Do you have a great idea for a blog, but are not sure how to get it up and running? This happens often with most of the newbie bloggers and is natural. But do not panic! This guide will help you choose the right web hosting solution for your first blog.
Guide to Web Hosting
I’ am assuming you are going to be using WordPress as your blogging platform as it will be the best choice that provides the most customizations. Once you have decided on your blogging platform, the next step is to decide what you want to do for hosting. This is where you may want to take some time and research your options.
Your Hosting Needs
Following the advice or recommendations of others is not always the best approach. You do not want a web host that does not meet your needs. Compare all the hosting features that are provided by each web host to get an idea of what they offer. This includes email hosting, large storage, and ability to grow when you have more traffic for your blog.
My Opinion: Basic shared hosting is more than sufficient for most of the new blogs.
The Price Tag
A newbie blogger who is uninformed ends up paying more for web hosting than what they receive. Compare what is offered in hosting packages for multiple hosting companies. A control panel that is user friendly is also important. Two options that are easy to use include vDeck and cPanel (most popular one).
My Opinion: You get what you pay for. The cheapest price doesn’t really have to be always bad and the higher priced plans are not always the best. Look for features, not the price tag.
The web hosting solution you choose should have technical support available 24/7. Support will need to be available via telephone, email, or through email ticket system. An online knowledge base may be offered too that can be really helpful. Here is an example of an online knowledge base by BlueHost.
My Opinion: It is always better to choose a web hosting company that offers 24/7 support through both phone and email. No phone support? Say no to that web host.
A reliable web host for a WordPress blog will have an uptime guarantee of 99.9 percent. Make sure the hosting company offers this before making a commitment. Unexpected server errors should never be an issue if a backup system is in place.
My Opinion: Stay away from hosts that do not mention 99.9% uptime guarantee on their website.
A professional looking blog needs to have a professional looking email. The hosting company you will use should offer email hosting as well. This is also a great way to ensure your email is protected.
Yourname@yourdomain.com looks anyday more professional than Yourname@gmail.com. Don’t you think?
My Opinion: Choose a host that offers FREE email accounts along with your hosting plan.
Web hosting providers typically offer multiple payment plan options. Paying by the month is common, but a yearly subscription may be preferred as it will help you save a lot of money.
My Opinion: Choose a plan that suits your pocket. No rocket science here.
Customizing Your Blog
WordPress will need to be uploaded to your web host and tweaked to your preferences. The cost to use a web developer to set up WordPress may or may not be included in the cost of your hosting plan. This may be an added cost if you do not do the web designing by yourself.
However, there are a lot of free themes and plugins available for WordPress that should be more than sufficient as a newbie. Once your blog starts to get more visitors, you may think of upgrading your theme to a more professional one.
My Opinion: Never use the default WordPress theme, doesn’t look professional.
One important thing you will need to keep in mind is you will likely not make money on your blog right away. You do not want the lack of funds to be the reason to shut down your blog.
A shared web host will be the best option while you are just starting out. Just make sure you research any space limitations and check server uptime. Down the road you can look at other hosting solutions if you plan to make a change. Available options include VPS hosting, dedicated hosting, and cloud hosting.
My Opinion: Shared hosting is right for a new website.
Read Hosting Reviews
Read hosting reviews of existing customers to get an idea of any pros or cons. Keep in mind there will be a mix of good and bad reviews based on user experience. A really horrible review may be the result of being upset or angry. This is typically the reason for most negative reviews and feedback.
My Opinion: It is always wise to read the reivew of your chosen web host on more than one site. This ensures you take an informed decision.
Flexibility To Upgrade
Your web hosting company needs to be able to grow along with your blog. This means you might need to upgrade your account or move to a new hosting solution that better suits your needs.
Your web hosting company also need to upgrade their servers according to the new technology and advancements like supporting new programming languages, upgrading to newer versions of the existing ones, security patches, etc.
My Opinion: Choose a host that offers VPS and Dedicated hosting plans apart from shared hosting. This will allow you to upgrade your plan once your site grows.
There are many elements you will need to look at to determine if a particular web host will be the right fit for your blog. Research as much as you can before making a decision. You can always switch to another web host if you are not happy with your experience with the existing one.
I wish you good luck with your new blog.