Once again: What host do you recommend?

I know you are probably saying “just use the search feature there are a ton of threads on this topic”. I was going to post in the other thread, but it’s closed already. My issue is that I’m coming into this without a lot of knowledge and after doing a quick google search realized that there are a lot of things to consider and a lot of different options.

I’m a recent CS grad that’s trying to get on the job market. I’m trying to build a site that is basically going to act as my portfolio/resume. Something that I can put all of my projects in (including a few websites done with PhP/MySQL, which is what makes having a web portfolio somewhat attractive for me). Then I can just hand out a business card or list the website on my resume and if they want to look at projects I’ve done (or at least the source code, in some cases it might be hard to get a project working on another computer).

So I’m not necessarily expecting a lot of traffic to be hitting my site on a daily basis. The only limiting factor I can see is that php/mysql website I referenced earlier has a database back-end with a few tables (3 I believe), and the php code will connect/select data from tables/sort/etc. and put that information up on the page. There will be a bit of insert/update as well, but that will only be done by me so I can handle it if it takes a few seconds longer to load pages when those commands are being run.

From the other “What host do you recommend?” thread:

  1. Establish your requirements, i.e., Linux, Apache 2.4+, PHP 5.2+, MySQL 5+, the preferred control panel (e.g., cPanel) and storage and bandwidth requirements. Remember to allocate for log files, databases, e-mail (attachments) and growth.

  2. If you’re looking for a VPS or dedicated server, remember to ask what the host’s managed services provide. Remember, a non-managed host must be monitored by you 24/7/365¼!

  3. Know what control panels you are willing to use, i.e., WHM/cPanel. cPanel is the standard bearer for Linux systems and Plesk for Windows systems. Customized control panels may or may not be satisfactory.

  4. Know how much CPU time/RAM you need. If you need a lot of processing power (like WordPress and other CMS’s), this will be a major factor. These, however, are usually specified only for VPS/dedicated accounts and automatically throttled for shared/reseller accounts. Note: WebHostingBuzz does have “Specialized Hosting” accounts for these memory hogs like WP, Joomla, Drupal, etc.

  5. Know your target (the Internet is fast but some latency could hurt so the closer your server to your target audience the better) location and try to host as close to your target as possible.

Someone on the other thread posted a list of things to consider. I’ll try and be as specific as I can.

  1. I run Windows 7 on my comp (don’t know if that matters). Don’t know how to figure out what specific Apache, PHP and MySQL versions I need, but I did use all 3 when making my website and I have to start the apache server and mysql to even test anything I code. I use XAMPP Control Panel v3.2.1(is that what you guys mean by control panel?). No clue on bandwidth. Storage… enough to hold all of the zip folders of all the projects on the off chance they want to look at the actual source code and all the php code and mysql stuff for the website project I referenced before. It isn’t going to be a humongous website, but not trivial either.

  2. No clue what a VPS is and I can guess what managed services means based on context clues, but I don’t really know what I want/need.

  3. Again, are we talking about XAMPP? Or is this a different type of control panel?

  4. I don’t know how much CPU time/RAM I need, but I explained the function of my website, so I hope we can figure out what I need together.

  5. I’m in the Houston area, and this is a job thing, so it’s probably going to be people in the south/ south-east part of the US looking at this website.

Thank you for taking the time to help me out. I apologize for my ignorance on this issue.


Hmmm, I recognize that quoted text. :slight_smile:

Okay, it doesn’t matter what OS you’re using on your own computer. I would recommend, however, that you create, test and maintain your master copy on your own computer. That means that you’ll need to install a test server which should quickly get you up to speed on webmaster tasks. However, your view of a control panel is off base as those provided by hosts are typically cPanel (or Plesk) OR modifications of those daemons which allow you to control many aspects of your domain via GUI (it also ensures the hosts that the changes you make to your account’s settings do not impact others on the same server).

  1. IMHO, you don’t need either a VPS or dedicated server (for your very limited purposes). There are disadvantages to hosting on a shared server but it’s large a cost/benefit trade-off which, for you, will vastly favor the shared server.

  2. XAMPP is a “snapshot” option for a test server. You should NEVER consider using your own computer to host a public website (not only would it violate your ISP’s T&C but it would leave you open to attacks which PCs/Macs are not designed to handle).

  3. Unless you’re using a CMS (WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, etc. - if you’re a CS grad, you would shuns these canned apps anyway), You don’t need to worry about CPU time/RAM (on a shared host). WebHostingBuzz does have special packages available for the CMS users but you should be demonstrating your PHP/MySQL skills, not showing that you can install (and MAINTAIN) a CMS!

  4. Houston has at least one good data center. My last host used one there (I’m now split between Atlanta and Houston/Dallas?) but the backbone of the Internet is so fast that you’re in a good location - especially for the US market.

Ignorance is fleeting. In a short time, you’ll be back here helping others!



I’m a little confused. Do you mean master copy of my website? I do the Apache server thing and MYSQL server with XAMPP and that allowed me to test all of my php/html code. Right now I’m using it to input a lot of data onto my database. It sounds like I was wrong about what a control panel is too.

  1. IMHO, you don’t need either a VPS or dedicated server (for your very limited purposes). There are disadvantages to hosting on a shared server but it’s large a cost/benefit trade-off which, for you, will vastly favor the shared server.

Ok… Shared Server sounds like a smart idea. Do you recommend anyone specifically or would just googling Shared Server be enough?

Also, maybe it’s just me getting used to the terms, but I feel like I could use a lot more information/education on what goes on with web hosting. Is there any good reading material out there, or should google suffice for that? I had a book suggested to me a month ago: “PHP & MySQL: Novice to Ninja” and it was really good about showing me the basics of creating a website and what an Apache server is and the reason they use stuff like prepared statements. It actually was what led me to this forum as well. Definitely open to suggestions on ways to quickly get up to speed with webhosting if that will really help my understanding of what is going on here.

I think you are making a little too much of this. Any decent shared web host running Apache, PHP, and MySQL will do for a low traffic site like what you propose. And for what you are doing, a portfolio site, Wordpress is an option you can consider. Wordpress is in demand these days and prospective employers or clients will not look down on you if you use Wordpress.

You want a recommendation? I will give you two. A Small Orange is the host I use and have been using for years. They are very good. You can go month-to-month for $5 a month or get a Tiny plan for $35 per year if you sign up for a whole year (under $3 per month) that will be fine for a portfolio site. Another host that gets favorable mention is HostGator. I have never used HostGator. You have to go to a three-year contract to get the cheap price and don’t be seduced by the “unlimited” hosting. Nothing is ever “unlimited” but you will be able to do whatever you need to do and more without worrying about hitting limits. Both hosts are owned by the same parent company as of 2010 but operate independently of each other (for now), just so you know.

You have two recommendations. How much money do you want to spend? How much more time are you willing to invest in your search for a host? There are a lot of hosts out there and perhaps more people will chime in with recommendations of hosts they use. The two I recommended are not the only good options you have so if you want to keep waiting and searching, go ahead.

How much time are you willing to spend? A lot of the knowledge of the hosting industry, the technology, server and software administration, performance tuning and security, is not written down anywhere and exists in the minds of the experts who work in the industry. Hardware and software is constantly changing and what is known today will be different than what must be known tomorrow. What benefits do solid state drives provide over mechanical drives, and in what areas are you likely to see little to no benefit? Which PHP accelerators do not work with cPanel and may result in decreased performance? How exactly does Cloud hosting work? What is a SAN? If you want to waste some time, head on over to Web Hosting Talk and you can spend days reading through threads and not even begin to scratch the surface of all there is to know about web hosting. Or you can focus on getting started on your career.

Hi JC,

That tells me you’re already creating your “master copy” on a test server. :tup: What you need, now, is to get a good host and upload.

Correct, the “control panel” is typically cPanel for Linux hosting and Plesk for Windows hosting. Personally, I distrust M$ online so I opt for Linux hosting using Apache and cPanel. cPanel (and any other “control panel” provided by a host) is to allow you to make minor configuration changes to your account without impacting other accounts.

Well, on another similar post, I recommended WebHostingBuzz because I have three accounts (shared, “specialized” - that client wanted a Joomla installation and, with Joomla being a memory hog, it wouldn’t have worked on a shared server) and dedicated. Any request, normally NOT due to problems, has been handled expertly and very quickly (Excellent Service Staff). With their full range of accounts, excellent staff and very reasonable rates, I can only recommend them very highly. That’s my recommendation based on years of experience with them and other hosts.

You may also want to search in this forum board for my checklist when searching for a new host.

Sorry, I started with HTML in the last century and learned about hosting by hand coding. Kevin Yank’s first Apache/PHP/MySQL book got me going with PHP and I’ve not looked back. Dreamweaver helps with the drudge of hand coding (autofill) but it helps when you understand the underlying code. Back to your question, though, I’ve not found a generalized book on web hosting so I’d recommend that you poke around the boards here and read the interesting threads. You’d be surprised how much you can learn by seeing how others have been assisted with their problems … but don’t miss the Web Security board as that can be absolutely critical.



Almost all hosting companies offer a 30 day or even greater money back guarantee. cPanel is a very intuitive control panel for your hosting environment. Choose one of the top providers that has been stable in the industry for a good while and get your feet wet. You can compare and contrast hosting providers for a long time but overall sign up for a plan with a reputable host and get started.

Jeff, it sounds like you are still a bit unsure of what you want or need. So I suggest you host your portfolio site somewhere that has good tech support that you can talk to by phone (or email if you prefer). Don’t worry about nickles and dimes of cost difference. Hopefully you will get hired fast and not need the hosting for long.

I have recently started using GreenGeeks.com to host my two emommerce sites, and I am very happy with them. Whenever I want to do something that I don’t quite know how to do I just give them a call and somebody always helps. The guys there are very good.

Let them help with the tricky tech details so you can focus your energy on getting interviews…

Have you taken your services or still required??