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Here is the honest truth: life as a student is not easy. Time flies. There are just so many opportunities to pursue. You have to take care of academics, social life, and networking with peers. Most modern careers need you to have an online presence. To stand out from the rest of the students, you have to have your own custom-made website.
Thankfully, creating and running a website is no longer as complicated as it used to be. One can get a pre-made website, or build one from scratch, all in a day’s work. A good website is accessible at all times. To ensure maximum uptime, you need to have the best web hosting service at your beck and call.
Like most things, hosting services come in all sizes. While a student can get a sweet deal at $3 to $10 per month, some subscriptions can run into thousands of dollars. An affordable range for students would be $2-$5.
Here are some of the things you should look at:
Free Hosting Vs Paid Hosting
Popular content management systems have an option that gives you free hosting. These CMSs are:
With these, anyone can launch a site within hours. People who wish to continue with the free subscription package will have to contend with having the domain name that advertises the CMS platform. For example, if the site is called ABC, then the domain name with the free hosting option would be ABC.wordpress.com or ABC.yolasite.com. Here is a list of content management platforms.
Tips on Finding High-Quality Hosts for Low Prices
1. What Are Your Needs?
The type of content that your website will serve to its visitors might be different from that of the next fellow. Perhaps you wish to host videos for your vlog. Or maybe the website is solely for hosting text, with a small sprinkling of images. Videos are large files, while text takes very little space. Therefore, text-based sites cost substantially less.
2. Does it Offer a Free Trial?
Some web hosting companies offer a free trial. A hosting firm with such an arrangement shows that it has experience in the industry, and is confident on its capabilities. Most such providers are ready to stand by their promises to the customers. A unique twist in this arrangement is where a provider needs you to subscribe upfront but offers a money-back guarantee.
Students should give such providers a trial. You get to have free hosting for a month, and if your expectations are not met, you can move on to another hosting company.
3. Price Vs Quality – Are the Cheapest Web Hosting Solutions Worth It?
I remember life in college – money was tight and I had to balance my budget. I remember using YNAB, a free (for students) budgeting software. It illuminated my spending habits while also helping me to make sound financial decisions. I would also use EssayPro to write my essay online. It helped me ace so many exams and eventually contributed in a big way to my awesome final grades.
Finding hosting providers is no different. A student looks for the highest quality for the least possible price. You do not want to go too cheap and run into quality issues. Watch how much you spend on it so that you do not break the bank.
Generally, there are two types of hosting servers – shared and dedicated. Shared servers are much cheaper than renting your own dedicated server. They also usually come with more system admin support. However, shared host servers can crash unexpectedly, depending on the load it carries. Sharing a server with a site that has numerous traffic spikes leads to slow load times for your pages.
Renting your own box costs slightly more. However, the benefits trump shared hosting by a mile. First, your website or sites will access their databases without being hindered by the presence of other busy sites. Secondly, it is easier to upload files to your site via the FTP or SFTP.
The downside of having a dedicated server is that it requires system administration knowledge. Alternatively, it needs a third-party system admin who will be doing maintenance. This may rack up the costs.
Get Scalable Bandwidth
Bandwidth means how much data your site visitors will be able to move per second. Small files and text take up very little bandwidth. Ideally, every page on the site should be shy under 1MB, according to WP Rocket, a WordPress page-speed optimization plugin. The leaner the page, the better.
If a host promises unlimited bandwidth from the get-go, it may seem like there is a clear advantage over one that has a bandwidth cap. However, in the fine print, the company may have a clause that allows it to throttle how much data your site can serve after a certain usage limit. It is not all roses.
Going with a host that has limited bandwidth is only recommended if it will allow you to scale up without paying top dollar.
Reviews, Reviews, Reviews
Web hosting reviews provide a fairly accurate look into how your experience with a hosting company will be like. Focus on reviews that talk about the customer care experience, and how the issues were resolved. You can find the unbiased web hosting reviews on the hosting and web-hosting subreddits.
Reading reviews will also help educate you on what to expect. It reveals the most common problems associated with your candidate host. Needless to say, avoid those which appear to be money down the drain, since they are bound to disappoint in future.
Best Web Hosting Deals for Students
Here is a handy list for students and educators:
- SiteGround. They provide student-specific discounts. Currently, there is a pricing plan of $1.99 per month for the first year. It is free for educators who wish to sign up their students and free for the students who sign up using the educator’s link. (Please note: This requires a .edu address).
- BlueHost. They are working on a free or heavily-subsidized subscription package for students. Meanwhile, their hosting services start at $2.95 per month. It has been around since 1996 and is best for reliability.
- InMotion offers free, Linux-based shared hosting. (They also require a .edu email address).
- Accu Web Hosting is another provider which offers free hosting in return for a few social media virality tasks for their marketing.
- Microsoft Azure gives you 200 credits when you sign up. These translate to free hosting services for 1 year.
- Amazon Web Services also has a similar suite of services, including free hosting for students.
Once you have your hosting sorted out, you can rest easy when developing your website. You can now push it to the limit. Whenever an issue arises, most of the hosting service providers have dedicated customer care reps who can help solve it. Enjoy your new, efficient website!