How do you choose the best web host provider for your blog? These tips will help you decide – and I learned firsthand yesterday just how important this decision is! My biggest blog crashed (rather, was suspended by HostGator because of script errors), and was down for two hours. Even if you already have a web host for your blog, you need to be aware of the pros and cons of web host providers and shared servers…
Yesterday was a banner day for Quips and Tips for Achieving Your Goals! I had over 16,000 page views by 2 pm in the afternoon – and that’s when my site was suspended. Worse, I wasn’t in my office at the time, so I didn’t get HostGator’s “I’m sorry to tell you this, but…” email until 4 pm. I lost thousands of page views, and millions of dollars. (okay, maybe not millions….but dozens, for sure!).
After HostGator (surprisingly quickly) re-established my blog, Goals received another 14,000 page views, making it my highest traffic day ever. And, I decided it was time to make a change…I can’t take anymore of this shared hosting stress! I’m not leaving HostGator – I’m still one of their biggest fans. But, I am moving to a more comprehensive (more expensive) hosting plan.
If you’re choosing a web host for your new blog or thinking about finding a new service provider, check out these tips for finding a host provider …
What’s the Best Web Host for Your Blog? How to Choose
1. Know the pros of shared hosting. If you’re just starting a new blog – or if your blog doesn’t have lots of script, podcasts, complex images, etc – then you’d probably be happy with shared hosting (many blogs are hosted on one server, making it less expensive for everyone). I pay $5 a month for my shared hosting plan with HostGator, and overall it’s been worth every penny!
2. Know the cons of shared hosting. My Achieving Your Goals blog was suspended by HostGator twice in two years. I guess my blog caused a high load on the shared server, which affected the “health” of the other blogs. And, I’ve experienced slow loading times and an inability to access my WordPress account because of other bloggers’ problems. For instance, a hacker once tore apart someone’s blog, which affected the shared server, which affected my blogs. Shared hosting is like living in an apartment: one person’s affairs can impact everyone else!
3. Consider hiring your very own webmaster. A few months ago, I detected a few signs it’s time to hire a webmaster to speed up my blogs. He takes care of odds and ends that I don’t have the time or expertise to deal with — and helps when HostGator sends unsavory messages about my shared hosting plan! HostGator has always been helpful, but no web host can do what a webmaster does.
4. Find a web host that offers excellent customer service. No matter what host provider you choose, you may occasionally experience issues with shared hosting. Some host providers may have better, faster, smoother servers than others – and some shared servers within a particular host provider may be better than others! I’d worry less about finding a perfect provider, and focus on finding one that offers excellent customer service. HostGator has always solved my blog problems quickly and cheerfully. They offer computer techs 24/7, an online support chat line for immediate help, and at least one awesome customer service representative (Josh L.!).
5. Research the track record of the web host provider – but be objective. Use Google, Twitter, Facebook, forums, etc to find out the best and worst of certain providers. Get tips from other bloggers by asking who their web host provider is, and if they’re happy. But, remember that one blogger can have a fabulous experience with one web host, and another blogger can say it’s the worst provider ever. A negative review or two doesn’t necessarily mean a web host is awful…but several negative reviews can indicate a serious problem.
6. Make sure the web host provider offers well-lit “enter and exit” doors. Does the web host provider transfer your existing domains or blogs for you? If you aren’t happy with the web host you choose, can you easily transfer to a new host provider? What’s the risk of losing all your data? Does the provider back up your blog data, or are you responsible for that? These are very important questions to ask when you’re looking for a host provider.
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7. Take advantage of the “extras.” Some web host providers offer money back guarantees, Google Adwords Credits, free website builders, free domain transfers, 24/7 customer service, etc. I didn’t take advantage of the Google Adwords credit when I first signed up with HostGator, which I now regret! Make sure you don’t just compare the extras that different web host providers offer…make sure you actually take advantage of them.
8. Look for an affiliate program. I’m a HostGator affiliate because I love their customer service and 99.9% uptime! I’m happy with HostGator, and certainly don’t mind earning a few bucks here and there as an affiliate. If you want to make money blogging, take advantage of opportunities to promote the businesses that benefit you.
9. Know when it’s time to upgrade to VPS or a Dedicated Server. That’s how I’m solving my shared web host stress: I’m moving up to a VPS or Virtual Private Server, which is halfway between a Dedicated Server and a shared server. I don’t need my own server (yet), but I do need more independence and speed. After all, I expect to see more and more 30,000+ page view days on all my blogs – not just Achieving Your Goals!
If you want to make money blogging, read The Best Ways to Advertise on Your Blog – 5 Ad Placement Tips.
If you’re a blogger, who is your web host provider — and are you happy with them? I welcome your comments and questions below…