As bloggers, we tend to concentrate on the features, gadgets, and plugins our blog platform offers (such as WordPress & Blogger). And that’s good. There are lots of great goodies available for both of these platforms.
But… there is one pool of services and features that is often overlooked: your hosting package. Most good hosting packages come with a truckload of additional features that most bloggers either aren’t aware of, or just have never taken time to investigate. Every hosting service is different, but many of the additional options are common.
All of my blogs and all the Linky sites are hosted at Arvixe. I shamelessly recommend them every chance I get because they have taken FANTASTIC care of me for years now. I had thousands of dollars worth of domain names and hosting at GoDaddy that moved entirely over to Arvixe because of their great product and service. I have put numerous clients on Arvixe hosting and they all love it. In fact, here is an email I got yesterday from a new user of Arvixe hosting:
I just spent two hours creating a blog, had it up on my screen, posts published, inserted a pile of photos, used a free uploaded theme, and was about to call it a night. I called Arvixe due to some log-in issues. The tech support guy was really really helpful. I didn’t spend more than a minute or two on hold and he stuck with me until I had the problem resolved. So, GREAT SCORE for Arvixe. Thanks for telling me about them.
So, I wanted to start out by letting you know what hosting I use, and next I want to show you the features they offer WITH THE HOSTING ACCOUNT. I can’t tell you exactly what your hosting offers, or how to get to it, but I can tell you that many things are common and you may find your hosting offers less than what I describe. The point I want to make with this post is this:
IF YOU HAVE NEVER INVESTIGATED WHAT SERVICES AND FEATURES
ARE INCLUDED WITH YOUR HOSTING ACCOUNT, YOU ARE
PROBABLY MISSING OUT ON SOME GREAT TOOLS AND OPTIONS
THAT COULD HELP YOU BE MORE SUCCESSFUL WITH YOUR BLOG.
With that said, below you’ll find what my blog accounts with Arvixe offer in extended features and options. I’m not going to try and explain every feature or option – just hit the highlights. My goal here is just to make you aware that your hosting package probably comes with many features. You can use the HELP information within your hosting to figure out what each option does:
Backups… they aren’t important until you need them. Disk crashes, hackers, incompatible plugins, accidental deletions . . . you can never have TOO MANY backups. I backup my blogs and sites 3-4 redundant ways. A couple of weeks ago, this blog was hacked, and I had it restored and back online in about 30 minutes. Why? Backups.
“I already back up.” If that is your initial reaction, my question is “how many different ways?” If you think it is a pain to back up your blog using 2-3 different methods or services, think about the pain you’ll feel the first time your site goes down or gets hacked and then you discover your ONE backup method, which has never been tested in a real crisis, was configured wrong or stopped working. Most hosting packages will offer some sort of backup service, sometimes automated. Make use of them.
File managers allow you to upload/download/delete/revise files on your blog. FTP accounts let you set up users who have FTP access to specific directories.
Security is the difference between a blog getting hacked all the time (it’s “when” not “if”) and blogs that are safe and sound. NO BLOG is 100% secure, you just have to deal with that fact. Strong, difficult passwords are your first best line of defense. After that, make use of any additional security features your hosting service provides.
A “log” is a record of activity on your site. Logs are then analyzed by statistics programs to give you useful information about your blog traffic. Most hosting services offer some form of web traffic stats.
Domains are the different web/blog addresses you have. So my domain would be “linkyblog.com.” A subdomain allows you so to have another website/blog that uses the same domain name but a different segment such as “shopping.linkyblog.com.”
DNS is the “addressing system” of the Internet. It’s too much to explain here but you should educate yourself about the basics of DNS. When you set up new blogs, or have to move one, you’ll be glad you understand DNS.
Your hosting package should have a section that allows you to manage your databases. Most blogs such as WordPress are built on top of a database. Occasionally, it is necessary to directly access your database (DB) to change a setting or restore something. Messing around with your DB directly would probably need to be labeled an advanced skill, but a good hosting package will have tools that will make the process a little easier to manage.
A good hosting package will usually have a section like this that is a gold mine. Each of these options give you the build to install/use/activate different types of software and service. Softaculous includes a long list of cool stuff you can install: forums, shopping carts, community services, etc.
Web hosting has become very competitive and most hosting packages come with some section like this where a treasure of services and features can be installed with a click or two. Don’t overlook this just because you don’t know what it is at first glance. Take time to investigate each one or you may be missing out on some incredible stuff for your blog.
Advanced tools and options help you manage your blog. Again, you’ll just need to investigate each one to see what it does. Don’t ignore them just because you aren’t familiar with them. They are there for a reason.
Email is much more than just setting up a new account. Good hosting packages will have a suite of tools like this to help you manage email accounts, secure them, and deal with spam.
I’m sure you’ve heard the term “SEO” by now. That’s Search Engine Optimization. Your hosting package will often come with SEO tools. Let me offer a word from experience: don’t get too caught up in the SEO hype and sensational claims. The real trick to successful blog is concentrating on three things: great content, great products, and building your email list. A little attention to SEO is a good thing but many people get far too distracted with SEO tricks and techniques.
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Check out your hosting package control panel and see what undiscovered treasure is hiding there. Better yet, get yourself some of the best hosting service available in my opinion at Arvixe… click here to see their WordPress hosting.
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NOTE: Anna Branch first emailed with a question and comment about hosting features which prompted the idea for this post. THANK YOU ANNA! Here’s a little something about Ann… be sure to visit her blog (if YOU have a great idea for a post that I write, I’ll give you a plug too!):
Anna Branch is becoming well known as a writer and quilt pattern designer. In her blog: http://arkangelcreations.blogspot.com , she tells readers of her life in the backwoods of Ontario, Canada as well as quilting experiences and free patterns. You can also read about her recent book: Scrappy Quilts and More from the Back Woods Quilter.
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