For my personal site, I use 1&1. I find them to be a good value. They're not the cheapest but they are cheap, their uptime is pretty good, the customer service is not bad, their load time is good enough for a personal page, and they have a good selection of tools and features. I also like their long-running promotion of their 2nd cheapest level of service (3 months free with a 1 year contract). For me, this is definitely the biggest bang for the buck. Also, after 1 year, you spend less on this level (with 3 free months) than you would on the lowest level (with 0 free months). The below is specific to 1&1 but feel free to use another host if you prefer.
- Go to http://order.1and1.com and click on the big red badge in the Hosting section.
- Notice the tabs at the top of the page for Linux Hosting and Microsoft Hosting. If you're unsure, go with Linux. Don't worry, you won't need to know anything about Linux for any of this. There are reasons to pick a Microsoft host computer but in 1&1's packages, the features installed on their Linux computers will give you more options later if you need them.
- You'll notice that the top row on the chart is Included Domains. 1&1 will offer you some free domain names. If you do this, you pay nothing for the domain names and you get to keep them as long as you're with 1&1. I prefer to own my domains outright and use them with whatever host I please. So I purchase my domains myself from godaddy for $10/year (see Buy domain).
- Click Sign Up for the package you want to buy. Again, I think the 2nd lowest package (1&1 Home) is the best value, but evaluate for your own needs. If you want to see all available features, go the bottom of the page and click show all features...
- If you're using a domain you're purchasing yourself, click Choose a domain later. Otherwise fill out Choose a domain now
- You'll get the option to buy software. I rarely find it worth it but decide for yourself. Continue
- The rest of the signup is standard stuff
Note: they give you a user # to use rather than letting your choose a name so take note of that number. It's your login name.