Choosing the right web host for your blog is an important thing. There are so many options out there and there are a million different reviews and opinions. When I decided to make the switch from wordpress.com to wordpress.org I had no clue what to look for in a web host or even where to look. This post is to ease you through the decision of finding the right web host for your blog.
If you’re confused by what web hosting even is have no fear! I wrote THIS post a few weeks back and it will explain it all in detail. Now, lets get to the good stuff!
How to Choose Hosting for Your Blog
Know your needs
Hosting is not a one size fits all type of thing. What Under Armour needs to run their site and what you need to run your blog are not going to be the same thing. Are you just starting out with your blog? Do you get under 5,000 pageviews per month? Will your site need space for lots of photos or videos? If you’re just starting out I recommend starting small. You can always upgrade as your site stats and needs get larger.
Bandwith is a fancy way to say site speed. As in: how quickly your site will load once someone lands on it. This is a big, fat, hairy deal. I repeat: BIG DEAL! Why is it a big deal? Because 46% of people will leave a site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. 3 seconds! Those are potential people who could be in love with your site, your content and just you in general
Unless you’re are expecting very large amounts of traffic. Most blogs (something like 95%) use no more than 5GB of bandwidth per month. If you’re a photographer there’s a good chance you’ll be loading a lot of photos onto your site. Photos are great, but large amounts of them will have a tendency to slow your site speed so make sure you’re taking this into account.
Disk space is the data size of literally every aspect of your site: your pages, posts, images, text and all the code. Naturally, a site with 800 blog posts and thousands of pictures is going to need a lot more disk space than a blog with 40 posts. There are quite a few hosting providers that offer unlimited disk space. Most sites do just find on 5-10 GB. If you do get to the point where you’re needing more disk space for your site you can always upgrade to more.
Shared or Dedicated hosting
There’s a good chance as your setting your self-hosted site up, they will try to upsell you from shared hosting to dedicated hosting. Dedicated hosting means your site will have it’s own server completely dedicated to your site and your site alone. Dedicated hosting gives you more bandwidth and more overall space. This option is also more expensive (of course). The truth is shared hosting is perfectly fine for most sites. My site receives about 30,000 page views per month and shared hosting is working just fine. Now if your site is seeing hundreds of thousands of page views per month, having dedicated hosting might be a good upgrade.
Some hosting providers offer a lot of other add-ons that could be really beneficial to you. Some of the things I’ve seen offered along with a hosting plan:
- a free domain name – I had already purchased the domain carriegillaspie.com before I switched to self-hosted.
- a custom e-mail adress – for example: firstname.lastname@example.org
- the ability to run multiple sites with one hosting package – definitely a good add on if you’re looking for hosting for more than one site.
- a money back guarantee – 30 day trail period
- automatic site back-ups – if shit hits the fan and your site crashes they guarantee they’ll have a backup of it on hand
- free migration – if you’re moving from wordpress.com or moving from another web host provider, they’ll transfer your site over…fo’ free!
Maybe you’ll be blessed by the blogging gods and never run into any blogging difficulties ever, but this is highly unlikely. If you’re blogging long enough there will be some sort of hiccup and you’ll need support from your hosting provider. Do they offer over the phone support with a real person? Is there 24/7 chat option? Do you have to submit a support ticket and then wait 24 to 48 hours to receive a response?
I’m telling you now: all web host providers are going to tell you their customer service is second to none. This is definitely not the case. There are hosting providers that have horrible customer service. What’s the best way to find out who’s good and who’s not? Google it! When people who spend a lot of time on their computers pay for a product and then don’t like it, they’re very vocal about spreading the news. You’re sure to find hundreds of reviews for any hosting company out there just by googling it.
Hackers are a real thing. If sites like CapitalOne and Target can be hacked, then your little ole blog can be hacked too. Look into the safety measures a hosting provider takes. What do they do to make sure your site is safe? Do they have add-ons to insure the safety of your site or does it come with your hosting plan? Do they have a program in place that will notify you if someone tries to log-in your site from an unfamiliar location? Is their login process super relaxed or do they require a extremely detailed password – you know: one capitol letter, 2 odd numbers, one apostrophe, one lock of your first born’s hair, etc,.
Last but not least: show me the money honey! Here’s the deal, there are a lot of affordable hosting options out there. Don’t let the price be the one and only reason you pick a certain hosting provider. You might be saving some money upfront, but you may be setting yourself up for some problems down the road if that provider can’t fit your needs. Most hosting providers will have a number of options available – 1, 2, and 3 year options are all usually pretty typically with most providers. The longer you commit the more the price will come down.
If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you’re just starting out with your first web host. If you’re a newbie to the blogging world, I 100% recommend my hosting provider: Bluehost.
Why did I choose Bluehost? Because everyone and their mom was recommending it, so I knew it had to be good, and perhaps more important to me, Bluehost is the #1 recommended web host by wordpress.org.
I was a complete website dummy when I started out so it took me a while to get a full handle on wordpress.com. By the time I felt like a wordpres.com pro, I had outgrown it and was ready to transfer to wordpress.org. The problem was I was horribly scared I’d have to relearn a whole new method of blogging. Knowing that Bluehost was recommended by wordpress.org and had a 1-click installation really put my mind at ease.
That was 2.5 years ago….
So what do I think of them now? Honestly, I still love them. My site has grown from 200 monthly page views to 30,000 monthly page views and I have had almost no problems in between that. The Bluehost c-panel is super user friendly (even for someone who is not tech savvy), and my blogging dashboard is completely the same as what I learned to blog on with wordpress.com. In my honest opinion, Bluehost is the perfect web host for a someone who is just starting out with their self-hosted blog or site.
If you have any questions about Bluehost or web hosting in general shoot me an e-mail! I’d be happy to help or answer any questions you have.
Now tell me…