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Where do I host my website?

That’s a good question. There are a large number of website hosting companies that will host your website, some are bad, some are great, and most are good. Our choice for website hosting is Hostgator. We think they are great. They offer reliable uptime and outstanding customer service. Let’s talk about uptime first. It doesn’t matter how much you pay for hosting if you have to be concerned whether or not your site is up. Hostgator maintains an uptime of 99.9%, which is pretty near perfect. They also offer a variety of plans to suit anyone’s website hosting needs. Whether you are just starting out or you are a large website design firm, there’s a package for you. And the nice thing is that they make it easy for you to ‘grow’ from one level to another with a quick phone call. Next, let’s talk about Customer Service. Over the years, I’ve been on the phone with their Customer Service quite a few times, and I can honestly say that I’ve been satisfied with the results each and every time. Not only do they answer the phone within a minute or two, they almost always know what they are doing. One time I got a new guy, and he helped me with what I needed for the most part, but then he admitted he was fairly new and put me on hold until he was able to consult with a colleague and find the right answer. The point is that he cared about what he was doing and who he was doing it for, which means a lot in my book. As with most of the reputable website hosting companies, Hostgator offers full featured cPanel, which contains the administration area where you can set up and forward unlimited email accounts for your website, look at traffic statistics, manage your MySQL database, manage PHP MyAdmin and a host of other functions. Finally, let’s discuss backups. As with other website hosting companies, Hostgator offers backups of your site through cPanel. The only problem we have with backing up your site on the same servers that it is hosted on is that if your site ever does get hacked (or worse, the server gets hacked), then you run the risk of backing up a hacked version of your site. Let me explain. Let’s say you go into your cPanel and set up automatic backups each week and the backups occur on Monday. If your site gets hacked on a Friday and you have plans to go away for the weekend or just get busy, you may not be aware that your site was hacked and low and behold, Monday your ‘hacked’ site is backed up. Now when you go to restore your website you only have the hacked version, not good. At Rapid Web Design, we utilize a plugin called BackupBuddy. BackupBuddy allows us to create automatic backups on a scheduled basis and store them on Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service). This way, if the site or the server get hacked, we always maintain at least 2 months worth of backups offsite. And with BackupBuddy, restoring your site is a relatively easy process. You will only have to get your site hacked once to appreciate the value of having safe, secure backups stored offsite.