Website Hosting Providers – What to Look For

This article is aimed at helping you select a website hosting provider by considering the areas where providers differ. Research at the outset will ensure that you get the service you need and help you avoid problems later.

Minimum upfront payment period
Most ads you see for hosting quote a monthly fee but in many cases you actually have to pay six months or a year in advance. Others offer various options, obviously being cheaper the more you pay in advance. If you do not want to (or cannot afford to) pay in advance you need a website hosting provider who allows monthly payments.

How long are you locked in for?
If you do pay in advance you need to check the cancellation terms to see if you get a refund if you need to cancel for any reason. Look for a provider who allows you to cancel at any time and will refund unused credit. If you pay monthly it is reasonable to expect to be able to terminate at a months notice.

Can you change your mind?
A money back guarantee features in the packages of some website hosting providers who will give a full refund on request within a specified number of days of signing up. Whilst this should not be a major factor in choosing a provider it does at least show their confidence in their service and you might find out how good their support is during this period.

Number of domains you can host
Many of the basic website hosting plans only allow one domain. This may be fine but it is worth looking at the costs for multiple (or unlimited) domains, as once you get started you may well discover a need for another domain.

Does the contract include a domain name?
Some website hosting providers include a free domain. Check if it is always free or just for an introductory period. Before using such a free domain consider if it is the best option for you (it will not be a .com).

What is the limit on bandwidth?
Whilst limits are generally high it is safest to have unlimited bandwidth so that you know that there will not be any issues if your site is successful and attracts a lot of visitors.

How much disk space are you allowed?
Much the same applies as for bandwidth (above).

How good is the provider’s infrastructure?
Loading time is important both to provide a good experience to users of your site and because Google are now taking this into account in the search results. Speed is unlikely to be an issue with any of the top website hosting providers but in any case it is worth looking at feedback from existing users. After your site is live there are services which will monitor its performance. You should also look for an uptime guarantee from your website hosting provider of about 99.9%.

What type of hosting do you need?
Many website hosting providers offer both Linux and Microsoft hosting. I recommend that you go for Linux unless you have a particular reason to use Microsoft (it doesn’t matter what operating system you have on your PC). Linux powers the majority of websites, including major sites like Google, and there is a wealth of free software, tools, forums etc. dedicated to it. Many people now use WordPress to build their websites or blogs and about 95% of these installations are on Linux as it is easy and straightforward. I would only recommend using Microsoft where you have had a website built for you and the developers have used tools that require it to run in a Microsoft environment.

Does the Control Panel have all the functionality you need?
You should expect to see:
* unlimited (or a large number) of email accounts and the tools to manage them.
* ability to setup multiple FTP accounts
* access to and control of databases
* tools to backup the site (and databases)
* it is also good to see support for Fantastico – which makes it very easy to install WordPress.

How good is the support?
Although I have put this at the end it is very important. The best service in the world is no good if you cannot get help from your website hosting provider. Look for the support options to include a toll free phone number. It is also worth searching the web to see feedback from real users.

Andy Nataghi is an enthusiast and writer about all things technical and has a particular interest in Website Hosting Providers. To see more detail on the above criteria for assessing hosting providers please visit http://website-hosting-plans.com

The Bohermeen Half Marathon 2014
free website hosting
Image by Peter Mooney
This is a photograph from the 3rd Annual Meath Spring Half Marathon and 10KM Road Races hosted by Bohermeen AC on the 2nd March 2014 at 12:00 at Bohermeen, Ardbraccan, Navan, Co. Meath, Ireland. This year’s event included a 10KM race which replaced the 5KM event held on the previous years. This event has grown quickly in popularity over the past few years with this year’s entry of 700 beating the previous race numbers of 680. This half marathon event is perfectly placed in the Irish running calendar as it provides runners of all levels and abilities an opportunity to test the half marathon distance in preparation for a Spring Marathon or as the first serious running goal of the New Year. Bohermeen AC is steeped in Irish athletics history since 1927 and it is this experience and exceptional community spirit and volunteering which has made this event today so successful. The very heavy rain that fell on the 10KM race and the begining of the Half Marathon did nothing to dampen the spirits of the participants. In fact, despite a head wind at certain parts of the course, this was a perfect day for road racing.

Our full set of photographs from today’s event are available on Flickr at the following link http://www.flickr.com/photos/peterm7/sets/72157641717197563/. This set of photographs is mostly of the Half Marathon race but there are some from the 10KM event.

Don’t forget to scroll down to see more information about the race and these photographs!

Event Management was provided by Irish Company PRECISION TIMING who provided electronic timing for both events. The results from today’s events can be found on Precision Timing’s website at this URL [www.precisiontiming.net/result/racetimer?v=%252Fen%252Fra…]

The Satellite Navigation Coordinates to Bohermeen are [53.650882,-6.77989] and is accessible using the M3, N2 and N52

The routing for the 2014 event has changed slightly from previous year. In 2014 the race starts about 100m away from the Bohermeen Club Race HQ [See Google StreetView in the direction of the imagery goo.gl/maps/rtj1X] and the race proceeds down the road towards Navan. Just before the 1st mile the race takes a right turn [see Google Streetview goo.gl/maps/iGrR0] which brings runners on the route of the famous Patrick Bell 5KM Road Race route held at Bohermeen every summer. Then the route turns slightly eastwards and this brings the race along a beautiful stretch of rural countryside road. This connects runners with the main loop [see Google StreetView goo.gl/maps/gLI1l] where the race follows the N51 towards Navan. The race must now complete this loop (which passes through the start area and past the finish) and then a full loop again before finishing in the Athletics track. The only hills to speak of in this course are on the the stretch where the race route crosses the M3 motorway (see Google Streetview – as of March 2014 their imagery is a little out of date for the M3 goo.gl/maps/tcdJX). The only major climb on the course must be tackled twice as the road rises up over the M3 Motorway. This comes at about the 5M and 11.5 Mile mark in the race.

Some useful links to other web-resources related to this race

Bohermeen AC Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/bohermeen.ac?fref=ts

2014 Spring Half Marathon Route: www.runningmap.com/?id=641747
2014 Spring Half Marathon 10KM Race Option Route: www.runningmap.com/?id=641752
Google Streetview of the Race Start: goo.gl/maps/rtj1X
Google Streetview of the Race Finish and Race Headquarters: goo.gl/maps/qVttR
Internet Homepage for the Spring Half Marathon [www.meathspringhalfmarathon.com/]

Results from 2013 from Precision Timing: www.precisiontiming.net/result/racetimer?v=%252Fen%252Fra…
Results from 2012 from Precision Timing: www.precisiontiming.net/result/racetimer?v=%252Fen%252Fra…

The Boards.ie Athletics Forum Thread For 2013 Race [www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=2056785036&p…]
The Boards.ie Athletics Forum Thread For 2014 Race [www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=2057078579]

Photographs from previous events

Our Flickr Photograph set from the 2nd Spring Marathon 2013: www.flickr.com/photos/peterm7/sets/72157632906920970/
Our Flickr set from the 1st Spring Marathon (2012) www.flickr.com/photos/peterm7/sets/72157629146137284/with…
Photographs from the 2013 event from our friend Paul Reilly [pjrphotography.zenfolio.com/p670974697]

We use Creative Commons Licensing for these photographs
We use the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License for all our photographs here in this photograph set. What does this mean in reality?
The explaination is very simple.
Attribution– anyone using our photographs gives us an appropriate credit for it. This ensures that people aren’t taking our photographs and passing them off as their own.
ShareAlike – anyone can use these photographs, and make changes if they like, or incorporate them into a bigger project, but they must make those changes available back to the community under the same terms.

Creative Commons aims to encourage creative sharing. See some examples of Creative Commons photographs on Flickr: www.flickr.com/creativecommons/

Can I use these photographs directly from Flickr on my social media account(s)?

Yes – of course you can! Flickr provides several ways to share this and other photographs in this Flickr set. You can share to: email, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr, LiveJournal, and WordPress and Blogger blog sites. Your mobile, tablet, or desktop device will also offer you several different options for sharing this photo page on your social media outlets.

We take these photographs as a hobby and as a contribution to the running community in Ireland. Our only "cost" is our request that if you are using these images: (1) on social media sites such as Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, Twitter,LinkedIn, Google+, etc or (2) other websites, blogs, web multimedia, commercial/promotional material that you must provide a link back to our Flickr page to attribute us.

This also extends the use of these images for Facebook profile pictures. In these cases please make a separate wall or blog post with a link to our Flickr page. If you do not know how this should be done for Facebook or other social media please email us and we will be happy to help suggest how to link to us.

How can I get full resolution, print-quality, copies of these photographs?

If you just need these photographs for online usage then they can be used directly once you respect their Creative Commons license and provide a link back to our Flickr set if you use them. For offline usage and printing all of the photographs posted here on this Flickr set are available free, at no cost, at full image resolution.

Please email petermooney78 AT gmail DOT com with the links to the photographs you would like to obtain a full resolution copy of. We also ask race organisers, media, etc to ask for permission before use of our images for flyers, posters, etc. We reserve the right to refuse a request.

In summary please remember when requesting photographs from usIf you are using the photographs online all we ask is for you to provide a link back to our Flickr set or Flickr pages. You will find the link above clearly outlined in the description text which accompanies this photograph. Taking these photographs and preparing them for online posting does take a significant effort and time. We are not posting photographs to Flickr for commercial reasons. If you really like what we do please spread the link around your social media, send us an email, leave a comment beside the photographs, send us a Flickr email, etc. If you are using the photographs in newspapers or magazines we ask that you mention where the original photograph came from.

I would like to contribute something for your photograph(s)?
Many people offer payment for our photographs. As stated above we do not charge for these photographs. We take these photographs as our contribution to the running community in Ireland. If you feel that the photograph(s) you request are good enough that you would consider paying for their purchase from other photographic providers or in other circumstances we would suggest that you can provide a donation to any of the great charities in Ireland who do work for Cancer Care or Cancer Research in Ireland.

I ran in the race – but my photograph doesn’t appear here in your Flickr set! What gives?

As mentioned above we take these photographs as a hobby and as a voluntary contribution to the running community in Ireland. Very often we have actually ran in the same race and then switched to photographer mode after we finished the race. Consequently, we feel that we have no obligations to capture a photograph of every participant in the race. However, we do try our very best to capture as many participants as possible. But this is sometimes not possible for a variety of reasons:

     ►You were hidden behind another participant as you passed our camera
     ►Weather or lighting conditions meant that we had some photographs with blurry content which we did not upload to our Flickr set
     ►There were too many people – some races attract thousands of participants and as amateur photographs we cannot hope to capture photographs of everyone
     ►We simply missed you – sorry about that – we did our best!

You can email us petermooney78 AT gmail DOT com to enquire if we have a photograph of you which didn’t make the final Flickr selection for the race. But we cannot promise that there will be photograph there. As alternatives we advise you to contact the race organisers to enquire if there were (1) other photographs taking photographs at the race event or if (2) there were professional commercial sports photographers taking photographs which might have some photographs of you available for purchase. You might find some links for further information above.

Don’t like your photograph here?
That’s OK! We understand!

If, for any reason, you are not happy or comfortable with your picture appearing here in this photoset on Flickr then please email us at petermooney78 AT gmail DOT com and we will remove it as soon as possible. We give careful consideration to each photograph before uploading.

I want to tell people about these great photographs!
Great! Thank you! The best link to spread the word around is probably http://www.flickr.com/peterm7/sets

How to: Free Website Hosting + Custom Domain with Github Pages

Github Pages documentation: https://help.github.com/categories/github-pages-basics/

My website: http://christian.gen.co/

Here are the DNS settings I got working for a domain hosted on Hover: http://i.imgur.com/6pruhOQ.png