One of the first steps to starting a blog is choosing a web host. But there are so many options! How do you choose the best web hosting service for your new blog? Here are the things to look for and the best options for new (and seasoned) bloggers.
Choosing a web host isn’t as exciting as shopping for your blog theme or choosing your blog’s name, but it’s an essential (and important!) part of the process. Here’s what you need to know.
What Is A Web Host & Why Do You Care?
If you’re starting a blog that you want to grow into a business, you want to self-host it.
You wouldn’t start a physical business and set up a little booth inside Walmart, would you? No, you’d rent yourself a space and have your very own store that people could visit.
Well, it’s the same idea. You want to own the platform you are building your blog on, because you are going to be growing a business. To do this, you rent space on the internet from a web host.
While there are scads of host options available, I’m going to tell you about the 3 I’ve personally used and that I suggest to my clients and friends…and why.
When choosing a host, there are a few key considerations:
- Customer Service
- Quality Of Hosting
Shared Hosting v. Dedicated Web Hosting
New bloggers may spend as little as $2.95/month on web hosting while large sites can spend $295 (or more!) a month.
Why is that?
That’s the difference between shared hosting and have a dedicated web server for your blog.
When you’re first starting out and don’t have much traffic, you can use a shared hosting plan which is significantly cheaper than having a dedicated host. After all, every penny counts so it’s wise to start within your means and grow as your business does.
Shared Hosting Is Very Affordable
Shared hosting means you and a bevy of other bloggers are sharing the resources of a single web server. In addition to sharing the resources, you’re also sharing the cost.
Hence the reason shared hosting is the most affordable option and where you should start out.
Not All Shared Hosting Is Equal
Some hosts have strict limits as to how much of the available resources you can use in a single day. That means if you have a post that goes viral, you risk having your site get shut down until you upgrade to a higher plan.
Other hosts have so many people on a shared plan that the result is a slower website. That makes you less appealing to visitors on your site and also to Google when they decide where to rank your content.
Site speed will become more and more important to you as you grow.
And customer service is also something to consider. When you need help with something, you want to be able to reach someone via chat and/or phone that will be helpful and also not try to constantly sell you more before they offer a solution.
When your business needs help, you want to be able to get it now.
When you grow big enough, you’ll want a dedicated server just for your blog. That day could be 6 months in the future or 6 years.
Starting with a company that has a good dedicated server option for you to grow into eventually will save you the trouble of switching hosts when you grow, and also ensure that you can increase your site resources quickly should you need to.
Your Cheapest Blog Hosting Option
By far, the most easiest company to start with and the most affordable web host out there is BlueHost. They’re plenty decent and I used them for my first few years when I started getting serious about making money blogging.
I chose them because they are crazy affordable and they make getting started very simple. In fact, they are hands-down the cheapest web hosting option out there — and if starting is intimidating, they are your easiest option because of their one click install feature.
They are also the #1 most suggested option out there, because they pay a generous affiliate commission to people who recommend them (so take all those posts from huge bloggers that you’ve read recommending them with a big ‘ol grain of salt, okay?).
Most every successful blogger you see will suggest you use BlueHost because of this. However, I’d be willing to bet that every single one of those successful bloggers has outgrown them and moved on to a new host.
It’s okay to start somewhere and outgrow them – in fact, it’s excellent to grow! I just want you to understand why most people suggest them…and why I’m going to share a couple of other options with you in addition to this one.
When you start to really gain some traffic with your blog and your traffic increases significantly, you’ll likely prefer a host with more hands-on customer service, additional resources for better site speed, and added features.
I’d say they’re totally adequate up to about 25,000 sessions a month, but beyond that you may want to upgrade.
I used them until I hit 10,000 sessions at which point I had a post go crazy viral and shot up into the 20,000s in one day and it crashed my site. The lesson then isn’t to not start here, but to not be afraid to graduate to something better when it’s time.
To start out, however? If money is tight, start with BlueHost! Most all of us have.
A Very Solid, Economical Host For Your Website
Now, while they aren’t quite as cheap as Blue Host (unless they are running a special), SiteGround is still very affordable.
While they cost just a tiny bit more than BlueHost does, you’re also going to get superior customer service and they can handle more traffic if you grow quickly. So you’re getting a tad more bang for your buck with SiteGround.
By starting with them, you’re preparing for the growth you know you want to achieve and saving yourself the hassle of switching hosts in the middle of a sudden traffic surge thanks to a viral pin or amazing Facebook share so that your site doesn’t crash.
They offer fabulous new customer deals and you can pick from one of three plans: StartUp, Grow Big, or GoGeek.
Now, if you’re starting from scratch, you really only need the StartUp plan. But if you’re starting mid-business building or you’ve done your homework and you’re ready to dive in and grow quickly, I’d start with Grow Big.
You want to make sure you have the resources to handle that traffic!
The only con to SiteGround is when it comes time to renew your plan, their prices jump like crazy so you’ll likely want to switch hosts at that point since they simply aren’t going to be what you need.
However, again, they are an awesome place for mid-level blogging and super economical for that stage of growth.
And switching hosts isn’t all that hard if you switch to a better one, so take advantage of their first time buyer’s discount if you need it.
Their customer service is great, their user interface is easy to understand and navigate, and their introductory prices are exceptional which makes SiteGround a solid choice.
The Best Web Hosting Service For Beginners To Pros
While I started with BlueHost and moved on to SiteGround, I ultimately landed with Big Scoots.
And I can’t say enough amazing things about them!
Their customer service is out of this world! And they have done things for me for free that other hosts have either refused to do unless I upgraded to a higher plan or paid a fee for it. Big Scoots is truly awesome.
And the best part is that I will never need to leave them due to growth. You can have a shared hosting account with them when you’re starting out, but then grow into your own dedicated server when you need it.
If I had known about them from the beginning, Big Scoots is the only hosting company I would have used!
And I will use them over and over again, whenever I start a new site (yes, it gets addicting once you know what you’re doing!) and the host I strongly recommend to my clients and friends when they launch theirs. You can click the banner to sign up with them right now…it only takes a few moments.
—–> Big Scoots has plans for every blogger, from those building brand new blogs to those with websites bringing in 7-figures a year. For starting plans at competitive prices, click on their “WEB HOSTING” category to get more information.
You can reach out to their customer service at any time with any questions, but starting with the smallest plan is perfect for a brand new site; you can scale up at any time as your content and traffic increase.
After You Purchase Your Hosting
Now it’s time to buy your domain name and set up your URL (be sure to choose a good name for your blog!. If you’ve already done that, it’s time to direct your name servers to your new hosting site. And then you can set up WordPress and get started.