How to find the right web host for your blog
A guest post by Patrick Burmeier.
With a range of impressive packages and tools available, starting a blog is incredibly easy. You absolutely don’t need to be a designer to make it look the part. Nor do you need to be particularly web-savvy to get it live and running smoothly.
However, one thing can save you a lot of time and headaches if you get right from the start. I’m talking about choosing a web host for your blog.
Once you’ve decided you’re ready to start a blog, it’s easy to get lost in the wonderful world of well-designed themes and templates. But hold your horses for just a moment, because starting at the wrong end might limit your options further down the road.
First of all, you need to find a home for your blog – also known as a reliable, reputable web hosting provider.
What is a web host?
In simple terms, your web host is your blog’s home, where everything you post lives. Words, images and other assets are stored on what’s called a server, and your followers access all of it via the internet.
There are different types of web hosts:
- Shared web hosting
- Virtual private server (VPS)
- Dedicated web server
- Cloud-based web hosting
- Reseller web hosting
You don’t need to understand all the ins and outs of what the different options entail, but it can be good to know that you’re not always comparing like for like.
Shared web hosting is an affordable starter option. But sudden spikes in traffic to one of the sites hosted on the server can occasionally lead to downtime and instability. So once you’re ready to invest in your established blog, it might be worth looking at next-level options, such as a VPS.
Cloud-based web hosting does what it says on the tin and is another increasingly popular option. This can also be affordable, as you typically only pay for what you use.
As you may have seen, there are free hosting solutions too. We’ll get to why these are best avoided shortly.
Why is finding a good web host important?
You now know a web host, or technically its server, is where your blog lives. Naturally, you’ll want this home to be safe – or, in website terms, you’ll want it to be stable.
A non-solid web host risks experiencing downtime, which in turn may lose you readers. If it’s not robust enough, your reader’s experience can become frustrating with images being slow to load. You need a web hosting solution which guarantees your blog stays up and works smoothly.
There’s more to web hosting than stability though. Investing in a web host for your blog allows you to choose a unique domain name plus matching email. Some web hosts offer the full package with a personalised URL and email. Others require you to buy your URL separately. Either way, it will contribute to your blog looking more professional.
What else can the web host do?
As well as the crucial branding aspect of a unique domain name, this will work to your advantage with regards to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). A quality web hosting package is crucial to securing good search rankings. Everything from downtime and connectivity issues to slow loading speed can damage your SEO credentials.
A good blog hosting package will give you control over a range of SEO elements. This includes plugin options and paid-for add-ons as well as simpler DIY solutions. This makes your blog more credible to the search engines, meaning they’re more likely show your content for relevant terms.
Paying for web hosting also means you can rest assured your content is yours. Moving your posts from a free option to a new hosting provider can be tricky. Especially if the server goes down or the provider goes out of business. With a quality web host comes professional customer service and technical expertise. Now you can forget about DNS records and technical glitches and focus totally on blogging.
How do I choose?
How much you’re willing and able to spend on getting your new blog up and running might depend on whether it’s part of a bigger business plan or more of a hobby project.
Therefore consider your budget before you start your research, and list your most important demands. If you want a blog hosting provider with a complete package of a DIY website builder and domain registration, this is a good place to start.
Secondly, get the numbers straight. It’s absolutely crucial to research on uptime, storage capacity, loading speed and traffic limits. This is particularly important if you’re likely to publish things like video content.
Finally, before you make the decision and commit to a hosting provider, consider these questions to make sure you’re happy with your choice:
- Can you find ratings and reviews to show that the provider is reliable?
- Is there a package that fits your needs and budget?
- Does the storage capacity and traffic allowances meet the needs of your particular type of blog?
- Do you know how to get your domain name registered and joined up with the hosting provider?
- Do you need an email address, and if so, does it come at an extra cost?
- Is the blog host compatible with the blogging platform you have chosen, or does it offer a blogging CMS as part of your deal?
- Does the support team offer the kind of service you think you might need?
Once you’ve considered all of the above, you can be confident that you’ve put in the work to give your new blog the best chance of success. Happy blogging!
About the author
Patrick Burmeier is an experienced Digital Marketing Consultant who helps small and medium-sized business and newbie entrepreneurs to find their way around the world of Google & Co. He’s a trained journalist and experienced Marketing Manager who enjoys creating engaging and educational content.