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Starting Your Own Website: Reclaim Your Hosting

If you’re a regular ProfHacker reader, you probably understand the importance of building and having control over your web presence. We’ve posted a “Website Hosting 101 guide back in 2009, a primer for creating your digital presence in 2011 with a guest post by Miriam Posner, and tips on how, and how often to update your website by Anastasia.

Now that the new school year has begun, some of you may be looking to start a professional website of your own. To create a website, you’re going to need two important things:

  1. a domain name: a web address where your site can be found, and
  2. web hosting: space on a remote webserver that will display your content when a user accesses your web address.

You’ve probably heard names such as BlueHost, GoDaddy, and HostGator as services people use for domain names and web hosting, all of which are commercially run and will generally cost you at least $100/year for everything that you need.

A few months ago, I gave up the commercial hosting service I used for my professional website in favor of a small company known as Reclaim Hosting. Reclaim Hosting comes out of the groundbreaking Domain of One’s Own project from the University of Mary Washington, which gives all UMW faculty, staff, and students their own domains and associates them with a college webserver. Reclaim Hosting, run by Jim Groom, Tim Owens, and Lauren Brumfield, is giving the commercial hosting services a serious run for their money with plans that start from $25/year for individuals and $45/year for users needing multiple domains–seriously, the best prices I have found on the the Internet.

I’ve been absolutely thrilled with the service and have been recommending it to everyone that I know. Reclaim Hosting took care of the transfer of my existing websites such that the transition took place without any hiccups. Their chat service for troubleshooting is really fast and responsive–I usually hear back from them in an hour during working hours. Even better, Reclaim Hosting is all set up to quickly launch digital humanities projects and tools–common DH content management systems like WordPress, Scalar, Omeka, Drupal and Vanilla Forums that many DH projects use can be simply installed with a few clicks after signing up and getting your own domain name.

It’s been four months since I’ve switched to Reclaim Hosting and I cannot say better things about the service and the people running it. It’s the service I recommend during my monthly webinars where I train academics to set up their own website, because they offer by far the best prices and terrific customer service. If you are thinking about signing up with them or switching, RH has kindly given me a 20% off for the first year coupon to share with ProfHacker readers. If you’re interested in the $25/year plan, use “reclaim4edu” (no quotes); and use “fac4life” (no quotes) for the $45/year plan. Switching from a commercial host to RH has saved me more than a hundred dollars a year, and I get better, more responsive service that is tailored to academic use to boot. I hope you get to try them out!

What do you use for your web hosting needs? Please share in the comments.

[Image: Sculpture: Deadly Sins (Snowglobes), a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from seeminglee]

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