Hosting and FTP applications

What is a hosting? Which hosting is the best? What is an FTP client? Why do I need it? And how does it work?

Note: Since I’m using Apple Macintosh since 1995 and never used Microsoft Windows for the example on how an FTP application works I will use Cyberduck which is Mac-only. However all FTP applications work pretty much the same.

Chapter 1: Hosting
1.1 What is a hosting?
1.2 Which hosting is the best? And what server should I use?

Chapter 2: FTP applications
2.1 What is an FTP application?
2.2 Why do I need it?
2.3 How does an FTP application work? (basic)

Chapter 1: Hosting

1.1 What is a hosting?

An internet hosting service is a service that runs servers. Servers are machines connected to the web 24 hours a day. Servers allow you to store files on them which are always reachable through the internet.

1.2 Which hosting is the best? And what server should I use?

The minimum requirements to install WordPress is PHP 4.3 (or greater) support and a MySQL Database version 4.0 (or greater). Most of the hostings should fulfill the requirements. If you can choose what server to use to host your site choose a Linux server.

There are a lot of free hostings to be found on the web. I tried about ten or fifteen of them but I really wasn’t satisfied by any of them. I found them to be pretty unstable, sometimes even signing up for an account was a hassle and the support was poor. I’m glad I switched to a paid one...

The only problem is that there’s a jungle of hostings out there. As always in a jungle there are good hostings and there are bad hostings. The good hostings care about their customers, the bad ones don’t.
But it’s pretty difficult to know which hosting is good and which one is bad. Unless you know someone who has a website and ask him whether he’s happy with the service his hosting company provides or not.

If you’re looking for a good hosting I would really recommend you to use HostExcellence since I’m using it for my own websites. I think that’s already a pretty good reason. I know that it’s working great and that their customer support is great too. They are definitely on the good side of the jungle. Also I think it’s really easy to use.

HostExcellence currently mainly offers two hosting packages:


Basic Plan

Recommended for:

People who plan to build only one website.

Specifications:

- Toll free support
- Unlimited space
- Unlimited monthly datatransfer
- 50 MySQL (1GB total)
(used for WordPress, Forums, ...)
- 1 free domain
- 1 dedicated IP address,
and more...

For 3.95$/month (click to sign up)


Unlimited Business Plan

Recommended for:

People who plan to build multiple websites.

Specifications:

- Toll free support
- Unlimited space
- Unlimited monthly datatransfer-
- Unlimited MySQL (10GB total)
(used for WordPress, Forums, ...)
- 3 free domains
- 15 dedicated IP addresses
and more...

Note: more IP addresses make your websites being much more stable and reliable.

For 7.95$/month (click to sign up)

I’m currently using the Unlimited Business Plan since I have a lot of websites which I store on one hosting account. To me it’s really worth it. I barely ever run into problems and if I did their support was most helpful. Since I know how HostExcellence works I could give you better support if you run into problems with my FAQs.

Here you will find some basic instructions and FAQs I wrote on using HostExcellence...

Other Hostings

Hostgator

www.hostgator.com

Another really good hosting which is easy to use and has a great customer-support is Hostgator. Hostgator offers:

- Unlimited Disk Space
- Unlimited Bandwidth
- Unlimited Domains

www.hostgator.com

On the same wave as Hostgator is Bluehost which also offers

- Unlimited Disk Space
- Unlimited Bandwidth
- Unlimited Domains

BlueHost is an award winning hosting for its customer support and especially used for WordPress blogs but of course can be used for any other website too.

GoDaddy

www.godaddy.com

Another often used hosting is GoDaddy. 
While GoDaddy is great for Personal Domain registrations it doesn’t seem to be as good for hosting too. A lot of users complain about the poor customer support provided for GoDaddy’s hosting. I didn’t try it myself.

If you have any other great (or not great) experiences with hosting companies please share them on our Forum to get the jungle solved!

Chapter 2: FTP applications

2.1 What is an FTP application?

FTP means File Transfer Protocol. So an FTP application is an application that allows you to transfer files from let’s say your computer to let’s say your server.

2.2 Why do I need it?

You will need it to upload files to your server. Even if your hosting has one-click WordPress installation you will need an FTP application to upload images and other files to your server which are not part of WordPress (example: a Flash slideshow, music, images, ...). Delete files from the server. Download files from your server to your computer.

2.3 How does an FTP application work?

First thing to do is, of course, choose and download an FTP application. If you’re using an Apple computer like me I would recommend you Cyberduck which I will use for the example here. Cyberduck is Freeware (or Donationware), it is pretty good, really easy to use and the one I like the most...

First thing I have to do when I launch the application for the first time is configure it to allow it to access the server and retrieve/send data.

I click on Open Connection
Cyberduck - Open connection
and get a dialog window like this one:

FTP

In the FAQ’s and/or Support section at my hosting I am told what I have to insert in those fields
What the server is, what the username is to access and of course my password.
I check the Add to Keychain box (so I don’t have to insert the data each time) and click Connect.

It now is ready to connect to my server and retrieves the data from it. It displays the files that are on my server in the main window

FTP2

To make things easier Bookmark the location you upload your files to in Cyberduck.

Click on Cyber then Click on “+” at the bottom of the Bookmarks to add a Bookmark.

Next time you use Cyberduck simply go to

cyber2

click on the downward flash at the right and a drop down menu will appear from which you choose the bookmarked location on your server to connect to it.

To upload a file go to the File menu and choose Upload, choose the files to be uploaded (your wordpress folder or its content) or drag&drop them from the finder into the main field.

When the upload starts a window will popup displaying upload progress

FTP3

and that’s it...

To delete files select them in the main window, hit ctrl+click and choose Delete.


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