Before you start making a living online, you need to own a website. Your online activities that earn you cash (blogging, affiliate marketing, freelance writing) are all dependent on whether or not you have a web presence.
You can get a free website somewhere (most of us start at blogger), but the most popular method of starting a website is getting your own domain, renting space and installing WordPress. You need a functional site with a unique name to brand your web presence with. This website is going to be your “face” online, so build it well.
In the next section I will give an overview of hosting services I’ve tried, and my experiences with these webhosts. (read my disclosure policy)
Where do you “rent space” online? Here are some of the hosting services I recommend (note that all these allow hosting a multitude of sites).
1. Bluehost – Best feature: Free domain for life (as long as you stay hosted with them).
The platinum pack costs 97 dollars a year (roughly 4,300 PHP), and the package includes one free domain name.
The cpanel (your main control area) includes several one-touch ways to install your website, Fantastico and Simple Scripts. The second one is preferable to the first because it installs the latest version of WordPress. This is a good place to start your online business because the support is good (live chat is enabled) and the website installation is easy.
Because there’s only one hosting option available, you don’t have much choice but to live with the features of that one package (the Platinum pack). However, if you have more needs, you can always email them to ask. For instance, I didn’t know they offer dedicated IP service (you have to pay 100 pesos a month or 2.50 USD).
2. Hostgator – a.k.a. “Green Hosting”. Reseller account available
There’s a socio-civic reason why you should avail of hostgator hosting (for those who care), they use wind power to fuel their business (more info here). They also sell reseller hosting (a notch higher than shared hosting, in terms of space and bandwidth), which is a good idea if you feel like renting out space to other people.
My first ever webhost was a pinoy company, and their rates were dirt cheap (500 PHP a year or 10 USD a year). Of course I never knew they were resellers so I was wondering why there’s a limit to what I can do with my site. They only allowed 150 MB storage and 2 GB bandwidth; extremely small for someone who plans on building a lot of sites, but “just enough” for someone who simply wants a site for family photos, a small online diary, a personal site open only to relatives and friends etc.
The good news is that you can do this too. Get a reseller account and then sublease space at a price you specify. Your customers will be your own friends, who want to own a domain name and a pretty wordpress theme.