Hosting Articles Site and Directories
Websites about the latest news happenings featuring in-depth articles on hot topics are one kind of site that gains popularity quickly and keeps people coming back to the same site over and over again. These sites can be made by someone writing their own articles or can be a compilation of articles from the internet’s largest article sites.
However, finding the correct hosting company to host these types of sites is not easy to do. When looking for article site hosting you must ask about CPU/RAM restrictions, technical support, space/bandwidth quantities, and the if certain programs are allowed to be installed on the server.
Most of these issues in this article are valid for shared hosting, reseller hosting, and semi-dedicated hosting accounts as much of the content has to do with resource usage. These restrictions generally do not apply for VPS(virtual private hosting) or Dedicated servers because you are not fighting with other customers for server resources. However, this does not mean that these are not issues on these platforms as you will still have resource limitations. It just means your account won’t get suspended for over-usage and you can always upgrade your hardware on VPS or dedicated accounts.
The first thing on a shared account you will want to look for is the amount or % of CPU/RAM you are allowed to use and what kind of servers your site is actually hosted on. Generally you’ll want to go for a host that is hosting their shared accounts on quad-core servers with at least 4GB DDR per server. This ensures that there is plenty of burst room for CPU/RAM usage and that the server can survive a sudden peak in traffic. You’ll also want to ask about client-to-server ratio and find a host that has a low ratio of clients per server so you are not stuffed on an overcrowded server with thousands of other clients. Hosts that have 200 accounts or less per server are generally better than the average host who packs 500 or more per server. However many clients per server a shared hosting company has, they will always have limitations on the maximum amount of CPU/RAM you can use as all the accounts are sharing the same pool of server resources. This maximum amount is usually stated in the fine print(that most people neglect to read). Look for a solid number if the Terms of Service agreement and if one cannot be found, directly ask the sales staff or the technical support yourself about this usage allowance to at least get a rough idea of how much CPU/RAM power you are allowed to use. Since the scripts that run tutorial sites always use an SQL database(usually mySQL), you also need to ask how many database connections can one account have open at once. This is a very important factor as it will limit how many visitors can be on your site at once. If you go over this limit, your account may be suspended or it may slow to a crawl for users over this limit who are trying to access your site. You also need to ask about how the host handles users who go over the resource limit.
Hosts have varying ways to deal with such users from suspending their account immediately without notice to notifying you several times and disabling parts of your site that are causing the problem instead of taking it down entirely. Finding a host on the more lenient side of these measures will save you a lot of downtime. You’ll also want to ask if the host you are interested in has optimizations such as Zend Optimizer and server caching in place as these will reduce the % of CPU/RAM power if takes to perform code executions and queries.
The second thing that you should look into when looking for a host is the quality of their technical support staff. Many article sites are running spiders to grab the latest articles and headlines from around the web and these programs often cause server issues that need technical support to resolve. When your account gets suspended or is slow because of such issues, you will need prompt technical support to tell you what is wrong and work with you to resolve the script that is causing the problem. You can also need technical support to set up cycle limits on certain code executions so that one part of your script does not go into an infinite loop and crash the entire server. With article sites, you may also need technical support staff to change certain folder permissions for uploading specific types of content. To get an idea of how good the technical support staff is at a hosting company, you need to go to large web hosting forums such as webhostingtalk.com and ask the thousands of members there about their experiences with the said host. Forum members are the best people to tell you what to expect from the technical support staff of a hosting company. You can also check web hosting review sites but be aware that much of the information on these sites is biased as many of these sites are owned by web hosting companies themselves.
Space and Bandwidth is another factor you will want to look at before buying into a host. For most article sites, this should not be a problem as most articles consist of just text files. However, if you are hosting the full content of all your articles and they include large pictures, audio clips, large flash files, or video clips, you may run into a bandwidth problem. If you are hosting a multi-media article site, you will need to calculate the average size of your multimedia per page, multiply that by the number of daily page-views you expect to get and then multiply by thirty to get the total monthly bandwidth usage. Your actual usage will probably be somewhat less than this due to things like server caching. You’ll want to buy a plan with at least 30% more bandwidth than your calculation to allow for expansion and so you don’t have to pay emergency overage fees.
One last thing you should check with your host before buying is what kind of scripts they actually allow. This mostly applies to article sites that run spiders to grab the latest articles from major online sites. Spiders take a lot of CPU/RAM power to use and many shared hosts simply do not allow such programs because it puts the entire server at risk. If you are not sure if this is allowed or not, do not attempt to use such a script as you risk a high chance of your account being suspended without refund.
Now that we’ve looked at the many factors of article site hosting, I would like to recommend a few hosting companies that you may be interested in for starting your article site.
1. Stonerocket– This is a free host that I can recommend because of their reputation for support and free hosting quality. They offer PHP/MYSQL and are subsidized by their paid hosting counterpart which means that they have the money to fund the operation and that you can easily upgrade into one of their paid plans. Their uptime promise on free accounts is not good compared to paid hosting but is far more reliable than most free hosts. This is not a bad starting point.
2. Medialayer– Media Layer is one I always recommend for people looking for serious PHP application hosting. Their hosting plans are expensive but well worth the price for the quality you get. They have great uptime and awesome technical support. If you are running script that takes a large amount of CPU/RAM power, you should look here for the answer as this host has many optimizations in place to resolve those issues.
3. Pair Networks– Pair networks is another one of the premium hosts that is often recommended by people because of their superior support and quality. They have many levels of shared hosting so you can start small and upgrade as you grow. They have a network with premium quality bandwidth and their hosting platforms are well suited for intensive application hosting. Their prices are also a bit cheaper than most other application hosts so if you are looking to save a few bucks, this might be the place for you.
These are three hosts that I can recommend for hosting article sites. All three are well-known for good technical support, time, and reliability. All three have upgrade paths that you can follow. Remember to start small and upgrade as you grow and track your resource usage carefully as these are the basic duties of the responsible webmaster.