What to Look for When Starting a Community

Most modern day websites are now community based. For webmasters stuck in the era of completely static websites that hasn’t existed for 10+ years, it can be a real challenge in order to re-learn everything. There’s certain types of requirements and strategies one must have knowledge of in order to maintain a reasonably active community. Here we’ll discuss what some consider to be the three most important aspects of running a community and what that means when choosing a web hosting company.

1: Security

Security is of utmost importance when dealing with a community type of website. Why? Because it’s not just your security that’s at risk, it’s your visitors’ security as well. Having things happen like password theft and constant spam is not something that your visitors are going to be willing to work with you on. Most people use the same passwords and information on all their accounts on the internet, and you don’t want to be the one responsible for letting all that information slide.

You want to look for a web host that has a reliable way to protect against things like brute force attacks and other forms of mischievous behavior. Safety issues like these shouldn’t require spending cash on 3rd party software; it should be something that your web host takes care of for you (or at least lets you monitor).

2: Popularity

A web host isn’t going to get your community popular, but it certainly can do things that can help. One way is to allow a constant amount of server processing power and bandwidth to let users communicate without any kind of limitations. Another way is that most web hosts have servers which are optimized for today’s common community-based scripts such as forums, blogs, and sometimes even microblogging platforms (like Twitter-type sites).

Using the same interface as the next guy may seem a little less creative then we’d all like, but think about it. Your visitors have probably already used a similar interface before and will less likely become confused as to how your website works. For this reason, it’s important to not only choose a web host that allows commonly used content management systems, but also encourages their use and automatically installs and maintains them if possible. You can choose a good web host from a list of user friendly web hosting companies.

3: Flexibility

What we mean by flexibility is to be able to use the types of scripting languages and advanced features that make community-based sites that much easier to run. Sometimes MySQL isn’t exactly suited for the type of community that requires thousands, even millions of database entries, each being maybe the length of an article. Sometimes you may feel that eventually you’ll need to upgrade your service all together. The idea is that if you’d ever seriously think about using some type of service, make sure that your web server lets you do it if you so choose. Communities aren’t usually willing to wait around for you to change to a different server, and moving a community that’s consistently communicating without shutting it down temporarily is, well, impossible.