Starting A Web Site On A Budget—Web Hosting

 

When you’re creating a new web site, one of the most critical decisions you need to make is which hosting plan to choose. If by this point in the series you feel overwhelmed by how many choices you have to make about your new website, relax. Web hosting is easy to understand, and it’s relatively painless to decide which plan to pick. Here’s our brief guide to choosing a hosting plan, based on your website budget alone.

Under $500

If you’re not spending a lot on a web site, you probably don’t expect to do a lot with it, at least not at first. You might get a few hundred visitors a month, and you host your images and other large files elsewhere.

A shared hosting plan, where you share space on a server, or computer, with a thousand or so other websites, is an inexpensive and reliable solution for your hosting needs. If your site gets a little bigger, it’s easy to add more capacity, and you’ll probably be set for months, even a year, with your starter plan.

Under $2,500

With a slightly larger budget, you’re probably close to maxing out what you can do with a shared plan. In the past, you would have to make a giant leap to a dedicated server, which was significantly more expensive. But now it’s easy to use a cloud-based Virtual Private Server, which is effectively a “virtual computer”—like the one you make to access Windows on a Mac, or vice-versa—that relies on the resources of several servers bound together in the “cloud.”

Cloud VPSs offer the low prices of shared hosting, but with the power of your own dedicated server. In addition to choosing how much storage space you need, you can also specify your processing power needs. For example, if you run an online store, you can order up a more powerful computer to ensure that it works as quickly as any of your online competitors.

Under $10,000

You’ve already decided to make a major investment in creating your new website. By choosing a dedicated server, you can be certain that you’ll be able to do anything you want on your site. For example, your web developer can install and set up custom software, and you can add any security or speed applications you desire. While a dedicated server can be more expensive, the annual costs are around a fifth of your startup budget.

If you aren’t quite ready for a dedicated server, you might consider a hybrid server, which combines the flexibility of a dedicated server with the cost savings of a Cloud VPS. Either way, starting out at the top will ensure that you have the flexibility you need for your web site to meet the uptick in traffic that will surely come as soon as you launch your web site.

For anyone starting a new web site, there’s a lot that seems daunting, from choosing a content management system to hiring a web designer. Fortunately, selecting a hosting plan is one of the easier decisions you have to make. As a full-service hosting company, A Small Orange can handle any type of website, from the smallest personal website to the most complex corporate website. As soon as you start down the path of creating a web site, go ahead and pick your hosting plan, so you can build your website as you go.

Migrating from Weebly to WordPress

Photo by Mike Baird

When you landed on Weebly’s home page a few years ago, it seemed like a dream come true. After months of debating whether and how to start a website that would be taken seriously by your colleagues and customers, you found a fast, easy solution to your problems.

With a drop-and-drag interface, attractive templates, and built-in analytic services, Weebly is a dream for those who don’t have the time or inclination to make their own website.

But, like all good things, your Weebly site must one day come to an end. Perhaps you’re getting so much traffic that you worry daily about your site getting overloaded. Or maybe you need more sophisticated blogging software than Weebly’s meager tool. Even if you’re satisfied with your site, maybe you want features like automatic backup, extra security, and other extra features that come standard with almost any hosting plan.

While we’d love to tell you that leaving Weebly is as easy as ending a relationship with a summer fling, unfortunately, it’s not that simple. You’ll need to set aside a weekend to make it happen, but when you make it through the other side you’ll find that you have a website that is robust enough to handle almost anything you throw at it. Here’s the steps you’ll need to take. Remember—don’t delete your Weebly site until you’re certain that your export succeeded. You don’t want to move on from Weebly and discover that you left half your site behind.

1. Download Your Weebly Site

Unfortunately, Weebly doesn’t support a one-step export option. Instead, you’ll have to get your content piecemeal. You can “Export” your Weebly Theme from the design menu, and produce an “Archive” of your Weebly site to get the graphics and other static elements of your site.

2. Use RSS to Get Your Site Content

When you download your Weebly site, you need to know what you won’t be getting everything. In order to get your site content, particularly if it’s from your blog, you’ll have to use another strategy.

If you haven’t done it already, activate your RSS feed on your Weebly site, which will allow you to import your site content from elsewhere.

3. Set up a new site, preferably with WordPress

Now that you have your old site on your computer, you can set up a new site with your hosting company, and begin the process of bringing everything over. We like WordPress, as it’s almost as easy to use as Weebly, and is likely to play nicely with your old graphics.

 4. Choose a theme, and update your static graphics

Remember downloading all of your static files? In them you’ll find some of the static graphics and other elements you need to make your new site. You might be able to use your old Weebly theme in WordPress, but many people find it easier to just start over.

5. Rescue your old Weebly content

The biggest challenge you’ll face in this transition is rescuing the content for your blog and bringing it over to your new site. While WordPress has a number of good RSS importers, including WP RSS Multi Importer, you might be limited in terms of how much Weebly content you can download at a time. Now that Google Reader is gone, there are scores of RSS Readers out there. Look for one that will let you download your entire RSS feed, including graphics, and use WordPress to import that downloaded file into your new site.

We never promised that exporting your Weebly site would be easy, but with a bit of troubleshooting it’s not too painful. Just think of it as growing pains, something we all have to go through to be stronger, better bloggers and web site creators.