Selecting a Hosting Plan for your Blog

Many bloggers will be satis­fied with the free platform WordPress or Blogger provide and the facil­it­ies avail­able there. It is true both offer a great platform for start­ing your blog, for many it is all they will ever need, but for some there is a need for something more, hence the need to move to to a hosted solution, perhaps to monet­ise the site or perhaps to simpli­fy the web address.

If you have decided a move is neces­sary then where do you start?

 

Update via WordPress​.Com?

Wordpress by lokena CC0 Public Domain from PixabayOne option is to upgrade your site using WordPress.com’s native features which will include a custom domain name, extra storage space, remov­al of ads, access to premi­um themes, but to monet­ise your site requires the selec­tion of the more expens­ive premi­um option. The monies spent may be compar­able with paid hosts but those hosts also provide other options not provided through WordPress.

 

What is your Budget?

In looking for a host one of the first things you will need to decide is your budget. What are you prepared to pay? At one time there used to be a formula that to create a web site you had a budget of approx­im­ately $10 to buy the domain name and approx­im­ately $100 per year for hosting, but things have changed over time and it is even possible to find free hosting solutions. You will need to perform a little research to find what solution is best for you.

 

I Like FREE!

 

Budget SqueezeWe all have tight budgets and pressure to tight­en our purses. I have to admit that I like things that are free, it is a sexy price. However you must be aware that in the software industry not everything that is advert­ised as free, really is free, many “free” products offer only limited free trials. For your website or blog it is my view that you need certainty do not need a limited trial, it is the move you may make now that will support you well into the future. Indeed this also contains a lesson for whatever solution you decide to purchase, you must peel back the layers and under­stand what you may pay after the initial offer expires, also you should check how long it applies for (e.g. can you purchase 3 years at that price?)

3 months free

There are free web hosts, but you will have to purchase the domain name or website that you will be using to publish your blog on.

The primary choices include:

If you wish to search for other free options then enter “free web hosting” into your search engine and analyse the results for yourself, some may also exist in your local­ity.

To under­stand the capab­il­it­ies offered by each it is import­ant to read the features that are avail­able for your blog you will need access to one-click installers for WordPress or other content manage­ment solutions. You should also look at the advanced facil­it­ies includ­ing the control panel, file uploads, FTP services, email boxes etc. You should look to ensure you site is ad free, banner free, link free (except for the ones you add yourself).

Perhaps the two most import­ant question to under­stand is how much storage space and bandwidth do you get? 10 GB of storage would be considered suffi­cient for your blog where­as 250 MB would not. 50 Gigabits of bandwidth is a start, but it is better the bandwidth be unlim­ited. You should be aware that free hosting services will be slower in gener­al than paid services and there is a reason for this, being that more sites will share the same server and the computers used are likely to be older.

 

But Maybe it is Best to Pay

Power Button by Open Clipart Vectors CC0 Public Domain from PixabayA reliable web host is a must for all blogs and websites, but access to such services doesn’t have to cost a fortune, in gener­al the advant­age of paid for services is one of speed and access to support services when things do go wrong. Free services don’t gener­ally provide any live support. Of course before purchas­ing you must under­stand exactly what you are buying, check out the features provided.

The primary hosting services you should consider include:

  • Bluehost Which includes a free domain, free site build­ing software, and free WordPress install­a­tion.
  • Host Metro The lowest price package is set at $2.95 for life, but you have to pay extra for domains.
  • A Small Orange Shared hosting utilising enter­prise class server hardware, includ­ing script installer.
  • A2 Hosting Which provides shared hosting for 1 website or blog.
  • Fat Cow Includes a free domain, unlim­ited disk space and easy install for WordPress and other content managers.
  • I Page Unlimited disk space & email addresses and a free domain.

There are many other hosting services avail­able and I may not have mentioned the one that advert­ises regularly on your local radio station, but the point about utilising any service, free, or paid, is that you have to analyse the features offered when finding your best deal, that local company may be the best value but its bandwidth may be low, you should look for poten­tial pitfalls with each choice.

When looking at prices you should trans­late them to your local currency so that you are aware of the full cost at the time of your purchase.

GobbledeGoox was recently trans­ferred away from WordPress​.Com and I selec­ted one of the listed hosting platforms, I have also used some others over time as a part of supply­ing custom­ers with specif­ic services, but have no exper­i­ence using free hosting services, but it may be something I try in the future.

 

Features

Ideally we would like guaran­tees that our website will be avail­able 24 hours per day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year (called 24*7*365), but even the most expens­ive corpor­ate servers will occasion­ally fail. The other require­ment is that the server be able to handle the thousands of people who will be coming to see your site every second of every day :-). The reality is that bloggers do not need the same type of service as the average corpor­ate server, having the server down for an hour in the middle of the night will neither be spotted nor matter to most bloggers.

Albeit with these things in mind there are some crucial features you will need to seek as a part of your package, these are:

  • Large amount of storage (prefer­ably no file size limit).
  • Large bandwidth (prefer­ably unmetered).
  • High speed servers or Enterprise class server hardware.
  • Known monthly or annual fees, that do not change.
  • 99%+ up-time guaran­tees.
  • WordPress script install­a­tion.
  • 24 * 7 support for paid solutions.
  • Email accounts.
  • Automatic database and file backup included.
  • Offers scalab­il­ity (should you wish to do something more with your site in the future).
  • Social media connectiv­ity.

Ideally you are looking for the provider that has the largest storage space, largest bandwidth and reliable high speed servers, but these things are hard to test, unless you have computer systems knowledge. The location of the server should not really matter as most blogs will get visit­ors from all across the world.

 

 

Buy Peter B. Giblett a coffee as a thank you for discuss­ing the question of moving your blog to a hosted service. All images used here come from royalty free or public domain image collec­tions, such as Pixabay.

 

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3 Comments

  1. Thank you for this article. I actually have been think­ing of upgrad­ing my blog, but think­ing the best would probably be through wordpress for me. It’s pretty simple and manage­able especially for me who has no background in website coding. Can you kindly share your exper­i­ence with me? 🙂

    • Katrina Jean, Despite having a coding background (in database techno­logy) I have no desire to do any coding at all for my blog. My decision to move to a new host was based on the limit­a­tions I saw with an upgraded wordpress​.com. There are thousands of options for themes, widgets, and plugins, with a hosted wordpress platform and that is what was a part of the final decision making. These all provide ways to improve how your site functions and how to monet­ise it.

  2. This is a lot to think about. I think I can afford to host a domain at around $100 a year without making any profit. Right now my blog is being hosted on Blogger for free.

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