The last article in this series about creating an Artificially Intelligent Website discussed the benefits of selecting a Content Management System for your web marketing activity.
In this article, I will discuss the engine which powers (or supplies power) to your Content Management System with the right server, operating system, services (email, ftp) and database connectivity.
While you can purchase a server, install the Operating System (Windows Server, Linux, or Mac OSX Server – Snow Leopard) and setup the services, pay for the Internet connectivity (and worry about the Internet connectivity redundancy) and electricity I wouldn’t suggest doing this.
In today’s economy, the benefit of hosting your own server (with the included headaches) is not a fiscally good idea. If you need more capabilities than you get with shared hosting and are considering a virtualized server option, you might consider looking into the Mac-Mini as a server.
However; hosting yourself is a bigger discussion for another time. Today, we are discussing automating your marketing and sales and procuring hosting for your website using a third party.
In our last post, I discussed using WordPress as the CMS of choice to move your company along when creating an artificially intelligent website. Although WordPress is free (meaning, no license costs), you still have to make sure that it is installed properly. If you do a little research before you pick out your hosting provider, you should be able to install and setup WordPress using provided scripts which could have you running WordPress in a matter of a few minutes with all of your hair intact.
WordPress requires PHP (a web scripting language) and MySQL (a database server solution) to be installed and running in order to operate. The right hosting provider (frankly, if they do not have this capability they are not a ‘right’ hosting provider) will have these abilities already installed and running for you.
I recommend HostGator (www.HostGator.com) or BlueHost (www.BlueHost.com) for hosting needs. While I personally supply hosting for my students, I will often have my larger clients procure their own business account with HostGator directly. If necessary, I call HostGator on behalf of my clients to solve technical issues.
With this setup, you will have your email services, web servers, ftp services and significant options available to load other software (such as vTiger for Sales CRM) for the same monthly fee.
When you add their excellent customer support (based here in the USA), HostGator has proven to be a dependable partner for web and email hosting.
One word of warning. I do not recommend using the same company to host your website and be the registrar for the company domain name. The reason for this is if you choose to move your hosting, or have an issue with the hosting for any reason, you can easily use the Registrar to point to a new web hosting company be be back online quickly and easily. This way, no one hosting company (no matter how good they are) will ever be able to limit your options and take your website out of business.