Although blogging is no longer the shiniest object in marketing, there’s little question that it’s still useful. In fact, as I’ve said in a prior article, blogging is far from dead. This is true even though “free” blog platforms like Blogger are much less common. In 2024, if you are blogging, your blog posts are probably housed on a website that is being run by WordPress.
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While WordPress has its own blog hosting with its wordpress.com product, the solution that most serious bloggers use which gives them complete control over their website is wordpress.org. There are several reasons for this, including the fact that there’s more flexibility with the nonprofit version. In addition, it’s less expensive to start.
However, WordPress.org is a server application called a Content Management System, or CMS, which requires a server to run on and make sure that your domain name is correctly pointed to. So, while you don’t pay a fee to use WordPress.org, there are other costs involved. One of the more basic additional services is blog hosting.
What is WordPress Blog Hosting?
In a nutshell, blog hosting involves a company that rents its servers to you to run and maintain your WordPress website. This is obviously cheaper than owning your website’s server, and it’s the most common way people stay on the Web. However, there is a monthly fee for hosting, along with any other services you might require. Your host will store your website information on their server, and the server handles all the inquiries from people visiting your site. This way, depending on your hosting provider, you don’t need to do much yourself.
Do I Need a Host for My Blog?
Unless you are using one of the website builders solutions that include web hosting, such as the blogging sites WordPress.com, Wix, Weebly, and SquareSpace, yes, you need a host for your WordPress.org blog. As for the other website builders mentioned, they may or may not be able to handle the WordPress CMS. In those cases, the company will either tell you what is supported or provide their own in-house CMS. Always make sure you know what’s compatible with a hosting service before you buy.
How Do I Host a WordPress Blog Site?
Luckily, buying and hosting a WordPress blog site is relatively easy. Your first task is to purchase a WordPress plan from one of the blog hosting sites below. Make sure the plan you choose will meet the needs of your blog, such as anticipated traffic. It’s always best to buy a plan that will let you grow a bit without costing too much.
Once you’ve purchased a plan, it’s time to install your WordPress application inside their server and point your domain to it. Many blog hosting sites offer simple one-click installation. This allows even non-technical people to be successful with self-installation.
Finally, export your current WordPress site to the blog hosting site. There are paid services as well as WordPress plugins that can help you do this. WordPress has its own native import/export plugin as well. However, using a special service or plugin will help guarantee the quality of the import/export process as things can go wrong.
It’s worth noting that some web hosting sites will provide free migration to secure your business, and this will save you LOTS of headaches and get your site running fast. After all, great service leads to more customers and bigger profits in the long run.
Why is Choosing the Best WordPress Blog Hosting Service So Important?
Having the right blog hosting helps ensure that your blog runs smoothly. For instance, speed is a consideration for SEO, and your blog hosting site and service plan will directly affect your performance. This is one reason why I say to get enough extra space on your server for the blog to grow. If you don’t then the blog may run slowly too soon.
In addition, every blog hosting site is built on different technology, so some have more downtime than others. Downtime for servers means your blog also goes down, so you want to work with a blog hosting site that guarantees at least 99.9% uptime. Customers understand that there are occasional downtimes for maintenance, but if your blog is down regularly, they’ll likely go elsewhere. And when people leave in disgust, it hurts your SEO rankings.
It’s important to check potential blog hosting services for compatibility. That’s because you might have WordPress plugin conflicts that cause your site to go down, and if this is the case you want a customer support department that will help you troubleshoot your WordPress site because they are experts. Most of us need to “call tech support” occasionally.
Of course, quality customer service is always a good thing. In general, you want a responsive customer support team and an easy and fast way of getting hold of them in the worst-case scenario your site goes down, whether it is their fault or your fault. Many blog hosting services will advertise that they have customer service available 24/7.
Further Reading: 11 Leading WordPress Maintenance Services to Consider
What to Look for When Choosing a Blog Hosting Site
Because many blog hosting services have different features, you need to carefully evaluate each one. Price may be important on some level, but it isn’t the end of the story. This list of features is incomplete, but it includes important things to look at when comparing the hosting plan and different users will naturally prioritize different features.
- Pricing. Look at the price AFTER the initial discount. Some also offer free domain names which might be useful if you are launching a new blog. If this is the case, you need to see how much they’re passing this cost on to you in high ongoing fees. Similarly, you want to ensure that the rate is something you can afford.
- Free Migration. Do they offer it? Some do! An offer of free migration can represent significant money savings. It can also save time if the migration is primarily plug and play.
- Installation. Is it automatic, one-click or pre-installed? This tells you how much work it’s going to take to set up. In addition, if you’re extremely tech challenged you might consider if professional help is necessary.
- Website limits. Can you only host 1? or unlimited? If you plan to grow you may want the flexibility of hosting multiple sites with one plan. That’s especially true if you want to have a business and personal blog, for instance.
- Storage Space. Is unlimited storage provided? WordPress sites can get bloated over time so be careful not to be too limited here as it can severely slow down your site. Of course, some blog hosting services will let you buy additional space as time goes by. That can also work well.
- Traffic / Bandwidth Restrictions. Do they have any? Ideally you want unlimited traffic to allow you to grow! On the other hand, if you’re just starting out then you’re probably fine with limits-as long as you can buy unlimited bandwidth later when necessary.
- 24/7 Customer Support. This is a MUST! But is it through emails, live chat, or phone? Ideally, they’ll have a quick response time so you don’t have to sit around waiting for a response. Being on hold sometimes is inevitable, but there are limits.
- Uptime. Do they guarantee 99.9X% uptime? With that amount of uptime, your site is almost never down unless you’re doing maintenance.
- Backups. Do they offer free daily backups? Or do you need to add a plugin/do it yourself? If you can get this automatic, it’ll mean fewer tasks to keep track of.
- cPanel or Control Panel Software. Will it be easy to manage your blog on the backend using the tools they provide? Especially with blog hosting, it’s often better to keep things as simple as possible.
- SSL. Do they offer this for free and provide you with a convenient means of installing? Being a secure sie is always a good idea, especially in this age of hacking and malware.
- CDN or Content Delivery Network. This is a network of linked servers to speed up and stabilize hosting/content delivery. Do they offer this for free and provide you with a convenient means of installing?
- Advanced Features. Do they have anything else not listed above? Some of them you might decide you don’t need, but others are value added.
- Money Back. Do they offer a term of, say, 30 days where they offer you money back if things don’t work out? Especially if you’re bringing a lot of material to the blog hosting service, this can be important. After all, it recoups some of your transition costs.
What are the Best WordPress Blog Hosts?
With that in mind, what are the best places to get WordPress blog hosting? The following list of providers is generally considered to be reputable and can handle WordPress CMS with ease. However, there are different features and pricing plans for each.
BigScoots is where I currently host this website, so it should come as no surprise that it would be on top. BigScoots is a hidden secret that might not be as popular as some of the other names here, but if you receive a decent amount of web traffic and are serious about performance, you’ll definitely want to check them out.
There are two main options with BigScoots: basic hosting and managed WordPress. The managed WordPress is typical of what you see with other providers: it includes just about everything you’d want and you don’t have to do much. However, there’s also the DIY option. This starts as a bare-bones plan where an SSL certificate is optional but they’ll still do the migration for you, free of charge. No matter what plan you choose, 24/7 support is included.
Pricing: From $5.99 monthly for shared hosting and $34.99 for managed hosting.
I think we can all agree that GoDaddy is the OG of blog hosting. And as such, it has a wide variety of features available. Everyone gets a 99.9% uptime and a money-back guarantee, along with 24/7 support. Free migration, installation, and site-building apps. Email, CDN, daily backups, and malware protection are also included. Differences in plans are mainly geared to the size of your site, and if you have eCommerce.
Pricing: From $9.99 per month.
When I recently did research on where to host some of my other sites with less traffic, I decided to go with Dreamhost for many reasons, and I couldn’t be happier. If your site doesn’t get a lot of traffic and you want something inexpensive yet reliable, Dreamhost would be my recommendation.
Dreamhost makes getting started easy with WordPress preinstalled, automated migrations, and a website builder. Once set up, you get automated backups, updates, and site security. Support is available 24/7, either by submitting a ticket or live chat. Do note, however, that an SSL certificate and email address are extra on the base plan. Don’t like it? There’s a money-back guarantee.
Pricing: $5.99 or $10.99 depending on the plan.
4. WP Engine
I have also used WP Engine in the past, and while I found BigScoots to be competitive on pricing and speed for this website, if you get a lot of traffic and are serious about speed, WP Engine is another option that I would definitely check out.
WP Engine WordPress hosting is fully managed, so you don’t need to do much more than add new blog posts. It also means that they handle setup, security (including SSL, updates, and backups) in-house. However, to the extent you need to run the website from your end, they have 24/7 tech support. As your blog grows or experiences seasonal surges, simply purchase more bandwidth.
Pricing: From $25/month
I have used SiteGround in the past and have been happy with them, so if you’re looking for another web hosting provider to compare pricing and features with, definitely check out Siteground.
With SiteGround, you get a lot of convenient features. All sites are Ecommerce enabled and managed. In addition, you get free WordPress installation and migration tools. Automated updates, backups, and caching are included. Plus, you get free SSL, CDN, and email for that professional touch. Finally, everyone gets a 30-day money-back guarantee and 24/7 customer service and troubleshooting. There are a few other features you can purchase but are mostly needed for larger sites.
Pricing: Ranges from $14.00 to 39.99 monthly.
I prefer to run my WordPress blog on a hosting service that focuses on WordPress. Since I – along with 13 million other WordPress users – am also using Elementor Pro to help create the user interface for my website, the new Elementor hosting service is a no-brainer option.
A subscription to Elementor hosting provides a fast and secure hosting and seamless web creation including both their Elementor Pro web toolkit as well as their Hello Theme, along with professional hosting tools, so you can create a new WordPress website with their templates in as little as 30 seconds. If you are already using Elementor Pro, for a small additional fee you can now get web hosting.
Pricing: Billed annually starting at $9.99 a month for 1 site all the way up to $49.99 a month depending on number of sites, web traffic, storage, bandwidth, etc.
Perhaps the best thing about Bluehost is its flexibility. You have a wide variety of plan options, ranging from simply paying your domain name feel ($25 annually or less) and adding the simplest possible hosting, all the way to managed WordPress plans and WooCommerce. All customers get CDN, 24/7 support, some storage, and an SSL certificate. More comprehensive plans add automatic backup and, at the highest level, a dedicated IP. Everyone gets to use their drag and drop website builder.
In addition to DIY hosting, there are also managed WordPress plans. These have the basics mentioned above as well as dynamic changes in server space and capacity. Extras also include automated backup, malware protection, Paypal integrations, and a Jetpack for monetization. Finally, they promise the best uptimes with managed plans.
Pricing: Unmanaged plans range from $10/month, and managed from $19.95/month.
Site owners who want a relatively hands-off approach can check out Hostinger. As a managed-only service, they handle most of the backup and installation. Everyone gets an SSL, email address, 24/7 support, and guarantees for money back, and 99.9% reliability. Higher service levels get daily backup instead of weekly, more bandwidth, and CDN.
Pricing: From $9.49 per month.
Unlike some competitors, HostGator promises 99.9% uptime. They also include free transfers, one-click WP installation, unmetered bandwidth, email, and an SSL. Automatic backups and a high level of site security keep you safe. And for customer service, there’s 24/7 service and a 45-day money-back guarantee.
Pricing: Introductory pricing in 11/2021 ranged from $6-10 monthly.
A2 doesn’t have a long list of features, preferring that you call sales. However, they do appear to have the basics, such as quick and easy installation, free SSL, automatic backup, and 99.9% uptime. The biggest advantage of A2, though, is its speed: some 20x higher than average. Keep in mind, if you don’t want to manage to host you’ll need to use a third-party website builder.
Pricing: managed plans from $24/month.
With Cloudways, you get cloud-based, managed WordPress blog hosting. They’ll migrate and set up your site for free, and do all the maintenance from their end. Of course, you also keep the ability to update your website, which is necessary as a blogger. They include an SSL, updates, and backups. Since they’re cloud-based, a CDN is also included. Finally, they have top-notch customer service available 24/7, and a money-back guarantee.
Pricing: From $12/month
This is a simple, inexpensive blog hosting option. They have a one-click WordPress installation, along with easy migration and a website builder. You’ll also get free SSL, unlimited disk space, scalable bandwidth allowance, email and website security, and 24/7 customer service.
Pricing: From $2.99/month
This one’s completely managed on the Google cloud service, which also serves as a CDN. They’ll migrate your site for you, then check it before going live. Security with SSL keeps you and your visitors safe, and Kinsta will fix any hacker damage. Daily backups are automatic, 24/7 support is provided, and uptime is monitored. Finally, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Pricing: From $30 per month.
With InMotion Hosting, you get a lot of features even in the basic plans. For one thing, WP plans include automatic installation, a drag-and-drop site builder, and free tools for site migration, plus premium site security and plugins as needed. Then, they have automated backup, maximized reliability, and 24/7 service. CDN, free SSL, and email are also included. Overall, a well-rounded blog hosting service.
Pricing: From $6.99 per month.
For blog hosting that has everything and cares for the environment, check this one out. They include installation, migration, a drag and drop builder, and automatic backups. In addition, you get a free CDN, SSL, and several email addresses. Everyone gets customer service and a 99.9% reliability guarantee, automatic updates, and 24/7 service, but speeds depend on your service level.
Pricing: From $10.95 per month.
As a blogger, one of the most critical and essential tools is blog hosting. For some of us, using a site builder like Wix is the answer, but in most cases, our sites outgrow those services. When choosing a hosting service for your site, be sure to pick one with essential features like security, uptime, and support. Whether you choose managed service or a bare-bones plan should depend on your technical know-how and site needs. Either way, one of these 15 services should work for most people.
Further Reading: 10 Top Tips to Increase Your Blog Post SEO
Hero photo by Christina on Unsplash
Blog Hosting FAQs
There are many different ways to host a blog, and the cost can vary depending on the platform you use and the level of service you need. Some platforms, like WordPress.com, offer free hosting for basic blogs. However, if you want more control over your blog or need advanced features, you may need to upgrade to a paid plan. Other platforms, such as Squarespace, charge a monthly fee for all users.
There are a number of ways to host a blog site for free. One popular option is WordPress.com. WordPress.com is a hosting platform that offers a variety of features, including a customizable domain name, support for multiple users, and a wide range of plugins and themes. Another option is Blogger, which is owned by Google. Blogger offers a simpler interface than WordPress.com, but it still allows users to customize their domain name and template. Tumblr is also another popular option for hosting a blog site.
Blog hosting costs can vary depending on the company and subscription plan. For example, shared hosting plans that include a single blog typically start at around $5 per month. If you choose a more comprehensive plan that includes multiple blogs, the price will be higher. Additionally, some companies offer discounts for annual or bi-annual payments. If you’re looking for a high-end option with all the bells and whistles, you can expect to pay $20 or more per month. Ultimately, the cost of blog hosting will depend on your individual needs and budget.
Yes, you can host your own blog. However, there are a few things to keep in mind before you take the plunge. First, hosting your own blog requires a good amount of technical knowledge. If you’re not comfortable setting up and maintaining a website, you may be better off using a free blogging platform like WordPress.com or Tumblr. Second, hosting your own blog can be expensive. In addition to the cost of web hosting, you’ll also need to pay for a domain name and possibly design fees if you hire someone to create a custom theme for your site.
Here are a few different ways that beginner bloggers can make money:
1. Sell advertising space – This can be done through an ad network such as Google Adsense or by working directly with brands.
2. Affiliate programs – This involves including links to products or services in your blog posts and earning a commission on any sales that are generated.
3. Offer consulting services or sell products and courses related to their blog topic – By offering value and helping their readers solve problems, beginner bloggers can build a successful business around their blog.