Jun
Jun

How to choose the best hosting service when starting a blog

Want to know how to choose the best hosting service when you start a blog?

I know it can sound intimidating and overwhelming, but it really sounds a lot worse than it actually is.

But a good hosting company is going to make the entire process easy for you.

So choosing a hosting company for your website doesn’t have to be hard or complicated.

There are a few key things you need to look at when you’re looking to choose the best hosting company for your new blog.

  1. Great support
  2. Great performance
  3. Great security
  4. Scalability

I’ve got my own recommendations that I’ll make, but first let’s have a little honest discussion about something you’re likely to encounter if you haven’t already.

A lot of people are recommending a very specific hosting service for beginners and those starting a blog for the first time, and I don’t think that’s either fair or honest.

The service they’re recommending is Bluehost, and while Bluehost is a legit service, the reason those people are recommending Bluehost is more because of how generous Bluehost’s affiliate program is than it being a high-quality service.

Don’t get me wrong, a lot of people use Bluehost.

But there are thousands and thousands who’ve left Bluehost for better services.

So I’m recommending that you be very careful. I don’t recommend Bluehost because in my experience it violates a few of the principles I’m telling you about below.

So before we get to what I DO recommend, let’s cover those things so that you have a clear understanding of how to choose the best hosting service for your new blog.

I already mentioned that great web hosting comes down to these four elements: great support, great performance, great security and scalability.

So let’s talk about how to choose the best hosting service and what each of those things mean.

Great Support

In my early days of getting started I leaned on the support team of my hosting provider a lot to figure out where different problems were coming from.

Some providers were great at providing direction and even would roll up their sleeves and help if they had time. Others did not.

There were a couple companies I worked with in my early years that were quick to point out the scope of their service level agreement, and basically told me they wouldn’t help, that the problem was on my side and I needed to talk to my developer.

Not really helpful.

But to be fair, my coding issues aren’t necessarily their problem. I get that.

But on many occasions I didn’t know where the problem was coming from. I didn’t know if the problem was something wrong with my code, something wrong with the way things were set up in the hosting account or if something was going wrong with the actual server I was working with.

All that repeating the service level agreement to me did was insure that I was going to cancel my service with them and find another company that would actually help figure out where the actual problem was coming from.

Some hosting providers are willing to help you track down your issue and get it solved. Others expect a certain level of knowledge on your side to be able to use their service.

So if you’re a newbie, It’s important to realize you’re going to need help, so make sure that the hosting service you choose has a reputation for outstanding service and support.

Asking for recommendations about providers will help you get an understanding of what kind of service level you can expect. It’s worth it to pay a little more for a company who is dedicated to customer support, rather than be frustrated like I was in my early days and be stuck with a problem you can’t solve.

Great Performance

One of the most important aspects to your hosting service is how fast it’s going to perform. Website speed is such a critical issue.

It’s one of the criteria that Google uses to evaluate your site for good reason.

Slow site load times frustrate users and send them back to search results looking for another answer to their question, and Google does not like that.

SEO Expert Brian Dean from Backlinko, points out that since 2010 “Google has used site speed as an official ranking signal.”

That’s not the only factor, of course, but it’s one that you have control over and that’s why we’re talking about it here.

Visitors to your site want your content to load FAST. Who likes waiting around for a page to load?

“I do” said no one ever.

Your host should have a reputation for great performance and speeds. There is a lot that goes in to how fast a page loads, but the important thing to remember here is that you want a hosting provider who has a reputation for great performance and speed.

Any host worth their salt will be quick to tell you about their uptime guarantee. A lot of times you’ll see that guarantee right on their front page.

Reliability and performance are crucial when it comes to choosing your hosting partner. Technology issues are unavoidable for any provider, but you want to make sure that you’ve chosen a host who’s going to be responsive and take performance very seriously.

Great Security

Having a backup plan in case of emergency is a must-have for all website owners. Not all hosts provide backups with your hosting plan so it’s important that you check and see what options you have.

You also want your hosting provider to make sure it’s staying up to date with the latest versions of the software that it runs on their servers.

This means that they have available the latest stable versions of PHP and MySQL and that they have proper security protocols in place on their side.

Scalability

Picture this:

You’ve launched your website and it’s doing great. You’re getting a steady stream of traffic. You finally get that call to be interviewed on that podcast you’ve been dying to get on and when you do, you nail it. Your traffic to your site jumps significantly, and you start to realize that the hosting plan you started on doesn’t fit.

Your site goes down because you’ve maxed out the resources on your plan, and all that traffic is now disappearing down the drain.

That would suck.

But if you’ve got a host who you can grow with it’s a problem that can be overcome pretty easily.

The hosting company you choose should be able to grow with you. It doesn’t have to provide all the different kinds of services that I mentioned above, but it should give you a clear path as your site grows and have a way for you to grow with them.

Eventually you may have to migrate your site to another kind of service altogether. If you’ve got a good hosting company they can help you lay out the road map and what you’ll need to do to get there.

SSL Certificate

It used to be something that only e-commerce websites needed to worry about, but now it’s crucial that every website uses an SSL certificate.

If you don’t have an SSL certificate for your website Google is going to flag your website as “not secure” and that’s going to be very scary for your users.

You don’t want that to happen so make sure that the host you chose provides an SSL for you or gives you the ability to quickly and easily install your own SSL certificate.

A lot of services now provide SSL certificates that are generated by the Let’s Encrypt project for free right through your control panel so that’s something you will want to ask them about when you’re getting ready to sign up.

Ok – so now that we’ve covered all that here are two things I recommend:

1 – Siteground

2 – WPLaunch

If you’re looking for an in-depth guide how to host a website this guide will help you figure it all out.

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