Drupal Hosting Options
Web hosts are businesses that provide servers, server racks with high speed internet access for businesses that do not want to host servers on the web. Unless you plan to host your server from a high speed data center with internet access, you will need a web host. With the volume of businesses online it is cost prohibitive to host a server from your home office, relative to options at your disposal.
You want a reliable web host that maintains excellent uptimes. If search crawlers like Google finds your site unreachable or slow, your site may get penalized. For less than $15/month you can find good web hosting providers in US. Regional web hosting charges vary and are usually a bit more expensive.
Where should I host my domain?:
As search engines have regional indexes, most have started giving higher weight age for regional results based on hosting location (not the domain suffix alone). Host your domain in the same county as where you want to be found in search results. If you selected a .com domain host it in US. If you selected a regional domain, host it in that region. You can find out where your current site is hosted using domain tools link from the resources section. with your domain name from the resources link.
What are the hosting options I need to know?:
There are three main hosting options to choose from - shared hosting, virtual private server or a dedicated server. Most people host their websites on a shared hosting site. A typical shared host has anywhere from few hundred to few thousand websites on the same physical server.
Virtual private server is a slice of a dedicated server where you can host as many applications as you want. You can usually reboot your virtual private server without impacting other websites running on the same server running in their private spaces.
In a dedicated server hosting solution, you own your server and your websites run independently of other applications.
You can find out how many other websites share the same physical IP (a unique internet address) as that of yours from the below link.
If your website shares your IP with a spammer, your website will have trouble ranking in Google. If you select a shared hosting service, you should consider getting a unique IP and ensure that it is clear of SPAM flags. You can check the SPAM status of your web host or IP on the below link.
What do I need to look for in a hosting provider?:
For your Drupal CMS installation you will need Unix based web host that has a MySQL database. If you select a shared hosting service ensure that they allow you to use a job scheduler (also known as cron). Many shared hosting providers allow you to use a job scheduling tool. If they do not you can host this service externally for an added cost in the range of $30-$50/year.
If you are expecting high volumes you should consider getting a virtual private server that has some minimum memory and guaranteed CPU cycles. In a shared hosting setup your web server performance may depend on the memory and CPU demands of other websites installed on the same server.
You can search for "web hosting" as a search term in Google or Yahoo to find companies providing this service. Alternatively you can get recommendations from friends. Access to technical support resources and high uptimes are what you should keep an eye out for.
Selecting the hosting provider and domain registrar with one vendor is recommended for anyone starting out on the web. This is to keep things simple. You can have your registrar at one place and web host somewhere else. When you do this, you will need to specify the name server (a pointer to your web host) with the registrar.
What is an IP and do I need one?:
IP or Internet Protocol defines how information or data is sent/exchanged between servers or systems across the Internet.
This method used in communicating data from one computer to another across the Internet is called Internet Protocol or IP. It is simply a delivery method. Just as we all have addresses to identify, where we live or work, each computer on the network, both private and public is allocated an IP number/address. IP forwards the data based on the destination IP number.
The IP address is usually expressed as four decimal numbers, each representing eight bits, separated by dots. (example 126.96.36.199). If you select a shared hosting service you should consider getting a static or permanent IP for your website. This will help improve your chances for search ranking for competitive keywords.
Below are some places where you get you .com website registered and hosted for your Drupal installation.
In this video you will see how to select from the various web hosting options to host a domain at GoDaddy.