JC Tech: How To Choose a Blog Hosting Provider
So last week we looked at whether you were ready to go self hosted, this week we are going to look at what the different options are for your blog hosting provider.
First, you will need to decide on what platform you are going to use, the simple answer to this is wordpress. WordPress hosts most self hosted blogs around the world and is perfectly suited to it. I don’t really know of many blogs which are self hosted and not using the wordpress application. This means when you want to go self hosted, you need to look for a hosting provider which runs wordpress (which is most of them!). As I covered in my last post, this hosting provider runs the server which hosts your website, you pay for this space on the server, you then install wordpress on the server which lets you post, edit and run your blog.
Second, you need to pick your hosting provider. I found this really tough when I was moved to self hosted, so I thought I would run through the top 3 I considered.
Go Daddy is known for selling domain names but has now extended into hosting. They give a few different options for hosting but the most basic which is only 1 pound a month is perfect for a blog. It offers a huge amount of storage – 100GB which will fit 22,000 photos, but the amount of traffic you can have is limited to 25,000 monthly visitors. There are also options if you have more than one blog or if you have more traffic.
- Price – only 1 pound a month for a self hosted wordpress is a bargain.
- Storage – ample storage for your images which can be extended
- Free domain – if you don’t have your own domain name (.com or .co.uk address) then this comes free with your plan.
- 99.9% uptime – this means there isn’t much chance of your blog going down making it reliable.
- Traffic limit – if your blog is popular or is shared a lot then the monthly cap of 25,000 visitors may be too small and you may eventually outgrow it.
- As go daddy is fairly new, there aren’t as many help guides for setting it up as other hosts.
- I have read negative reviews of the support and customer service if you do have a problem, but they do claim to have award winning support service, so that one is for you to decide. (EDIT: Since writing this, I have heard some fab stories about the support so seems they have improved!)
BlueHost is one of the biggest wordpress hosts in the world and a lot of major (especially US) websites are hosted on it. They are recommended by wordpress and have been providing hosting since 1998. They also have several packages, the blogger package being their most basic at $12 a month.
- Established in the industry, providing excellent support and ample help online.
- Allows 100 million visits a month, a huge increase compared to other hosts.
- Includes your own domain name
- Speed – Blue Host is considered to be one of the fastest host providers.
- Only 30GB of storage which is a good amount but may be used up quicker than other providers.
- It is based in the US and doesn’t have a dedicated UK team which means you will be working to a different time zone to the support teams.
- More technical – this could be a positive or a negative depending on how technical you are, Blue Host offers a huge amount of customisations which can be overwhelming or can be useful.
- Pricey compared to the others.
SiteGround is another well established hosting service which is based in the US but has European data centres. It also offers a few different packages with the most simple being best for a blogger, this is 2.75 pounds a month. SiteGround offers more support for wordpress with specific support for these packages.
- Extremely fast as your website will be hosted in Europe.
- Specific UK support and website offering better services and access.
- Free domain name with plan
- 30 day money back guarantee which isn’t in place with the other options.
- Best rated support service.
- Only 10GB of space which may be filled quickly if your blog is image heavy.
- 10,000 visitors a month which is much less than the other providers.
- Even the larger plans which are more expensive are less in terms of space and traffic options.
These are only 3 of the big providers out there, there are a whole heap of big and smaller blog hosting providers which you can investigate but I think all three of these are good options if you are hosting a personal blog. Eventually I decided to go with HostiServer, mainly because of price and storage which were important to me. They are another well known hosting site and they’re reasonably priced too!
I’ll be covering actually doing the move from your current blog to GoDaddy in my next installment!