I am an affiliate for some of the products listed below. If you make a purchase via an affiliate link, I will receive a commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products and services that I have personally used and love.
I try to use open source software as much as possible, not only because it’s usually free, but because it is back by an international community of developers and power users for support.
What started as a blogging platform is now the most popular website content management system on the internet. WordPress can be used for any type of website, including e-commerce stores, schools, and news outlets. The software is free and they offer various hosted options as well. Most hosting companies, including InMotion, provide a one-click installation of WordPress.
Moodle is hands down the most powerful learning management system for hosting online courses. The software is free, but you’ll need a server to host it on. Most hosting companies, including InMotion, provide a one-click installation of Moodle.
Google Apps for Work
If you need a custom email address at yourdomain.com, get Google Apps for Work for enterprise level email backed by the power of Gmail. (Goodbye slow loading Outlook!) For as little as $5/month, you also get a suite of enterprise level collaboration tools such as shared calendars, collaborative documents, a website builder, and all the marketing tools created by Google.
Grammarly is a great FREE tool that corrects your spelling and grammar as you type, providing real time suggestions and replacements. While most browsers have basic spell check, this free extension also provides grammar proofing. Grammarly works on nearly any website with text input – not just your email!
If you need a domain name, head over to Namecheap to get one quickly at a decent price. While you’re there, get an SSL certificate to secure your website and show visitors that green box that verifies your identity.
Over the years, I’ve tried just about every hosting company it seems like. I used to love Bluehost and still host a few client sites with them, but they seem to be going through some growing pains and have inconsistent uptime on their larger sites. If you’re just getting started with your own website using a software like WordPress, I now recommend InMotion as a good static hosting company; their prices are also comparable to similarly sized companies.
Amazon Web Services
For those who need something more powerful than a static web host and site that will grow with their business, I highly recommend using Amazon Web Services. You are only charged for the resources you use – right down to the minute! No more paying for a 100 GB hard drive, just in case, but only using 10 GB of it; at Amazon Webs Services, you can increase resources in minutes and some even auto-grow to fit your data. I personally host my own and client websites on AWS, including: WordPress networks, Moodle course sites, and other high traffic applications. AWS is especially well suited for apps that have occasional spikes in traffic.
AWS does require a bit more knowledge of software installation and management than your standard host. Need someone to do the geeky stuff for you? I can help.