How to Choose a Web Host for a Blog
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You’re starting a blog! It’s exciting. You have an idea, a niche and you’re ready to take it to the world. Just one problem, you need to find a place to park your blog – also known as a web host. Web hosting comes in many forms, but the host you choose is critical before you start blogging. Moving a blog, while possible, is never ideal. So it is best to pick the right web host before you even start.
Picking a web hosting is much like a business decision. Sure, your blog is something personal and you aren’t even in it to make money, but you need to approach the services you use for your blog as if you were. There are dozens of web hosts out there and the host that is perfect for your blog comes down to how much you want to pay, the features you need and the type of blog you’re hoping to create.
Price – Not the First Choice When Picking a Web Host for a Blog
Most of us will look at price first – it’s instinct. You want to know how much you’ll pay upfront to start, how much you’ll pay monthly or even annually. But, the price tag shouldn’t be the only or even biggest deciding factor. If you jump on the cheapest offer you see, you could be stuck with poor hosting, numerous down times and a blog that is useless.
If you are going to look at price, compare what you get for the price. That means features, additional costs that they aren’t advertising and most importantly, introductory rates. Often companies will entice you with a low monthly rate, only to add on extra monthly service fees or charge their usual monthly fee a few months later – which could be triple what you were lured in with.
You can compare pricing and features using our nifty comparison table here on Revuezzle. That way you aren’t just looking at price – you see what you’re getting for that price too.
Don’t forget about the renewal price. Sometimes you get a great deal for the year, but next year you see a jump in prices. Look into how much you will pay at sign-up versus renewal. For example, A Small Orange charges $3.13 per month and then increases to $4.20 per month at renewal. WP Engine charges $29 per month and there’s absolutely no increase at renewal.
Free vs. Paid
There are plenty of free hosts out there dying to house your blog, but before you jump on those, remember you are in a competition. Today’s blogosphere is highly competitive, so before you assume free is the way to go, you may want to ponder the pros and cons:
Pros of Free:
Cons of Free:
This is much more critical than you may realize. Nothing is more important than a site that is up – and if you choose a web host with considerable downtime habits, people may not access your blog. You want someone that is powerful and stable with at least 99.5 percent uptime. Anything below 99 percent shouldn’t even be on your radar.
Ease of Use
You might be a blogger, but are you a programmer too? Probably not. So you want to look into the usability factor. See how complicated it is to set up a site, if the host offers templates for faster creation, etc. If you want to add extra features – like a contact form – how difficult is it to create?
Most bloggers turn to WordPress. It’s easy to use, fast to setup and features plug-ins that allow you to quickly customize your site. But, not all hosts are WordPress compatible. When you are shopping around, you will want not only a WordPress-friendly host, but one that offers one-click installation – so you aren’t doing background coding and work just to get your site running. A few WordPress friendlies we always recommend include SiteGround, WP Engine, GoDaddy and HostGator.
Bandwidth and Disk Space
These are features often overlooked by first time bloggers, but extremely important. They determine how many people can be on your site, how much you can store on your site (i.e. photographs) and how slow your site will be. Ideally, you want unlimited bandwidth and there are plenty of providers out there offering it – SiteGround, FatCow and WP Engine to name a few.
When it comes to disk space, you will want to consider how much space you need now as well as when your blog grows for your web host. Unlimited is always best, but if you cannot afford an unlimited provider, at least opt for 10 GB minimum.
Say you decide to go with a host and during their trial period, you realize they aren’t the right host for your needs or blog. What does that company offer in terms of refund? Can you cancel? How difficult is it to transfer your blog from that unwanted host to another?
What Does Everyone Else Say About the Web Host?
Hosts will have no problem showing a plethora of positive reviews on their site -after all, they want you to buy from them. But, what do real customer reviews say about that company? What does the BBB have to say? Most importantly, how is their customer service? You will want to know about their ticket wait times, how friendly customer service staff members are, etc.
Revuezzle addresses all of these concerns in our in-depth reviews for web hosts so you don’t have to scour the web. We’ve called customer service, inquired about ticket times and even done in-house research to make sure the host you’re considering will provide you with excellent service.
Picking the right web host isn’t easy, especially as a first time blogger. The good news is if you follow these tips, you can narrow down the choices and hopefully pick the right host for your needs.
Read all of our web hosting reviews to see which host may work for your blog. We assess the customer service, pricing, levels of service, hosting packages, security and features so that you can quickly narrow down the choices.
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