If you’re going to run a blog using WordPress (which I recommend you do) then you will need to find web hosting for it.
Sidenote: WordPress.com and WordPress.org are different. You don’t want to host on WordPress.com. You want to find a 3rd party web host that will install the WordPress.org software.
Side sidenote: If you run with Squarespace that is fine as well. You probably won’t need to read the rest of this email if that is the case.
It’s quite possible that by the time you’re reading this you already have web hosting. If that’s the case then I don’t want everything that you read below to freak you out. Don’t press the panic button and jump ship, but you’ll start to see what you should look out for with certain web hosts.
First, let’s talk about the untalked elephant in the room: Bluehost.
There’s a good chance you’ve heard of Bluehost because almost every big blogger recommends Bluehost. That must mean they are good, right?
From what I’ve read (and I keep an eye on these things) Bluehost doesn’t serve you very well in the long run.
So why do so many people recommend it?
- Because they see others recommend them
- Their affiliate payouts are pretty high
Bloggers like to make money and because Bluehost has some of the highest affiliate payouts in the industry people go with them.
The bigger problem with Bluehost is that they are actually owned by a giant International Corporation. This in itself isn’t a problem but if you look at what happens when this giant company swallows up smaller companies it’s not pretty.
Service starts to go downhill.
It’s quite possible you will have a great experience with Bluehost. They may never lead you wrong. I’ve never hosted with them so I am not speaking from experience.
I just wanted to give you the background on what I know so you can make a more informed decision.
What to look for in a web host?
So if you’re web host shopping what should you look for? Many beginning bloggers solely look at price. They see an offer of $2.95 a month and they jump right on it. The problem is that not all web hosting is the same as you can quickly find out.
All low-price web hosting you find is going to use what is called shared hosting.
What is shared hosting?
Imagine there is a big house with a ton of room. You decide to rent one of the rooms. All of the rooms get filled up and sometimes you can’t sleep because the people in the other rooms bring their friends over all of the time.
The people that own the house decide they want to make more money so they rent out the hallway, bathroom, and kitchen as well. Eventually, it gets to the point where people are just spilling out the windows.
This is shared hosting in a nutshell.
It’s why it works out when your site is small but as it grows you start to notice that performance degrades severely.
Did I scare you yet? Don’t worry, if your blog is still small, performance should be fine assuming your web host is being fair and giving your blog the resources it deserves.
The thing with shared hosting is that you can’t really look at one feature over another. They are all pretty much the same.
So what web hosts do is throw in other features that don’t cost them anything. X amount of storage. Y amount of bandwidth.
Some will even toss in a free domain for the first year.
If you’re going the shared hosting route because you want to start off cheap, something to keep in mind is that many times when they say $X.XX a month, that price only happens when you pay for a full year.
Because you’re awesome and you’re going to do awesome things you will probably quickly outgrow that cheap plan and what does that mean with the other months you still have on the cheap plan? I honestly couldn’t tell you. Just keep in mind that you might be better off paying monthly even if it does cost you a couple more dollars a month.
I suggest that you do some research on your own and take whatever you read with a grain of salt. The name of the game is affiliate marketing so many people will just pimp whoever is offering them the best deals.
Through my research and the 2,000+ bloggers I’ve helped, I’ve found that one of the best web hosts for shared hosting is Siteground.
Yep, that’s an affiliate link. It’s there because hopefully after all of this information we’ve developed a little bit of trust.
Like I said through my research (because I get asked a lot which web host to choose) I’ve found that Siteground is one of the top web hosts with regards to service and customer support. Unlike Bluehost, they aren’t part of a huge conglomerate.
Don’t just take my word for it, though. Do your own research and if you do find that you want to give Siteground a chance I’d appreciate it if you use this link.
If you’re wondering who I use then that would be Digital Ocean. They cater more to developers and if you don’t know your way around the command line or know what that even is then you want to stay away from them.
That means I manage my own servers through Digital Ocean. If you feel comfortable doing that then I suggest you give it a shot and pair it up with SpinupWP.
It’s an amazing service that makes managing a server much easier.
However, if you aren’t comfortable with interacting with the commandline or don’t even know what that is then I’d stay far away.
Start with Siteground for the first year (I’d go with the WordPress Hosting, GrowBig plan) and then branch out during your second year if you need to.
Other things to look for
What else should you look for in a web host?
The majority of them offer the same stuff but if you can get FREE SSLs then that’s a good thing. SSL are security certificates that you always see being used on e-commerce sites.
Google is starting to put a higher emphasis on sites that use SSL certificates so if you can get them for free that is a very good thing.
Psst…Siteground offers free SSLs.
Besides that, there isn’t much more to recommend when it comes to web hosting. They’re kind of like mobile phone providers. At some point, they are going to piss you off.
As your blog grows you’ll want to possibly look at web hosts that solely focus on WordPress so they can handle the traffic load that your site brings but that’s another topic for another day.
Next up? Everyone’s favorite game…