S plan. Get the special discount for these InMotion Hosting plans by using this link.

Media Temple

best web shared vps dedicated hosting services

Media Temple offers users the option to go with an unmanaged Linux-based VPS for $30/mo or managed VPS solutions ranging from $55/mo to $1,500/mo.

Whether you choose managed or unmanaged, you can then pick between six levels of hosting that offer an array of features. Level 1 is the base $55/mo plan with 30GB of storage, 2GB of RAM, and 2TB of bandwidth. The most popular option is Level 3 with 100GB of storage, 8GB of RAM, and 5TB of bandwidth for $150/mo.

The cost may seem prohibitive, but Media Temple is up-front about their prices: the price you sign up with today will be the same price when you renew the following year. No surprises.

MakeUseOf readers can use the following exclusive sign-up code to receive 20 percent off new hosting accounts with Media Temple: makeuseof20

DigitalOcean

best web shared vps dedicated hosting services

We praised DigitalOcean as the best unmanaged VPS host for newbies several years ago and we still stand by that today. It’s newbie-friendly for three reasons: excellent support, a massive knowledgebase of helpful articles, and a pay-as-you-use model that’s extremely affordable.

It also comes with a bunch of apps that you can one-click install, including LAMP, WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, and MediaWiki. The only downside is that you’ll want to learn Linux to make full use of DigitalOcean’s flexibility.

The cheapest plan is only $5/mo and grants 25GB of storage, 1GB of RAM, and 1TB of bandwidth. You won’t find many VPS hosts at that price, and the ones you do find won’t be very good. You can also scale up to 3840GB of storage, 192GB of RAM, and 12TB of bandwidth for $960/mo. In other words, lots of room to grow.

You can also turn your server on-and-off at will, which allows you to take advantage of hourly pricing instead of monthly pricing. If you turn your server off for two weeks, for example, you’d only pay for half of the month.

Note: DigitalOcean only offers unmanaged VPS hosting. Unless you have a background or interest in Linux, you may prefer to pay more for a managed VPS.

Linode

best web shared vps dedicated hosting services

Linode is a cloud-based hosting solution that not only lets you immediately deploy a customized Linux VPS in under a minute, but lets you geographically position that server anywhere in the world.

It’s a unique service meant for people who love using Linux, complete with your choice of distributions like Ubuntu, CentOS, openSUSE, and more. You get kernel and root access, a dedicated IP address, easy configuration and disk cloning, two-factor authentication, and other cool features you’re sure to love if you’re a Linux user.

Plans range from $5/mo for the low-end plan (25GB of storage, 1GB of RAM, and 1TB of bandwidth) all the way up to $960/mo for the top plan (3840GB of storage, 192GB of RAM, and 20TB of bandwidth). High RAM plans also exist, with the most expensive being $960/mo for 340GB of storage, 300GB of RAM, and 9TB of bandwidth.

Note: Linode only offers unmanaged VPS hosting. Unless you have a background or interest in Linux, you may prefer to pay more for a managed VPS.

The Best Dedicated Server Hosting

So, you’re getting so much traffic that even VPS hosting isn’t enough to keep your site up? Fear not. That just means you’ve outgrown the VPS tier of web hosting and it’s time to move into the big leagues with dedicated server hosting.

What is a dedicated web hosting plan? Your website is hosted on a private server that’s fully dedicated to your website. No other website shares your machine, not even as a virtual machine. You get all of the CPU, RAM, and system resources.

Of course, this usually comes with a hefty price, so dedicated hosting should only be a concern for serious websites that are pulling in millions of pageviews per month.

InMotion Hosting

best web shared vps dedicated hosting services

InMotion Hosting’s Essential dedicated server plan offers 500GB of SSD (or 1TB of HDD) storage, 8GB of RAM, and 6TB of bandwidth, all for a starting price of $105.69/mo. The Advanced server plan is the next step up with 500GB of SSD (or 2TB of HDD) storage, 16GB of RAM, and 10TB of bandwidth starting at $166.59/mo.

But if you have a booming website with a lot of steady traffic, you can go all the way up to the CC-2000 server plan. This gives you 3x1TB of SSD storage, 64GB of RAM, and 15TB of bandwidth starting at $519.49/mo.

Media Temple

best web shared vps dedicated hosting services

Just as with its shared and VPS hosting solutions, Media Temple offers some of the most powerful dedicated server options at an affordable price. All of them come with an impressive 1TB of SSD storage, 128GB of RAM, and 10TB of bandwidth.

Dedicated hosting starts at $2,000/mo for the self-managed plan, $2,500/mo for the managed plan with Plesk or cPanel, and $2,699/mo for the fully managed plan with 24/7 priority response technical support.

MakeUseOf readers can use the following exclusive sign-up code to receive 20 percent off new hosting accounts with Media Temple: makeuseof20

SingleHop

best web shared vps dedicated hosting services

If you need flexibility and options, SingleHop is the hosting service you’ll want.

SingleHop’s dedicated server plans start at $179/mo for 2x240GB of SSD storage, 8GB of RAM, and 10TB of bandwidth. Or bump the specs up to 32GB of RAM for $219/mo. Or go even further with 4x1TB of SSD storage and 64GB of RAM for just $300/mo.

If that’s still not enough, you can always schedule a consultation and customize your dedicated server according to your needs. SingleHop boasts 24-hour technical support, your own dedicated account team, and a 90-minute hardware replacement time.

Choosing the Right Hosting Service for You

When a free or very cheap web hosting plan just isn’t cutting it anymore, it’s time to upgrade to a paid hosting service. This list should give you a head start toward purchasing the best hosting service that’ll ensure your website serves up the best service for all of your visitors.

Image Credit: Mmaxer via Shutterstock

Read the full article: The Best Web Hosting Services

9 Jul

Facebook was never ephemeral, and now its Stories won’t have to be

Before Snapchat made social media about just today, Facebook made it about forever. The 2011 “Timeline” redesign of the profile and keyword search unlocked your past, encouraging you to curate colorful posts about your life’s top moments. That was actually an inspiration for Snapchat, as its CEO Evan Spiegel wrote in its IPO announcement that “We learned that creativity can be suppressed by the fear of permanence.”

Now Facebook is finding a middle ground by optionally unlocking the history of your Stories that otherwise disappear after 24 hours. Facebook will soon begin testing Stories Highlights, the company confirmed to TechCrunch. Similar to Instagram Stories Highlights, it will let you pick your favorite expired photos and videos, compile them into themed collections with titles and cover images and display them on your profile.

The change further differentiates Facebook Stories from the Snapchat Stories feature it copied. It’s smart for Facebook, because highly compelling content was disintegrating each day, dragging potential ad views to the grave with it. And for its 150 million daily users, it could make the time we spend obsessing over social media Stories a wiser investment. If you’re going to interrupt special moments to capture them with your phone, the best ones should still pay dividends of self-expression and community connection beyond a day later.

Facebook Stories Highlights was first spotted by frequent TechCrunch tipster Jane Manchun Wong, who specializes in generating screenshots of unreleased features out of the APK files of Android apps. TechCrunch inquired about the feature, and a Facebook spokesperson provided this statement: “People have told us they want a way to highlight and save the Stories that matter most to them. We’ll soon start testing highlights on Facebook – a way to choose Stories to stay on your profile, making it easier to express who you are through memories.”

These Highlights will appear on a horizontal scroll bar on your profile, and you’ll be able to see how many people viewed them just like with your Stories. They’ll default to being viewable by all your friends, but you can also restrict Highlights to certain people or make them public. The latter could be useful for public figures trying to build an audience, or anyone who thinks their identity is better revealed through their commentary on the world that Stories’ creative tools offer, opposed to some canned selfies and profile pics.

Facebook paved the way for Highlights by launching the Stories Archive in May. This automatically backs up your Stories privately to your profile so you don’t have to keep the saved versions on your phone, wasting storage space. That Archive is the basis for being able to choose dead Stories to show off in your Highlights. Together, they’ll encourage users to shoot silly, off-the-cuff content without that “fear of permanence,” but instead with the opportunity. If you want to spend a half hour decorating a Facebook Story with stickers and drawing and captions and augmented reality, you know it won’t be in vain.

Facebook Stories constantly adds new features, like this Blur effect I spotted today

While many relentlessly criticize Facebook for stealing the Stories from Snapchat, its rapid iteration and innovation on the format means the two companies’ versions are sharply diverging. Snapchat still lacks a Highlights-esque feature despite launching its Archive-style Memories back in July 2016. Instead of enhancing the core Stories product that made the app a teen phenomenon, it’s concentrated on Maps, gaming, Search, professional Discover content, and a disastrously needless redesign.

Facebook’s family of apps seized on the stagnation of Snapchat Stories and its neglect of the international market. It copied whatever was working while developing new features like Instagram’s Superzoom and Focus portrait mode, the ability to reshare public feed posts as quote tweet-style Stories and the addition of licensed music soundtracks. While writing this article, I even discovered a new Facebook Stories option called Blur that lets you shroud a moving subject with a dream-like haze, as demonstrated with my dumb face here.

The relentless drive to add new options and smooth out performance has paid off. Now Instagram has 400 million daily Stories users, WhatsApp has 450 million and Facebook has 150 million, while Snapchat’s whole app has just 191 million. As Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom admitted about Snapchat, “They deserve all the credit.” Still, it hasn’t had a megahit since Stories and AR puppy masks. The company’s zeal for inventing new ways to socialize is admirable, though not always a sound business strategy.

At first, the Stories war was a race, to copy functionality and invade new markets. Instagram and now Facebook making ephemerality optional for their Stories signals a second phase of the war. The core idea of broadcasting content that disappears after a day has become commoditized and institutionalized. Now the winner will be declared not as who invented Stories, but who perfected them.

9 Jul

IT buyer’s guide to business projectors

When it comes to effectively communicating with potential customers, training employees or collaborating on your company’s next-gen gadget design, a good projector setup can help you put your best business foot forward. With the ability to send anything from a computer, phone or tablet across the room and onto a screen, projectors have the power to put your company in the best possible light.

Short-throw projectors

To read this article in full, please click here

(Insider Story)

9 Jul

IT buyer’s guide to business projectors

When it comes to effectively communicating with potential customers, training employees or collaborating on your company’s next-gen gadget design, a good projector setup can help you put your best business foot forward. With the ability to send anything from a computer, phone or tablet across the room and onto a screen, projectors have the power to put your company in the best possible light.

Short-throw projectors

To read this article in full, please click here

(Insider Story)

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