How to Choose the Best Blog Hosting
There are a lot of different factors you need to consider while choosing a hosting service for your blog. Take a look at some of them below.
It’s a no brainer that your readers may come to your blog around the clock and they expect your blog to be up always.
This makes it essential to choose a reliable blog hosting service that offers maximum uptime. Anything below 99.9% uptime guarantee is unreliable.
There are lots of ways to conduct a due diligence about the uptime guarantee of your hosting server, like conducting a speed test. Now, this isn’t feasible if you’re in a hurry to start a blog.
To make it easy for you to analyze whether the hosting provider you want to choose is reliable, we’ve created a test site on all major hosting providers and conducted some speed tests using different tools.
We used 2 different speed testing tools, Pingdom and Load Impact to analyze the uptime guarantee offered by the hosting provider and how the website performs during traffic surge on each hosting service.
Just like the uptime guarantee, speed is another critical element you need to consider when choosing a hosting for your blog.
Nearly, half of your visitors expect your blog to load in just 2 minutes. Even worse, most of your readers will abandon your blog if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.
While you can find a lot of tips and tricks to speed up your blog, they won’t work if it is hosted on a slow hosting server.
To get a hosting service that doesn’t compromise on speed, you don’t necessarily have to subscribe to an expensive hosting plan. A lot of hosting providers offer cheap hosting for those who are just starting out as a blogger, which is good enough for most beginner bloggers.
Building a blog on top of WordPress is the most popular way to get started with blogging. Due to the increasing popularity of WordPress, almost every web hosting companies provide you with easy 1-click install options for WordPress and other website scripts like Joomla and Drupal.
Besides one-click installer, you want to take a deeper look into other features offered by your web hosting provider.
- Number of domains: Generally speaking, the hosting plans are classified on the basis of the number of domains you’re allowed to use. Understand how many blogs you want to host on your account and choose the right hosting provider that offers the most affordable hosting plan for your needs.
- Disk space and bandwidth: Shared hosting plans often come with unlimited disk space and bandwidth. While hosting companies often advertise that you get unlimited resources for your site, the reality is that you still have usage restrictions. When running a blog, you’re required to be compliant with the Terms of Services of your hosting company.
- Email address: Some hosting providers also limit the number of email addresses you can set up using your hosting account. Make sure to review it as well before you choose a hosting provider.
- Free offers: Take a look at what comes free with your hosting account. For example, you may get free blog files, domain and database transfers. Some providers also offer free Google AdWords and Bing credits to promote your new blog.
- Free domain: Reputed hosting providers like Bluehost also offer a free domain while signing up for a new hosting account. Purchasing a free domain along with your hosting account is the easiest way to get your new blog up and running. Keep in mind that if you purchase a domain name from another domain registrar, you could save renewal price in the long run.
- Free SSL: Just like free domain registration for the first year, some web hosting providers offer free SSL certificate as well. Installing SSL certificate on your blog will add a small green padlock icon in your address bar, which makes your blog look trustworthy. This can also be a great feature if you plan to sell a product later, so your visitors can understand that their sensitive data like credit card info is sent over a secure connection.
24/7 support is a standard feature offered by all popular hosting providers.
Support is typically offered via 3 options: phone, ticket based email, and live chat. Although 24/7 support is a standard hosting feature, it’s in your best interest to check whether your hosting provider of choice offers free support throughout the day using these 3 options.
For example, Bluehost doesn’t offer ticket based support in an effort to focus more on providing personal and direct support through phone or chat. This can be intimidating to users who want to get assistance for advanced issues that may take a bit longer to resolve.
Similarly, with DreamHost, Live Chat is also available only from 5 am to 10 pm PST and they don’t even offer free phone support for shared hosting. If you need assistance via phone, you’ll have to purchase the phone support addon separately.
The key is not to fall into the trap of your hosting providers’ free 24/7 support claim. Before you choose a hosting provider, take a due diligence on what modes of support they offer throughout the day.
Beware of those web hosting companies who advertise 24/7 support, but only provides email support throughout the day. Offering only email support throughout the day doesn’t make sense because it normally takes about 24 hours to get an email request to be resolved. You’ll need to ensure that 24/7 support is offered for free via phone and live chat as well.
Make sure your hosting provider offers extensive documentation that helps you walk you through every aspect of web hosting. With an extensive knowledge base, you don’t have to waste your time on live chat support because you can easily discover the solutions by doing a quick search.
You can find helpful articles, guides and how-tos that provide answers to all your questions regarding your web hosting account.
The refund policy is another factor you should look at. Most blog hosting providers offer at least 30-day money back guarantee to try their hosting service risk free.
Keep in mind that there are some hosting companies that charge absurdly high cancellation fees, so our advice is to avoid those at all costs.
Some hosting companies, like A2Hosting, even offer anytime money back guarantee that enables you to get a pro-rated refund even after your trial period is over.
Understand Different Hosting Options Available
To host your blog, you can find a few different hosting options. This can be overwhelming especially when you’re just starting out. Let’s take a look at different blog hosting options.
Free Blog Hosting:
Of course, you can start a blog on a free blogging platform, like Blogger or WordPress.com. But these free platforms come with a lot of restrictions that keep you from growing.
- No full control: Free blogging platforms don’t give you full control over your blog.
- No guarantee: Your blog’s host can take down your blog for any reason without your consent. Because you don’t pay for it, you don’t own it.
- Limited customizability: With a free platform, your ability to customize the way your blog looks will be limited. Plus, you can’t add as many as features as you could just like you add it to
- Monetization restrictions: A free platform like WordPress.com doesn’t allow you to monetize your blog with third-party ad platforms like Google AdSense.
On the flip side, with a hosted platform, you can do whatever you want on your blog and you get endless possibilities to monetize and customize it.
Shared Blog Hosting
Shared hosting is the best hosting option for those who are just starting out with a new blog. Although it’s the cheapest option, it comes with the complete set of features you’ll ever need from your hosting provider to get your blog up and running.
With a shared hosting server, resources are shared with other websites that are hosted on the same server. This is how hosting companies keep the costs low while making profit out of their business.
While most shared hosting plans claim to offer unlimited bandwidth, the reality is that you’ll have usage restrictions and are required to adhere to their terms of service. However, in most cases, their disk space and bandwidth are sufficient enough for running a blog with low traffic volume.
And, when you exceed the bandwidth, you’ll be notified about it so that you can upgrade to VPS or any other higher plans to run your blog smoothly.
WordPress Blog Hosting
While shared hosting requires you to install WordPress on your host by yourself, WordPress hosting comes pre-installed with it.
The main advantage of WordPress hosting over shared is that the ecosystem is built specifically with WordPress in mind. With WordPress hosting, you’ll get an extra layer of protection out of the box for your blog that resists common WordPress specific malicious attacks and vulnerabilities.
Another benefit is that you can avail assistance from WordPress experts who are trained to answer any WordPress questions you may have.
VPS Blog Hosting:
If you need a hosting plan that is better than shared hosting, VPS could be the best choice for you.
VPS hosting is an abbreviation for Virtual Private Server hosting.
With VPS hosting, despite sharing resources with other sites hosted on it, you get more power and flexibility.
Now you might be wondering, how is VPS hosting different compared to shared hosting?
With a shared hosting plan, hosting providers have a script to limit the resources of each client so that no one is using up all the resources. On the other hand, with VPS hosting, while you still be sharing resources with other clients, you get much more stable server hosting environment with little to no fluctuation in the resources available.
In fact, VPS is basically an independent partition of a physical server. With virtualization, it creates multiple virtual partitions of a physical server that enables you to effectively control your own resources and configure them the way you want.
Want to know when VPS hosting could be the right choice?
If your business generates considerable traffic and it outgrows beyond a shared hosting account can handle, you might give VPS hosting a try.
VPS hosting is scalable meaning your hosting provider can adjust the amount of server space allocated for your blog as your traffic grows.
Dedicated Server Blog Hosting:
If you want to host an extremely high traffic blog without having to share your server resources with other clients, dedicated server hosting could be the right choice for you.
By subscribing to a dedicated server hosting plan, you’re leasing a physical server from your hosting provider that is dedicated to your blog. That means you get endless possibilities to configure it per your needs. You won’t be sharing server resources with any other clients, so it costs much higher than shared and VPS hosting.
Dedicated hosting is less vulnerable to hacking and other security threats. If you don’t want to employ a system administrator, it’s highly recommended to get a managed dedicated server.
Having helped over thousands of users to get blog hosting, we’ve found that people used to ask the same sort of questions again and again. This is why we’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions, so you can get started with the best hosting service for your blog.
Why purchase a blog hosting account when you can start a blog for free?
A free blog comes with a lot of restrictions such as limited customization and monetization. Even worse, free blogging platforms can take down your blog anytime without your consent.
By purchasing a blog hosting, you get full control over your blog without any restrictions.
How much does it cost to purchase a blog hosting?
When you’re starting out with a new blog, you can choose a shared hosting plan that will cost around $100 per year. As you grow your traffic, you can upgrade your hosting for handling more traffic.
Do I need to have the domain and hosting from the same provider?
Not necessarily. You can get a domain and hosting from different providers. Some hosting providers allow you to register a domain name for free when purchasing a hosting account, which makes it easy to set up a blog from the ground up.
Alternatively, you can buy a domain name from a domain registrar. In the long run, buying a domain name from a domain registrar will be profitable for you because the domain renewal cost will be low.
Do I need to get a hosting addon?
No. When you purchase a new hosting account, hosting companies will try to sell hosting addon products. Make sure to uncheck those addons because you’ll likely not need them when you’re just starting out with a new blog. You can always purchase them if you need them later.
What happens when your blog outgrows your initial plan?
If you exceed usage, you’ll likely receive an email from your hosting provider to reduce it. If you find frequent outage, it’s the best moment to upgrade to any higher plans so you can create a stable hosting environment for your blog.
Why does hosting support matter?
You never know when you’re going to be in trouble in terms of hosting.
In fact, just because a web hosting provider has a satisfactory uptime score, doesn’t necessarily mean your blog will be 100% secure and up around the clock. For example, if you’re on a shared hosting server, your blog may have an impact on how other websites hosted on server consumes the resources.
When you find any issue with your hosting server, you’ll want to contact your hosting provider instantly and get it resolved in no time. It can only be done if your hosting provider has a good track record of resolving support requests with no trouble.