So, you’ve decided what you want to blog about and you’ve picked out your domain. Now it’s time to decide what web host you want to use for that domain. Long story short, there are some terrible web hosts, some are terrific and others are mid-grade. Either way, be prepared to have an issue now and then. For example, I recall last year when a part of the Amazon cloud went down and several sites were SOL for several hours. Then you have huge sites like Facebook, which still experience a number of problems from time to time. Then as another example, some of the companies I work with as a blogger had major issues from this last Thursday evening through early Monday due to a major server hardware malfunction. Granted, these issues are usually few and far between for most of the better hosting companies, they are still something you definitely want to do your research on to make sure it doesn’t happen consistently.
The first thing to consider, in my opinion, when choosing your host is making sure you have room for growth. When I first started looking into hosts, I imagined that I’d just be able to do a bit of research, pick one, and be good to go. Little did I know that there was unlimited shared web hosting (which really isn’t all that unlimited), VPS hosting, Dedicated Servers and more with different levels within each type. Plus, with the variety of options comes the variety of prices – anywhere between $3 all the way up to $300+ a month. Luckily for the beginning blogger, and even those that are doing quite well, you can generally get a very good host for anywhere from $5-$10 a month on average.
What most bloggers will want to start with is called shared web hosting, which is usually touted as being unlimited, though it’s really not. If your blog happens to really grow and you begin to get thousands of visitors on a daily basis (say 3-5000+), you’ll likely start seeing your site have issues with downtime and have your host tapping on your email or phone that you need to upgrade. That’s why I suggest that when you do your research, make sure the hosting company has a variety of options available to you and will help with transferring your data to a new sever type in the event you do need to upgrade. If you end up having to search around for a new host and then someone to help you transfer, it’s very easy to lose several days of your site being up, which equals lost traffic and income, of course.
Next up, you without a doubt want to go with a company that has good customer service because, as I mentioned earlier, problems happen even to the best of companies. Do they have a 24-hour phone number or online chat you can use or are you at their mercy waiting on them to reply to your emails? What do other people think of their customer service? Are the representatives easy to communicate with or do they seem to be outsourced? You may even want to test out the customer service beforehand by sending an email or call to the sales support. Odds are if they don’t answer in a timely manner for potential money, they aren’t going to do so after they have your money in their account either. You also unfortunately can’t always depend on the longevity of a company. Sure, it means something, but companies often get sold these days and I’ve unfortunately heard a number of horror stories out there from some of the people using companies you think would be super established and reliable.
Other items to think about a web host include:
- If you’re looking to blog, you likely want to use WordPress. Most companies offer easy WordPress installations right from the console panel, but always make sure.
- Do they have a CPanel or some other similar console panel to use that makes setting up parts of your site as simple as a click?
- If you think you may eventually sell products directly on your site (like crafts, eBooks, etc.) make sure they offer secure servers (SSL certificates) and if they are included or additional cost.
- While I often claim my love for Gmail, I’d make sure your host offers at least 1 email account for your domain. You will often see this as an extra option when purchasing the domain itself, but I find this to be a waste of money as most web hosts include this as a free feature. Some websites you may choose to use in conjunction with your blog will often ask for an email to be sent from an address set up within the domain to prove that you own it.
- Price: Usually the more time you buy upfront, the less you’ll pay per month. However, if you’re paying peanuts over all, that’s probably about the same service you can expect as well.
- Domains available: Some of the cheapest hosting is most valuable because they limit you to 1 domain. If you want more than 1 site, this obviously isn’t what you want.
Lastly, I know some of you will probably want to know what web host I use myself. I decided to use HostGator after lots of research and listening to other blogger’s experiences. They offer hosting for under $10 a month for both of my sites, and though I have only had a couple issues in my near year of using them, they have always been quick to respond with helpful answers. Plus, they have a variety of hosting plans in the event I need to upgrade in the future. I also have a couple of HostGator coupon codes you can use when checking out and I will say upfront I do get commission if you use them. You can use the HostGator promo code MoneySav994 for up to $9.94 of your first billing or MoneySav25 for 25% off, which will likely be better if you’re purchasing multiple months at a time. You can get a domain hosted for as little as $3.71 a month with the 25% off code, though you do have to buy 36 months of hosting at the time. However, if you choose to upgrade in the future, what you have already bought will go towards the new price.
All in all, don’t stress too much about hosting. It is one of the most integral parts to your website, just remember that problems do happen no matter which provider you use. It’s less about trying to find the perfect host and more about finding a host that can handle the issues responsibly. If you have any tips for web hosts, I’d love to read them in the comments below! If you’d like to read my past blogging tips articles, I invite you to check out Money Savvy Michelle’s Blogging Tips section.
Til next time, I wish you all happy and money savvy blogging! 🙂