Blog hosting servers

Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Shared Hosting
  3. Shared Hosting with extra resources
  4. Reseller Hosting
  5. WordPress Hosting
  6. Virtual Private Server (VPS)
  7. Cloud Hosting
  8. Dedicated Server Hosting
  9. Recommendation

Introduction

Purchasing blog hosting is easy. Knowing the best hosts and which of their huge range of plans is right for you is hard.

The easiest way I’ve found to explain hosting types, to someone unfamiliar with hosting, is to liken it to housing. You have the option of sharing an apartment or having your own apartment or home. For example, Shared Hosting is like a shared apartment. There is also a non-real world option of your own “virtual” apartment, that can grow and shrink over time, depending on your changing lifestyle and budget.

On this page, I will explain the key considerations when selecting a type of hosting. I will also provide advice and a recommendation. I will end with a short list of providers whom I personally trust to provide you with quality hosting.

Before considering hosting types, you’ll need to think about what your blogging goals are for the next 12 months:

  • Will you take it slow, learning as you go or dive in the deep-end and do everything as quickly as you can?
  • Is your primary reason for starting a blog because you feel passionate about a topic or is it to generate an income? Perhaps both?
  • Do you know already what your blog will be about? Are you likely to start a few blogs and see what hits the mark with your audience?
  • Is building a mailing list be an early priority for you? Will you be focusing on a subject area like making money online or passive income? Will you market heavily to your audience or lightly in informative newsletters related to a craft, hobby or sport?

There are no correct or incorrect answers, you just need to have a rough idea of what’s likely to be right for you.

Things to note

  1. When purchasing any hosting, do your sums on what is being offered to you. Look for key phrases like “renews at” or “was” – they’re telling you what this hosting will cost to renew next year. For example, 50% off, $5 per month will cost you $60 this year and $120 next year. Some say that you’ll continue to pay the discounted amount, so $60 this year and $60 in future years.
  2. Signing up for extended periods will save you money. The risk is that the host turns out to not be as good as you hoped. Many people chose to move from provider to provider each year chasing discounts. Providers will typically help to migrate your blog from another provider. This works until you run out of providers and want to go back to a preferred provider. If money is tight, do what you need to do. My advice is to find a quality hosting provider and stick with them. Your effort is better spent focusing on building a successful blog.
  3. “Unlimited” resources actually have limits. Providers often offer unlimited or unmetered service for some resources, such as storage and bandwidth. The terms and conditions of sign-up limit the definition of “unlimited” to what’s reasonable. This is unlikely to be an issue unless you plan to do something out of the ordinary and test those limits. If in doubt, check with the provider before signing up.
  4. Compare the length of any money-back guarantees. This may or may not have an impact on hosting costs.
  5. Hosting providers often include page builders in their plans. If the page builder is unique to that provider, use it with caution. Should you decide to move providers, you’ll need to rebuild your site. Better to use page builders that work with any provider. This blog will focus on one of the most popular options, WordPress.

Tips

  1. Hosting providers generally provide discounts for signing up. Discounts often increase around special events such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
  2. If prompted during sign-up for a hosting location, consider where your primary market will be. Selecting that location will ensure the best experience possible for that audience.

Now let’s take a look at each hosting type, the pros and cons and who it’s best for.

Shared Hosting (Like a shared apartment)

This is like student accommodation – Many people living together and sharing common areas. It’s cheap, but your experience will depend upon the number and behaviour of the other tenants. For example, another tenant hogging the bathroom (server resources).

You are likely to have the option to host one, several or unlimited websites.

Pros

It’s the cheapest option and everything you’ll need to get started.

Cons

Your experience will depend upon the number and behaviour of the other tenants. Both of which will change over time.

Advice to bloggers

If cost is your primary concern, this is your option. It will provide you with everything you need to get started. If you can afford the multiple website option, opt for that, you won’t regret it. Assuming your blog is successful, you’ll most likely outgrow shared hosting. If you read unlimited websites to mean a generous number, you’ll be closer to the mark.

If you move up to another hosting option in the future, you’ll need to do some rebuilding and migration. It’s not a big deal, but can be time-consuming. Hosting providers typically offer to assist with this migration.

Shared Hosting with extra resources (Still like a shared apartment)

The same as the previous shared hosting, but you pay a little more to get increased access to communal areas. For example, pay more rent and get twice the bathroom time. In the case of hosting, these resources will be CPU and memory.

Pros

Similar to Shared Hosting above.

Cons

Similar to Shared Hosting above.

Advice to bloggers

As for Shared Hosting. This option buys extra resources and time before you’ll outgrow the account.

Reseller Hosting (You’re allowed to sub-let the apartment)

This hosting option serves a specific purpose. You become a service provider and sell the shared hosting plans covered above.

WordPress Hosting (Like a fully furnished, shared apartment or own apartment)

A hosting provider sets everything up for you, knowing you only want WordPress. This allows you to focus on your blog content and not the IT needed to support it.

There are several variations in this hosting space. In general, the higher the cost, the more IT support staff do for you, and you get dedicated resources (own apartment).

Cheaper options are little different to shared hosting. They merely install WordPress for you.

The more expensive options involve the hosting provider doing all the IT for you. You get a WordPress login and no access to the IT behind it. The hosting provider does the installation, configuration and ongoing maintenance.

Pros

Fully managed option frees you up to focus on what’s most important, your blog content and engaging with your audience. Your IT will be more secure and better configured than many bloggers could have done on their own. Low-cost options have no pros beyond shared hosting.

Cons

Fully managed WordPress hosting options can be far more expensive than other forms of hosting. Low-cost options have the same cons as shared hosting.

Advice to bloggers

If your blog is generating enough income that the cost isn’t significant, consider going with one of the fully managed options. It will free up additional time to work on your blog. If you don’t have strong IT skills, your IT will end up more secure and better configured.

Virtual Private Server [VPS] (Your own apartment)

A VPS is a virtual piece of a physical server. The server resources you receive are for your dedicated use. You have fewer neighbours than shared hosting and are more isolated from issues. Having a “noisy” neighbour can still be a problem though. For example, if their blog is having a hectic day; it may be having an impact on your blog.

VPS sales pages generally don’t mention a limit on the number of websites. You can set up as many as you like until you consume your dedicated resources.

If the physical server your VPS is on fails, your VPS will be rebuilt on another server, requiring a short outage. Your blog will then need to be restored from backups.

Pros

Middle-cost hosting. The IT resources are yours when you need them.

Cons

More expensive than shared hosting, not quite as flexible as Cloud Hosting.

Advice to bloggers

A VPS can be a good option. You can start small and keep your costs low and scale up as required. Scaling up or down will require the migration of your blog between accounts, unlike Cloud Hosting options. It’s not a big deal, but can be time-consuming. Hosting providers usually offer to assist with this migration.

Cloud Hosting (Your own “virtual” apartment)

Cloud Hosting is the newest hosting option. It provides the dedicated resources and isolation of a VPS but is located on a group of dedicated servers working as a team (Cloud). If a server fails, another one will automatically take responsibility for your blog.

The resources available to you can be scaled up and down “virtually”, without the need to migrate your blog to a new account. Starting off small will keep costs down. Larger sizes can be expensive but contain a generous amount of IT resources.

Pros

Middle to high-cost hosting, depending upon the specific option. The IT resources are yours when you need them. The size can be scale up and down, based on your evolving needs and budget. Scaling up or down shouldn’t require any work on your part, it’s all done virtually behind the scenes.

Cons

It costs more than shared hosting options.

Advice to bloggers

Unless cost is a huge factor, go for a Cloud hosting option. Cloud Hosting is popular for a good reason. You can start small and keep your costs relatively low, but confident that you can scale your IT quickly if you blog becomes successful faster than you anticipated. You can also scale down if you’re not using the resources you have, to reduce costs.

Unlike VPS Hosting, Cloud Hosting usually does include a limit on the number of hosted websites. You’re likely to want to build and play with multiple websites, so go for an option that provides for several or unlimited websites.

Dedicated Server Hosting (Like having your own house)

This option is for companies requiring a generous amount of server resources and the flexibility to do things their way. There will be a physical server sitting in a rack for your exclusive use. Your company will either have the IT skills needed to set up and manage the server, or you’ll be relying on the hosting provider to help you, at additional cost.

Pros

You have sole access to a physical server and all its resources. You have the flexibility to set up and manage the server the exact way you want. Depending on your hosting package, you may also be leveraging the provider’s skilled IT staff.

Cons

The most expensive hosting. You’ll need access to the IT skills to set up and manage the server. If you don’t have the IT skills, investigate the hosting provider’s available support options.

Advice to bloggers

If you’re a small company about to set up some services on the Internet and would like complete control to do it our way, this is for you.

Recommendation for your blog

The best option for your blog will naturally depend on your requirements:

  • I need to keep the cost down – Go for the shared hosting option, opting for multiple websites if possible.
  • I’m planning a few blogs and websites and need extra power and flexibility – Go for Cloud Hosting (multiple websites) or a Virtual Private Server (VPS).
  • I’m planning a single blog, will definitely be using WordPress and are prepared to pay someone to handle the IT side – Go for one of the more expensive WordPress hosting options, where the hosting provider takes care of the IT for you. You’ll end up with a more secure and better-configured website.
  • We’re a small company about to set up a range of services on the Internet and want to do it our way – Go for a dedicated server.

Armed with this information you should be able to evaluate plans from any hosting company.

My experience has been that the market contains many excellent, average and lousy hosting providers. Below, in alphabetical order, is a short list of providers whom I personally trust to provide quality hosting:

Comparing their hosting types, plans and pricing should provide you with some excellent options.

If you need help choosing a domain name for your blog, check out the domain page.

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. Clicking on them and purchasing a product or service will result in me being paid a referral commission. The commission has no effect on the price – it will be the same regardless of how you visit their website. I only recommend products and services that I use, have used or have done extensive research on.

Next: A quick Introduction to cPanel.

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