If you’ve opted in for an online blogging platform after the chapter Five lectures (e.g. blogger, tumblr, wordpress.com), then this tutorial might not be necessary for you, nevertheless, it’s good you have this knowledge because you might consider changing your blogging platform in the future.
But if you have made up your mind to host your blog (e.g. wordpress.org, squarespace, joomla, Drupal), then you should set out time to go through this chapter over and out.
Remember we learnt how to choose a perfect domain name in our chapter seventeen lectures, there I told you that all hosting providers offer domain registration options, so as we look at the best hosting providers, we are also talking about domain registration companies.
It’s not a must to register a domain name with same company as your hosting provider, but personally, I prefer managing all my billing in one place.
How to choose the best hosting company for a website
Nowadays, most hosting providers are suitable for an average website or blog (about 3,000 – 50,000 Monthly visits). Nevertheless, there are some factors you should consider when making your choice of a hosting platform.
The factors to Consider When Choosing a Hosting Provider are;
1. Server Reliability and Uptime
You should know that no hosting provider can offer you a 100 percent uptime, disregard what they promise in their homepage. Truly, they could be up without any downtime for a couple of months, but in the long run, they’ll eventually hit one.
If so, how do you measure a Web host’s uptime? It’s often measured by “Nines”, according to Hosting Manual. Here’s how they translate downtime for 30 days:
99 percent – Two Nines equals seven hours and 12 minutes downtime
99.9 percent – Three Nines equals 43 minutes and 12 seconds
99.99 percent – Four Nines equals four minutes 19 seconds
99.999 percent – Five Nines equals 26 seconds
99.9999 percent – Six Nines equals three seconds
If you are familiar with the Quote “Speed Kills “, then you should know that it’s not applicable in the world of hosting. Speed is the second thing you should look out for. WordPress software is a heavy one on its own, by the time you are done with installing themes and plugins, you can imagine how heavier it will become, this is why the idea of a “managed wordpress hosting” came to be, though I never bought the idea, because it makes no difference to me.
There is a need for speed (you remember that game right?), like I said in chapter Fourteen, not all website visitors are ready to hang around and wait for your website to load, The heavier a website is, the slower it will become. So therefore, considering the speed of your future hosting provider is a good practice in the blogosphere.
Whenever you have problems with your web hosting, customer support is the first option that comes to mind. But what if they aren’t available at the time they’re really needed? You will be lost in a forest of trees.
Believe me, this is the kind of opportunity your competitors are waiting for, for example, when domainking.ng went down, two different hosting providers sent me an email offering to easily move my domains for me at the cheapest price anyone could think of, how they got my email?, I don’t know, that’s why they are called “competitors”. You see, customer support it very important.
Personally I prefer live chat over phone and support tickets. Also it’s good to cling to a web hosting company with comprehensive documentation in their knowledge-base and a lively community support through forum or blog.
The truth is that most big hosting companies don’t offer 5 star support to their members, mainly because they have been blinded by their success, or they have too many members on the queue.
Some hosting provider have a funny TOU, and unlucky bloggers will bump into them without going through their TOU. Some hosting provider will pull the plug off your website without you knowing, if they find out that you violated their TOU.
Others might warn you first, but the idea is that you have to know the dos and don’ts of you hosting providers.
5. Signup Fee vs. Renewal Cost
Don’t be carried away by the prices you see at the homepage of a hosting provider, they are always compelling and promising, look out for the renewal cost and you might find out that you were meant to pay for the promo you enjoyed in your first year later on.
Some hosting companies might tell you it’s at $2.99 per month for the first year, then for subsequent years you will have to pay $13.99, you can see how big the difference is. (And I believe a host for an average blog should not cost more than $7.99 per month)
6. Features and Add-ons
You should know what you really want from a web host, you should ask yourself these questions and make sure your dream hosting provider can answer them. Questions like;
What number of domains do I want to map out for my blog?
Is their control panel easy to use (cpanel or plesk will be great)?
Do they offer email hosting (e.g. Admin@yourdomain.com)?
What is their maximum allowed subdomain (e.g. contact.yourblog.com)?
7. Backup Availability
Some hosting providers offer automatic backup of your database in case of any errors, damages or hack-attack, while for others, you will have to do that yourself manually. Some might backup on daily basis, others monthly, you should look out for the backup schedule of you hosting provider also.
8. Server / Plan Upgrade
Every blogger’s dream is to grow, and if you are good on the run, there comes a time when you will out-grow you initial shared hosting, you will have to consider upgrading to a bigger shared hosting plan, a VPS (virtual private server) or a dedicated server, depending on your monthly visits and tech savvy rate.
9. Bandwidth Limit and Disk Space
Nothing like “unlimited bandwidth” or “unlimited diskspace“, don’t be carried away by those sweet marketing words, you are limited! that’s why there is an avenue for upgrade, but the truth is that as a beginner you might not find out. Don’t waste your money purchasing a hosting bandwidth you might not be able to utilize a quarter of, (5-10 GB disk space and 10 – 25 GB bandwidth is enough for an average website with about 30,000 – 50,000 monthly hits).
10. All in One
Last but not the least, there is no all in one hosting provider, just as there is no all in one blogging platform, you just have to choose which one best suit your taste.