Blogs are more relevant in 2019 than ever before, in my opinion. Your blog hosting is crucial. Where are you hosting your blog at?
From all indications, where to host your website is as important as your website.
There are dozens of factors to consider if you want to run a successful blog. But I want us to focus on choosing the most appropriate web hosting service. This is basically the foundation of any online business.
There are thousands of web hosting companies out there and at some point, it can become confusing. You’ll find people switching web hosts frequently as a result of unguided choices they make.
I initially started hosting with a company in India. Then moved to 1and1. In 2008, I found HostGator and shifted all my sites from 1and1 to what I thought was a better service.
My experiences with HostGator were good right off the bat but shortly after, it degraded to a nightmare. So I shifted my business completely to my current host, where life is completely different when it comes to uptime, load speed, customer service, etc.
Please don’t get me wrong. A lot of people are happy hosting with HostGator and some of those other web hosting services generally considered to be bad. It all boils down to understanding what you want and who offers what.
I always recommend checking out 4 or 5 different hosting services before making a choice. You may want to check out this WordPress hosting comparison post.
While you are doing your research and comparing different web hosting companies and offers, here are some points I’m underlining for your attention:
1 – Know what you want first about blog hosting
You don’t just want to buy hosting for the sake of it. The first thing is to know your online business needs. Measure the strength of your business to determine the hosting that will fit.
When I got into the industry, I had a PHP website. But I bought a Windows ASP hosting package. That was very stupid if you ask me.
Study the different hosting packages, paying attention to server resources:
- Monthly bandwidth allocation
- Backup specifications
- Email server specifications
- Domain name and SSL costs (free or paidt)
- Number of websites you can host in a single package
- Database limitations
- Web host security
- Server location
What type of website do you have? Is your site developed on Joomla, WordPress or some other Content Management System? Do not buy a WordPress optimized service to host a site developed on Drupal.
If you have a custom site developed on a framework like Laravel, CodeIgniter, Symfony, CakePHP they may require some additional server extensions to function correctly.
Buying a hosting package without considering these and many more specifications is tantamount to throwing your online presence into a dark endless pit.
2 – Don’t be fooled by the ‘cheap’ price
One of the factors that mislead folks in the industry is price. While cheap services generally look attractive, the underlying strength of the service is weak.
You don’t buy a hosting package that costs you $1/month and expect to run a huge project with thousands of files, a large database, and a massive audience.
The cheaper the cost of the service, the less attention you get from the service provider and the more the limit on your space resources.
One area to note here is the first year bonus offers. Generally, in the industry, companies have discount coupons to apply to your first invoice. Subsequent invoices will be generated at regular price which for the most part is a shock and disappointment to many users.
Closely related to this are hidden charges. The upfront price may be meant to attract you. In the buying process, you may notice that you are being forced or tricked into spending more to get the service.
Generally, in life, you’d be surprised how expensive it turns out to be after pursuing cheap options. Most cheap hosting ain’t cheap as a matter of fact. You end up losing or spending more in one way or the other.
3 – Customer reviews and ratings
This is one area that’s beginning to get on my nerves these days. The reason is that most reviews are not genuine. They are either faked or paid.
I discourage basing your buying decision on affiliate reviews. Affiliate reviews are articles written by someone to push you into buying a product so he may earn a commission.
Many affiliate bloggers don’t even know what they want. All they care about is the commissions so they earn from your purchase. So they are going to be biased, doing all that’s possible to get you to buy the product.
There are however authentic reviews based on verifiable user experience. In this recent WordPress hosting survey I did, I invited over 130 website owners to share their experiences with their respective web hosting companies.
This was genuine opinions from users as they have no selling or commission motivation behind it.
Existing customers can always help with your decision to buy any web hosting service online. However, beware of those who only want you to buy so they earn that referral commission.
4 – Customer Service
The success of every business lies in customer satisfaction. When it comes to web hosting, this is even more important.
If you decide to host with company XYZ, what do they have in place to keep your business going after your purchase? You will always have the need for some after-sale service (technical or billing).
Here are some quick questions to guide you on this point:
- How easy it is to get to customer service (Live chat, toll-free lines, ticketing system, etc)
- How quickly does the support staff respond? Does it keep you waiting for hours?
- How qualified is the customer service?
A company with low-rated customer service can ruin your blogging business. This is not an area to negotiate. It’s either you get the best to keep your business going or you turn to the next hosting option.
5 – Refund Policy
Don’t make the mistake of buying hosting for your blog without close attention paid to refund details. I can’t tell you exactly what to look for, but generally, look for company practices you can be satisfied within terms of service cancellations and refunds.
But take note that refunds are not possible with some payment methods. If for instance, you make payment with Cryptocurrencies (accepted by some web hosting companies), you may never get a refund.
6 – Company’s track record
There are new web hosting companies popping up every day. Usually, these don’t have enough reviews and case stories. In this case, you may want to investigate the team and company owners.
Knowing the track record of any hosting company helps you see the direction of your business. HostGator, for instance, was bought by the Endurance International Group (EIG) a few years back. This marked the beginning of bad service and a huge customer exodus.
WPX Hosting was rebranded from Traffic Planet Hosting. This was followed by a massive deployment of energy that took the company to a whole new level.
Some months back, a friend contacted me to promote a so-called great hosting company based in the USA. I was excited about the company, reading stuff on their websites about them hosting over 700,000 websites and paying over $500,000 to affiliates in the past couple of years.
But I soon found out:
- The company was new. It had been in business for less than 3 months.
- They were struggling to get their first customers in a highly competitive market.
- Their business was built on deceit and manipulation.
- There was no future for them with their strategy.
What a shameful approach. So I recommend you don’t buy any hosting without basic investigating the company and their service.
7 – Start small
Except for some popular event-based websites, it may be difficult to start a site today and get thousands of readers by the next hour. Some big projects may require huge resources from the very start.
But the majority of businesses go through a gradual growth curve. This means, don’t pay for a dedicated server while all you need is a few KBS of disk space.
With time, as your business grows, you may need to upgrade. The good news is that scalability is quick in web hosting and doesn’t cause any loss or downtime.
With a simple click, your hosting can be switched from a low tier to a higher package within a minute.
Choosing bad web hosting may compromise your blog growth. If you want your blog noticed you must pay attention to where it’s being hosted. Make a well-informed decision to secure the future of your blog.
For more information, tips, and more items you need on your web hosting checklist, check out this great infographic from Web Hosting Cat.