Choose a hosting provider and a plan

Step 2: The Best Way to Choose a Hosting Provider and a Plan

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Hooray! You have successfully Determined Your Niche and Chosen a Domain name with SiteGround. Now, on to Step 2: The Best Way to Choose a Hosting Provider and a Plan.

Be sure to check out the 10+ Best Resources to Start Your Blog.

Start a blog by choosing a hosting provider and plan

When you choose a host, you are choosing where your website or blog “lives” and where the essential files for your site are maintained.

Choose a Host

Research has been my constant companion over the past couple of months. So when it came time to choose a host for my website, I looked at a variety of hosting options. Ultimately, I chose to go with SiteGround. They have:

  • super reviews
  • great service and customer support
  • reliability
  • fast speeds
  • potential for monetizing my site
  • outstanding recommendations

Choose a Plan

For simplyjolayne.com, I purchased a two-year StartUp hosting plan, my domain name, and domain ID protection. That totaled $170.75.

Choose the host and then the plan that works the best for you. You have the option to upgrade at any time.

  • The StartUp plan ~ this plan is perfect for people who are new to building websites and are starting with one website.
  • The GrowBig plan ~ this plan is a great value for the money. It includes the option for unlimited websites and the SuperCacher that enhances website speed.
  • The GoGeek plan ~ this plan is ideal for people with e-commerce and larger sites, (those of you with more geekish development needs such as server resources and GIT integration will appreciate this plan as well).
Choose a plan

*Optional: Point Additional Domain Names to SiteGround

As an option, you may wish to point other domain names to your new site as well. This can be useful if you have multiple names you want to go by or protect (future names, common misspellings, etc.).

If you have previously purchased your domain name elsewhere or if you have purchased additional names from a site other than SiteGround, such as NameCheap.com, you will need to point your domain to SiteGround.

I purchased simplyjolayne.com through SiteGround. My husband bought me jolaynekline.com for Mother’s Day from Namecheap.com. Chris bought the jolaynekline domain on a three-year plan for under $30.

Steps to Pointing Your Domain to Your Hosting Provider

Step 1 ~ After logging into your SiteGround account, click on the Websites tab. You will see your website listed with two buttons next to it labeled “Site tools” and “WordPress Kit”. Click on Site Tools.

Step 2 ~ On your Site Tools dashboard, you will see a section showing your Pinned Tools with a section below called Site Information. In Site Information, locate your Name Servers.

Site tools nameservers
Your Name Servers may start with: ns1.* and ns2*.

Step 3 ~ Log in to the site where you purchased your domain name. For me, that was NameCheap.com. Sign in on the top menu and launch your dashboard.

Namecheap home dashboard

This will bring you to your list of domains. Locate the domain name that you want to point to SiteGround. For me, that was jolaynekline.com.

Namecheap manage domain

Click on the Manage button next to the domain name you wish to point to hosting company.

Step 4 ~ On this screen, you will see your domain name listed and four tabs: Domain, Products, Sharing & Transfer, Advance DNS. Stay on the Domain tab. Below those tabs, scroll down to where you see Redirect Domain.

Here, you see the Source URL and the Destination URL. Using jolaynekline.com as an example:

Namecheap redirect

Input jolaynekline.com [your new domain name] as the Source URL to point to https://simplyjolayne.com [your website] the Destination URL. This is the part that points the alternate domain to your intended site.

Also click the Add Wildcard Redirect button to add a rule that will route subdomains such as www.jolaynekline.com to your intended site (simplyjolayne.com). This ensures visitors find you no matter what subdomain they may type.

It may take up to 24 hours for this redirection to take effect.

Install the SSL Certificate

Now it’s time to secure your connections.

This is an important step, so don’t overlook it.

Sometimes you will see in a web address HTTP and sometimes it is HTTPS. What is the difference? The “S” signifies that the website is more secure. HTTPS connections require that an SSL certificate be installed on your site. They can be installed seamlessly during setup and are recommended for all sites.

Having SSL means that your website encrypts Internet traffic and verifies server identity. It’s kind of like having a guard dog on your site to:

  • keep your user data secure
  • verify that you are the owner of the website
  • prevent attackers from creating a fake version of the site
  • gain trust with those who use your site

Depending on the host you choose, some will charge you extra for SSL (Security Socket Layer), SiteGround includes this must-have layer of protection for FREE.

To enable SSL using SiteGround, go to the Security section of Site Tools and choose SSL Manager.

SSL Setup

Then select your domain and choose an SSL option. Choose the options for Let’s Encrypt and Let’s Encrypt Wildcard. Once complete, it will look like this:

Encrypted site setting

Siteground will automatically renew these certificates every 90 days. No configuration is required.

Next, it’s also a good idea to set the “HTTPS Enforce” option which will push all visitors to the more-secure connection automatically. Find this option under the Security menu as well.

HTTPS Enforce

You Are Ready to Create Your Site

Now that you have completed the steps to choose a host by selecting a suitable plan as well as making sure you have a domain name for your site, pointing additional domains to your site, and adding a layer of security, you are ready for Step #3: The Best Way to Create Your Website.

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