It is so easy to get started blogging today that many new bloggers don’t even realize they are choosing something called a “platform” to launch their blog from. The allure of built-in blog platforms such as Blogger or WordPress.com, of course, is that they are free to use. But at some point, the “free” service may be costing you in other ways. At this point, your thoughts may turn to finding host for WordPress elsewhere.
In this post, learn how to choose the best hosting for your blog in 10 easy steps!
1. Set your budget
While most blog platforms offer the same foundational menu of services, the bells and whistles are often priced differently from one to the next. For this reason, it is wise to set your monthly or annual blog hosting budget before you go shopping for a new blog host.
This way, you won’t be tempted to purchase more features than your blog can actually pay you back for.
2. Research server uptime and reliability
There really is no point in paying for hosting that offers all kinds of fancy-sounding bells and whistles if the foundational services are weak.
For example, if your blog content is frequently slow to load at peak hours, or if your followers are increasingly reporting that your blog is down when they click on your latest post, these are issues that can’t wait until tomorrow to resolve.
Ideally, you are looking for 100 percent up-time, but in nearly every case, 99 percent is what will be promised (and you should settle for nothing less).
3. Look for various hosting options
There is no sense starting a blog without also setting your mind towards its future growth. And with growth comes the need for additional hosting for WordpPess and additional platform options that can handle increased traffic.
Most blogs start out with shared hosting, which will likely be the default offered plan. But also look for dedicated web hosting, VPS (virtual private server) hosting and cloud-based hosting as additional options for when the time comes.
4. Confirm that multiple domain names are allowed
For right now, maybe you spend most of your time promoting your blog. But at some point you may want to write a book and market that as well. Or maybe you will want to start an e-commerce store to complement your blog.
You may want to reserve additional domain names to reflect these new additions. So be sure the web host you select permits you to host add-on domain names (many will permit as many as 25 additional domains).
5. Find out what your price will be when your hosting service renews
It is one thing to nab a great cheap deal on hosting services for the first year. But some (many) services use that first year to reel you in and then hike the price when it comes time to renew.
So do your best to confirm before you sign up what that renewal price will be and decide if that is a price you can live with.
6. Read the fine print carefully
Whether this is your first or 40th time to select a web host for your blog, it is always possible to discover after the fact that you’ve made an error. In this case, you will want to know in advance what if any refund policy is in place so you can get out of your agreement.
Many hosting providers offer a free trial period where you can check out the service before committing. But find out what happens after that. There are providers at all ends of the spectrum, from those that will charge you again to cancel and those that will give you a prorated refund on time not used (obviously, opt for the latter if available).
7. Find out if you can set up an online store
E-commerce offers a great work-from-home option for many entrepreneurs today. But if your hosting provider doesn’t offer e-commerce integration options, you will be forced to defer your store or move providers mid-agreement to make this happen.
Look for a host that offers their own e-commerce options and/or integrates with popular e-commerce tools and has sufficient encryption and security options to permit customers to shop with you safely.
8. Seek out an easy-to-navigate administrative platform
When your followers visit your blog, all they will see is the post of the day and whatever pretty graphics you associate with that post.
But behind the scenes is a different story. You will be the one going into the administrative panel to compose and edit your blog posts, add graphics, link to social media platforms, monitor and respond to comments, check email and more.
Be sure you like the interface and feel comfortable with how it works before you select a hosting provider.
9. Make sure email hosting is also an option
If you plan to create an firstname.lastname@example.org account to use with your blog, make sure the hosting provider also offers these services and confirm what the fee will be.
Also make sure you feel comfortable using the email interface and that it is mobile-friendly.
10. Learn more about site security and backups
There is no way to predict future unknowns that might cause site crashes or data corruption. But you can select a hosting provider that conducts frequent regular backups of your site so nothing is ever permanently lost.
With these 10 steps in your back pocket, you can take a good, hard, informed look at each of your hosting options, comparing and contrasting costs versus features and giving each a test run to decide what will work best. This way, you can get back to the business at hand of managing a successful, growing blog.