Picking the right web host for you can be a daunting task.
You have a great idea, a domain name and the desire to put your inspiring thoughts on the Web. You know you need to put your website somewhere, however, you don’t have the technical knowledge or experience to sift through the quite literally thousands of web site hosting companies on the Internet to find the right web host for you. Do you need to pay more to get a good host? How much space do I need? What is bandwidth? What about WordPress? Do I need to host on WordPress.com?
There are a lot of questions that come with picking the right host to be your blog’s home on the Web. I would like to take a look with you into 5 of the most important features to consider when picking a host.. First, however, let’s consider the question EVERY person asks when starting a new WordPress blog: “Should I or should I not host my WordPress site on WordPress.com?”
This is a valid question. I mean, you want to create your site using WordPress, one of the worlds leading content management systems (CMS), why would you not host with WordPress.com? They are the place that holds the name of the very system you would like to use.
The first thing a WordPress beginner needs to know is that there are 2 different flavors of WordPress. The most well known version of WordPress is what you find on WordPress.com. WordPress.com is ran by a company called Automattic which was founded by Matt Mullenweg the creator of the WordPress CMS.
When Mr. Mullenweg created WordPress he created it as an open source project, which means that the code behind the software was made publicly available for other developers to look at and modify. The WordPress.org project was started and the development of WordPress over the years has been contributed to by many developers across the globe. Since WordPress is open source, it can be installed for free on any web host you would like to use. This give you so many choices and the freedom to make the choice that is best for you.
Here are a few reasons why you should consider using a host other than WordPress.com:
- There are hosts out there with hosting that is optimized for WordPress that cost a lot less to use.
- WordPress.com does not have as many features as some of the leading independent hosts have.
- If you are looking to monetize a blog, WordPress.com only allows you to use their advertising systems, which limits your choices later on.
My recommendation is to find a good host that provides you with WordPress support, the features you need, at a price that is much more reasonable for a startup website. One such host is SiteGround, but I will talk about them more later.
Okay, so now on to the top 5 important features to keep an eye out for when choosing a web host:
Web/Disk Space is the amount of space available for you to store your web site’s files, like images, videos and more. Most hosts will give you space starting at around 5 or 10 GB and go up to 100’s of Gigs if you are willing to pay premium pricing for more storage. The web space will be more important as your site grows and you add more content over time. Most sites can safely start with 10 GB of storage.
Your traffic allowance is normally measured on a monthly basis and measures how much bandwidth on your host’s network your site traffic uses. This translates directly into how many visitors are visiting your site on a monthly basis. Most hosts will give you anywhere from 5 GB per month up to unlimited/unmetered traffic per month. Unlimited traffic is obviously the best option. There are so many web hosts that give you unlimited traffic, making it almost commonsense to pass over ones that do not.
Some hosts (the better ones) offer you free SSL certificates and even install and configure them for you. This is important because an SSL certificate is what allows your website to encrypt and securely send to you all of the data your clients or visitors enter into any form on your site. Most people are savvy enough these days to make sure that the little green lock appears in the address bar of the web browser. Keeping your visitors information safe and secure is very important. You never want to give your visitors a reason to pause before giving you the information you are attempting to collect from them. An SSL certificate can cost anywhere from $89 to $800 per year. Getting a free one from your hosting company will save you big bucks over time.
Not all hosts are optimized for WordPress nor can they give you the support you may need when installing or configuring WordPress for your website. Make sure that the host you are planning on using is optimized for and knows WordPress.
The support provided by your web host is crucial to your success! If your site has issues that are service related or related to something that is on the backend, it is important that your host is available to help and is knowledgeable enough to get you back up and running. I always call a hosting company before I sign up with them to find out what the support experience will be like. Ask some basic questions about their plans and about hosting in general to see if they are knowledgeable or not.
Time to Decide
After understanding the basics of hosting providers and their plans, it is time to pick the right one for you. At True Geek Media, I have used and have had experience working with many hosting providers. The one that stands above the rest for me, and the host that we personally use for my site is SiteGround.
SiteGround has 3 basic plans that I would recommend for new websites. Here is a basic run down of the plans:
What made them stand out for me in the beginning was my very first experience calling their support. I wanted to make sure that their hosting would provide a few specific things that I was looking to get out of the service. Their technical support representative was able to answer my questions without skipping a beat. He knew the service well.
There are so many web host out there, some good and some not so good. Hopefully this guide will help you pick the web host that is right for you.