1. Is there a good website that discusses what webhosting is exactly? what to look for? What terms mean, etc?
2. I am looking to put up my website that will have my interior design portfolio on it. I will not be selling anything that I would need a shopping cart or space like that. I will have pictures of work i've done, a description of the services I offer, and a point of contact, ie email address listed. Where should I start and how big of a space will I need? Lost once again.
3. I am looking to take credit cards. Clients will be ones I've had a relationship with. this will be a service that I provide for my clients who want to use credit cards over check for payment of my services. I will not have the card in hand to do swiping. where should I look for this?
Want to go with reputable people. so many fakes out there. want to make sure that service is available when needed. Please help. Just starting out on my own.
I couldn't be more uneducated and new at this if I tried.
2. I would recommend a plan with a few hundred megabytes of space and around 10GB of bandwidth. 90% of all personal sites fall within these limits and never use more. Be weary of any host offering tons of space and bandwidth for a very cheap price.
3. To accept credit cards, I would recommend a merchant account. If you want your name to show up on your customers' credit card statements, you need a merchant account. There are many third payment processors such as PayPal, 2CheckOut, WorldPay, etc. that lack this advantage. You can typically get a better deal with your own merchant account opposed to a 3rd party payment processor. I personally use e-onlinedata and found them very helpful to work with. You may also want to look at ProPay
Inthrive offers some good advice :-) and I too, would be skeptical on the companies that offer tons of space, bandwidth for a few bucks. My opinion would be you wouldnt actually need a few hundred mb just starting out but that could be a safe plan to go with. People always seem to *think* they need a gig of space and a few hundred gig bandwidth. Once reality hits an average norm seems to be about 50mb space, with an average 1-2 gb. bandwidth, so just keep that in mind. www.hostinghelp.com is another good site with alot of hosting information in general.
Be sure to run a search on google.com by company name and see if feedback results and by all means send pre-sales questions to your potential list.
I understand how you feel... getting into site creation and hosting can be pretty daunting at first, however after you get your hands dirty you'll start to pick it up in no time.
The recommendations made above are good ones. You should definitely make an attempt to get a merchant account if your credit/business history allows. If you are declined for a merchant account, a service such as WorldPay or 2Checkout will allow you to accept credit cards without your own merchant account.
If you're not sure what a merchant account is, it's basically an account with a company that will serve as a halfway point for money you collect via credit cards. They interact with Visa and Mastercard systems, collect the money from the transactions that you submit via a gateway like authorize.net, and send the money to your personal or business account automatically. For this, they generally take a flat per-transaction fee and a percentage of each transaction. In most cases (not all) a merchant account will also be cheaper than WorldPay/2Checkout/Paypal, as the transaction fees are generally lower.
As far as a hosting company goes, it doesn't have to be a gamble. Dan has put together a very nice site that includes a set of helpful articles and reviews on a handful of hosts. Keep in mind that the hosts listed here are not the only trustworthy ones out there, however it should give you a place from which to springboard your search. The URL for his site is: http://www.whreviews.com/
Hang in there! The more you wade in unfamiliar territory the more it becomes familiar--even if it's only by virtue of the fact that you've seen all of this unfamiliar stuff many times before.
Matt Lightner - http://www.mattlightner.com/
- First initial to the last name at the mail service provided by the world's largest search engine
- Founder and CEO (Former) Site5.com, sold in 2008
- Really honestly wants to be a good WHT citizen but can never remember all the correct etiquette. Mods, sorry in advance
I recommend adding up the time and cost associated with your two options, and then making your choice.
+ No monthly fee
+ Quick and easy setup
+ 50 million registered users
- Cost of about 3% of each transaction
PayFlowLink from Verisign
- Application fee ($100)
- Setup fee ($200)
- Monthly fee ($20)
- Requires a credit check
- Merchant Account requires business checking account backend (+$10-$25/month)
- American Express requires an additional an additional application
+ Cost 1.5-4.5% of each transaction, depending on your credit and whether or not the credit card is present
VeriSign and PayPal are to my knowledge and in my opinion the two most reputable companies offering these services - though there are many other companies offering these services.
I tried this and it helps. Try searching for the company name on 4-5 search engines, most of the times you will know if someone is badmouthing about the company.
Your question on availability also reminds me of hosts who offer unlimited bandwidth. Lets face it there is no unlimited support of anything worthwhile in this world. These hosts would simply bump the accounts if they hog more than a fair share of bandwidth and quote some hidden clause of there terms and conditions page.