How to pick the right WordPress host for you?
Strong houses are built on solid foundations… and so should your WordPress blog.
I have been writing blogs on many platforms over the years. But WordPress is perhaps the most versatile and beautiful blog application I’ve ever used.
Armed with many plugins and themes you can use out-of-the-box, you can build something professional and creative within minutes. Many of these are free to use thanks to open-source developers that support WordPress. But some can come at a price but offer greater functionality and flexibility.
Whether you’re a WordPress virgin or a seasoned veteran, the most common mistake that many bloggers make is underestimating the power of a good hosting provider. Doing a Google search on WordPress hosting will offer you thousands of results.
Picking your hosting provider can be the difference between running a well maintained blog in comfort, or a blog that keeps going down, whilst you pay a premium in support.
Having spent many years migrating from one hosting provider to another, I can tell you many horror stories. However, the aim of this post is not to put you off. It’s meant to share my wisdom that’s been accumulated over the years to help prevent you making the same mistakes as me.
I have curated a list of the lessons learned that will keep you on the straight and narrow.
Lesson 1 – The most expensive hosting providers are ‘not all that’.
Many years ago, you could hang your hat on the hosting provider that offers you their ‘premium-deluxe-elite’ package that promises 99.9999% up-time by paying through the nose. In the early emergence of the internet this was all many website designers cared about.
Today, we are in the 4th Industrial Revolution, or otherwise known as the Digital Revolution, and the game has changed somewhat. You probably would be forgiven for thinking that your blog or website is hosted on some PC in a big room of other PC’s. These types of server farms have moved from the physical to the virtual world. To use it’s common name:- ‘the cloud’.
Where am I going with this?
Many applications are now hosted in the cloud. The running costs for a hosting provider have reduced dramatically. Therefore to maintain the price, most of the big players try to add value to their packages in attempt to get you to spend the deniro to provide “your audience with the best experience possible on your blog or website“.
There are many good hosts out there who can provide you the right level of value, and for prices you can afford. Most will offer a great discount if you signup for a longer period, and pay up front.
My advice to you would be to avoid using big household names like GoDaddy and 123-Reg. They may sound great on paper, but having been a customer of both of these you will end up paying for extras you will never need (and will have no idea how to use).
That said, the customer support you get is unparalleled. This will mean nothing to you when you keep having to fix your lightweight WordPress blog every few days. The sting to this is you pay the best part of £40 per month for the pleasure, not to mention the time you’ve wasted, on getting your blog or website to stay up and not fall over!
Lesson 2 – Don’t be cheap either.
If you are trying to find a hosting provider that will offer you the flexibility and freedom of creating your dream WordPess blog for free or next to nothing, you might as well be out hunting for a Unicorn. Unless you’re a not-for-profit organisation, you will not find a whole lot that hosting providers will give you in exchange for no coin.
WordPress does offer you a basic hosting solution if you’re wishing to make a simple personal blog in minutes on this link. However, be warned – you cannot install as many plugins as you want, and your selection of themes is restricted to what is freely available on the WordPress community. If you want to use your own domain address (for example, www.krismccabe.co) – forget it. WordPress free hosting is basic as they come and when you’re staying in their house, it’s their rules.
An alternative to this could be to host your blog or website from home. Unfortunately, by taking this approach, you will inherit the costs of this, such as maintaining your private server and extra bandwidth to handle the traffic to your blog or website.
It’s entirely possible to get your WordPress blog or website hosted, and with everything you could possibly need, for between £2.00 – £25.00 per month. This is a middle of the road solution that I recommend and will allow you to create a blog or website with the freedom to be creative in the look and feel.
And at the same time, you can get all the horsepower you need to run everything without the need for an infrastructure engineer with a mullet to show you the way to increase performance of your creation.
Lesson 3 – Use a highly reputable WordPress host.
If you do a search on Google for ‘best WordPress hosting’ you will find a number of websites (once you’ve scrolled pass the many ads) that will offer you a pretty detailed comparison of the best WordPress hosts out there today. I recommend the article on www.techradar.com who are well known for giving their impartial view of the pro’s and con’s on technology. You can read their comparison here.
What you will notice is the list does not contain any of the big household names that I mentioned earlier in this post. I find this quite interesting as the major players will tell you that they are ‘highly recommended’ and trusted by ‘millions of customers’. This might be true if you are a business who needs major hosting power, but if your a personal blogger just wanting to share your knowledge – you will feel short changed and robbed.
Be sure to shop around and compare the features you need for your blog or website with what hosts can offer you. Many of these will provide introductory discounts that you can take advantage. But be sure to read the small print on what the price would be at your renewal. With many hosting providers this will go up significantly.
You could interpret this as a way to get you on-board and then rinse you later. But remember, you can always switch when your renewal is due and look for the best deals for you at that time.
One provider that is not on techradar’s article is SiteGround. Having used them for a few months now, I got their ‘GrowBig’ tier and I paid £189.36 all in for 3 years, which includes VAT and additional security functionality. That translates to £5.26 per month. And so far, I am very happy with them.
I am not trying to sell you SiteGround’s services specifically, but you will find many other hosting providers like them in the market. But for me, they win hands down and I personally recommend them.
I hope this article helps you make the right choice to build your own blog or website with the best hosting provider for your needs. If you have any questions or any additional advice of your own, feel free to post in the comments below.
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