Like a lot of digital artists, I have been, and to some degree still am, a webmaster as I maintain my own site with Adobe Portfolio.
For years, I have also hosted customer websites on services like HostGator, Bluehost, GoDaddy and Host Monster. I also used Host Excellence Windows-based services until they sold out.
I still use GoDaddy but only as a domain registrar… not a host and I have an active reseller account at HostGator that I use for clients and myself.
I have created websites that took months of work to launch. I have also created them with a few clicks of an installer and a Content Management System (CMS) like Joomla or Drupal. Throw in a ton of instant WordPress blogs and you can see I’ve done my fair share of backend web work.
Nothing I have done in my digital career was as easy and cost-effective as using a shared host for websites. Creating your website is not magic nor mysterious nor expensive depending on your needs.
For around $100 per year (US) you can run your own show with your own site and depending on bandwidth and storage restrictions (which are few if any) you can host many of your artists' friends on the platform at no extra cost to you.
No extra cost to you if you have one or 10 websites on your service (depending on your hosting plan) if they don’t consume too much bandwidth and get along nicely with all the other shared websites on the service. This is all transparent to you and the end user anyway.
Linux and Windows Platforms for Hosts
HostGator to my knowledge is a Linux driven host. Host Excellence was a Windows driven host. To the end user, those really mean nothing unless you need Linux or Windows for a specific reason.
To the end users, it’s all control panels, file managers and FTP (File Transfer Protocol) which is a way of getting a lot of files uploaded to a service instead of using a built file manager that may have limited upload capabilities.
What happens when you open a hosting account?
Usually, you are mailed an introductory message with details on how to access the administrative area of your service. There may also be explanations and details of email, FTP, and other services.
The website is a folder on the server with other websites (folders). It’s not magic. Just basic server management that is handled by the host.
I prefer the Linux hosts as they seem to be more powerful and flexible than any Windows-based host that I used in the past. Keep in mind my Windows-based host experience is limited compared to my Linux hosting experience.
And I don’t know a thing about Linux. Don’t’ want to either. That is the job of the host and all the headaches that go with it. I just use the controls panels and they are self-explanatory.
Control your Domain Name
I keep domain names separate from the host. This makes changing hosts a lot simpler to manage.
My domain names are at a registrar like GoDaddy. Their interface is simple to operate, and changes made to DNS and other features are easy to access and accomplish.
Also, when you keep your domain name separate from your host you protect that domain should your host cease operations. While this is rare in today’s world it does happen. Having them separate insulates you from any problems your host may experience.
Recently my old webmail service from the now-defunct Host Excellence stopped functioning prematurely and it was only a matter of minutes before I had transferred the DNS servers at GoDaddy to point the mail service to HostGator where I had already created the email addresses I needed.
This kind of flexibility solves a lot of problems.
A hosting account with easy to install CMS offers much more flexibility than a cookie cutter web service, particularly a portfolio type service. The downside is a need for some technical knowledge to get the ball rolling, but these things can be learned just like Photoshop and Maya.
M.D. McCallum, aka WarLord, is an international award-winning commercial graphics artist, 3D animator, published author, project director, and webmaster with a freelance career that spans over 20 years. Now retired, M.D. is currently working part-time on writing and select character development projects. You can learn more about MD on his website.