Choosing hosting for a blog – what to keep in mind
In this article we will try to provide some general tips for beginners as for choosing hosting for a blog, without going deep into technical aspects. In order not to be prejudiced, we will focus on comparing characteristics instead of comparing companies. So, the main steps to take:
- Choose between free and paid solution
- Make sure that you will have a domain name along with web-hosting
- Think of how much space the blog will take
- Check the number of addon domains (for more than one blog)
- Make sure that the needed software is pre-installed
Let’s see why these points are to be kept in mind.
Free hosting or a paid solution
This is a widely discussed question. On the one hand, there are solutions which are free and more or less efficient in the same time (we will give examples below). On the other, you cannot have any guarantees from a company which you don’t pay to (sad but true). The general idea can be explained the following way: If blogging is a hobby for you, then a free solution works (later, when it grows, you can move to a paid one). But if blogging is your business or a job, it is better to use a paid hosting from the very beginning.
Now let’s take the most popular fee solutions and have a closer look at them:
Highly customizable, with good selection of themes and plugins. May be good for those who would like to create an impression of powerful site (widgets, different kinds of content etc) without investing anything at the start point. This is where an actual blog post is created:
This service was initially created for microblogs and that is what it is really good for. So, if your blog mainly consists of short text posts, it must work. Also, Tumblr is more like a social network than like a hosting provider, due to ‘re-blog’ option and other social features. As you can see, the interface is much simpler:
This is a service for blogging integrated with Gmail and other Google services. It is also easy to integrate with Adsense (which may be important if you are planning to make money on your blog in future. Still, it is less customizable (if comparing with WP) and less social (if comparing with Tumblr). Now let’s take a look at the panel:
With a paid hosting including standard software pre-installed you have not just one interface for blogging, but a selection of of them (each one can be quickly chosen and installed):
Among other strong points paid web-hosting (provided by a reliable company, of course) we can name the following:
- better support;
- less server load and more resources available;
- no advertising.
One more thing is that some providers offer a free domain with a paid hosting – this is a good idea unless you already have a domain or unless the price is higher than competitors charge for domain and hosting as separate services.
Shared hosting or a server
Generally, a server gives more choice as for what software to install and how to use the available resources. In the same time, in order to manage a server efficiently you will need to have more skills and experience (this applies to virtual servers (VPS) as well as to dedicated ones). So, before spending your money (since servers are usually expensive) and efforts, you first need to understand whether a server is really what you need.
A simple shared hosting will work for a blog, regardless of what kind of content you have. Unless you have hundreds (or even thousands) of daily visitors (which is unlikely to happen to a beginner) you will not need a server. The only thing to keep in mind is that different shared packages come with different amount of websites (addon domains).
If you are going to launch not just one blog, but several, you better choose a pack with a right amount of sites. If it is just one blog, then in most cases the cheapest shared pack will be OK.
Does disc space matter?
Not really. This parameter is much less crucial than many people think (if talking about a blog). Remember that you will NOT be storing any videos or other big files at your hosting. There are other places for that, such as Youtube (for videos) or Google Drive (can store several GBs of files).
So, basically what you need is a space for your blog software installation and for the actual content of the blog. An average active blog (even with additional plugins installed) is taking around 100 – 200 MB. Pictures? Well, even you have a hundred and each one is 1MB (very big), then it is just 100MB. Mail? If you are going to store much, it is better to setup forwarders to your gmail and forget about this pain. Finally, let’s imagine you have a really fat guy and it takes 500MB. Since most of the providers offer at least 1GB disc space (for simplest shared packs!), it’s nothing to worry about.
What you need is cPanel (this is where you check disc space and other main parameters) and Softaculous (this is where you install your WordPress or other engine for your blog without hassle). These features must be mentioned in the description of the hosting which you are buying, or you can ask support about that.
When choosing a cheap and simple pack, you may accidentally come across a cheap solution (maybe even VPS) with no cPanel pre-installed. This is NOT what you need. And it’s better to avoid providers offering a pre-installed WordPress alone: with Softaculous you have choice and with just WP you don’t have it.
To have an efficient hosting for a blog, you need:
- a cheap shared pack;
- a free domain included;
- needed amount of sites;
- cPanel/Softaculous pre-installed.
The advice above covers most of cases, but not 100% of them, so use your common sense and ask questions BEFORE you click on ‘Pay now’ button. And remember that the thing which makes your blog great is its content, not just its hosting.