Let’s Talk About Web Hosting – How to Pick a Good Web Host for Your WordPress Blog
Ever wondered how to launch and run a blog successfully? Wonder no more, I've started a video series that will help you learn how to launch a blog successfully.
This series of blog posts and videos cover all steps and necessary information for you to make the right decisions and start your blog in the right direction.
Let's Talk About Web Hosting Video
Notes and Additional Info About the Web Hosting Video
In this video, I talk about web hosts. Selecting a web hosting company is one of the most important decisions you'll make when starting a blog. If you buy the cheapest option, you may be fine for a long time. The quality of the hosting will come into question if somerthing goes wrong.
You could get lucky and never have a problem. Or you could be like one of the dozens of people I help each month after their host fails to support them properly.
If you go with the first host that shows you an advertisement, you'll probably go wrong as well. In the video I cover some of the most important factors to consider when choosing a web host for your blog. Take a few minutes to watch it.
At the end of this blog post, I also have a list of my recommended web hosting companies.
Age of the web host
This may be unusual, and many other bloggers won't even talk about this. It may or may not be essential to talk about it, but I think it is.
I mention considering the age of the web host (how long have they been in business) because when you're starting out, you want to go with a company that has been around for some time.
It is true that sometimes a brand new (6 months - 1 year) company may offer fantastic web hosting services with lots of features and benefits. But you just don't know if they're going to last and be able to work for you and with you when things get difficult. When starting out, stick to the veterans in the industry. 6 - 10 years or more.
Reviews and Public Comments
Reviews are important but don't make a rash decision because you see a few bad reviews or a few amazing reviews.
Dig deeper into it and make sure you understand why people are praising the company or complaining about it. Generally, the list of web hosts I recommend below are all excellent in all the critical aspects of web hosting --If you want to save yourself some time.
Support for WordPress
Do they provide WordPress-specific support and services? -- Webhosting is a bit of a utility nowadays, almost anybody can do it, so in a general sense, it almost doesn't matter which one you pick.
But some real differences will make deciding a little bit more easily. Since you're looking for a host now, the real benefit of picking a good host is picking a host that supports the application you will be using.
In the case of a blog, you will likely be using WordPress. WordPress is also what I recommend 98% of the time. All of the hosts I recommend have WordPress specific services and expertise and support WordPress.
Not only does WordPress specific support matter, but general customer support is important as well. Do they provide phone, email, or chat support?
Or maybe all of them? Most of the hosts I recommend provide at least two of these methods. My favorite kind of host provides phone support, chat support and email support. I expect them to respond to email requests within 12 - 24 hours, simple requests should take less than 4 hours.
Phone calls may take 3 - 10 minutes to be answered and generally, the issues are resolved within 15 - 90 minutes. Chat support is usually the best because it's real-time but you aren't waiting on hold or wondering if anybody's working on your email support ticket.
Cost of Web Hosting
Whatever you do, don't go cheap for sake of being cheap! There are a few different types of web hosting. I broke them down in practical terms and highlighted the price range at the end.
Regular shared hosting.
Also known as shared hosting, it works for 95% of the blogs out there. It's simple to use, you control everything via web interface. The main downside to shared hosting is that you are using a pool of resources distributed amongst any number of customers.
So for example, when you sign up for shared hosting, you will be put into a server with a number of other customers, maybe 150, maybe 2000. It all depends on the company and the type of resources.
The problem comes in when you are put into a server that already has for example, 300 users but it's really designed to host 200. They tend to do this because they know that statistically, most users won't use any resources so it's okay to have a lot of people there.
They handle this as they go, and if a customer complains a lot, they may get moved over to a server that is "less crowded" to put it in simple terms.
That's the problem with shared hosting, the other customers may affect the performance of your website. If one of the other customers gets featured on a viral post in Facebook, or makes the front page somewhere, the traffic coming to that site may affect all the other customers in that server.
There are VPS (virtual private servers) services, there are also managed hosting services and there is also dedicated server hosting.
When you are starting out, you will most likely use a shared web hosting account. This ranges from $2.95 per month up to 15 - 17 per month.
The next best thing is a Virtual Private Server.
VPS and Managed hosting.
VPS means Virtual Private Server which guarantees a certain amount of resources, and you have a little more control and options than you do with regular shared web hosting. Prices for VPS services range from 15 to 30 dollars per month and up.
Managed hosting is somewhat of a newer service in the web hosting space, especially when it comes to WordPress. It generally means the quality of service somewhere in between shared hosting and VPS or Dedicated hosting.
Many companies offer shared hosting and VPS and dedicated hosting and you can seamlessly upgrade as you need through their various offerings. so if you start with shared hosting, you can probably upgrade to any plan you need if your blog grows, they will help you and I know everybody that I list here and I recommend is able to do that, it's one of the requirements I have before I can recommend a company.
Generally, VPS hosting plans and managed hosting include high-end guaranteed resources but they also manage and control the application; often these services don't allow you to install other applications and access to files or database may be limited.
Managed hosting plans range between $16-$35 per month and more. These are highly recommended if you're willing to pay for it and really value the purpose of your blog or website. Most times these services come with dedicated support staff, faster response time, automatic backups and other nice perks. Your web developer, or web guy, or web designer will love you if you have this kind of service or better because fixing issues is much easier.
To decide, work out your budget
Decide what your budget is per year and then break that down on a per month basis and that way you can see which type of hosting you can afford.
Having a budget is a good thing, but you also need to know that you will need to spend some money on your blog. Your budget should be around $120-$500 per year to start.
With the hosts I recommend below, if you use the shared plans you'll probably end up between $80 and $100 for the year.
Additional Notes, Questions, and Answers
- How do you actually get the low rates that are advertised? And how do you save the most money? Answered at timestamp 2:48.
- How I pick web hosting for my clients and why. Growth and expansion are important too. Answered at 3:45.
- If you need to upgrade, will the web-hosting company help you? I talk about this at the 4:20 mark. All the services I listed below will help you move up to a larger plan when you need with minimal or no hassle at all.
- What are the value-added services and items you get with web hosting companies? I cover this around the 4:55 mark
I also mentioned that I would put a link to my recommended web hosts, so here is that list, in order of preference:
My Preferred web hosts
These are my preferred go-to hosts for myself and my clients when they are starting out and or are budget conscious. Perfect for personal blogs and business starter blogs. These companies and all their plans will upgrade nicely as you grow, you just need to contact support when you start hitting your limits. That's a nice problem to have, right?
- ** Inmotion Hosting - They have it all. This link goes to their current best deal. ** RECOMMENDED **
- GreenGeeks * - They're great, they also have a better-than-zero carbon footprint.
Managed WordPress Web Hosts
There is only one web host in this list, and it is the top WordPress-centric web host. It is super fast and very efficient. Though, there are a couple of downsides to using this. Primarily the price and the restrictive nature of a "WordPress only" host, but if you can afford 29/month and you don't need a lot of custom software outside of WordPress then you can go with these guys. They also take care of hourly backups which can make a huge difference if something goes wrong.
Other Recommended Web Hosts for WordPress
These are web hosts that I am comfortable recommending because I have used them personally in the past, or currently manage websites running on these services; they generally run well.
- Dreamhost * Please note, Dreamhost uses a custom management panel and it can be frustrating to use at first but once you get used to it, it's great. Its performance is generally fine, but management can be difficult for people without prior experience. If this is your first time hosting a website, you'll be fine since you don't know any different.
- Hostgator * This also has fans and haters. Some big bloggers use it, some bloggers hate it. I have a plan with them and run a lot of projects with them, Never had a problem, and support has been great every time. I also manage a few customers there with no issues at all.
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