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The next step in getting your Blog (or your site) up and running is selecting a Web Hosting provider.
You didn’t just go ahead and buy one though did you? I told you not to and in this post, you will see why.
What is a Web Hosting Provider?
A Web Hosting provider is a business that provides you with the technology to be able to get your site online.
Think about it this way.
Without a Web Hosting provider, your site, no matter how great it is would have nowhere to live.
If your site isn’t hosted (living) somewhere, then nobody will be able to access it.
What do they do?
Web Hosting providers have a huge amount of hardware at their disposal.
Essentially, they rent you space on one of their servers so that you can get your site online.
They also provide connectivity to your site via datacentres, the bigger and better the web hosting provider, the more datacentres they will have (normally).
Providers come in all shapes and sizes and they are not a one fits all solution.
In addition to hosting your site, many web hosting providers will offer you “extras”.
These can come in the form of:
- Free SSL certificates for your site
- Managed site builders (WordPress/WooCommerce etc.)
- Professional SEO services
- Backups of your site
- Email services
- Tech support
- Site management tools
- The list goes on
What you have to remember is that they are a business.
As much as they are there to provide you with space and the ability to get your site online, they are also there to make money.
You will generally find hosting providers will have a variety of options for you.
Depending on what you are looking at achieving with your site, and how many visitors you are getting, there will be a package suited to you.
What do they offer?
As mentioned, Web Hosting providers will ordinarily give you at least 3 different options when it comes to hosting.
Let’s have a look at them now.
Shared Web Hosting
Shared hosting is just as it sounds.
You rent space on one of the provider’s servers, but that server may accommodate multiple customers.
With this option, you will generally find that it is the cheapest, however, it may lack the performance you are looking for.
If you are just starting out, then a shared hosting plan is an ideal place to start.
It is more than sufficient for up to 10,000 visitors a month, so should keep you going for a while whilst keeping costs down.
Dedicated hosting is very similar to Shared hosting except your site gets its own “dedicated” server.
That may sound great on the face of it, but as you may expect, this comes with a price.
While dedicated servers can be expensive, they do ensure that your site maintains higher loading speeds and reduces the amount of downtime.
Within most dedicated hosting plans you will generally find you can go for either the managed or unmanaged option.
Managed plans will cost more, however, the professionals at the company will take care of the server and the security for you.
Unmanaged will purely see you renting the server. No bells and whistles, you manage it yourself.
If you are knowledgable about servers and how they work then, by all means, go for it (it will be a little cheaper). Just be aware that you will be responsible for the security of that server so make sure you know what you’re doing.
If, like me, you’re not that savvy with servers then stick to the managed plan.
Your last option is a cloud-hosted site.
With Cloud Hosting, as you may expect, your site and its data are stored in the cloud.
This means that firstly, you get much faster site speeds and secondly, there is no specific hardware allocated to your site.
That in itself may sound bad but think about it. If your site is hosted on a server, what happens if that server goes down for any reason?
With Cloud Hosting you do not have that problem.
This hosting option is by far the most expensive and frankly, not something I would even consider until you are hitting hundreds of thousands of visits every month.
Why do I need one?
Bottom line is, you need a way for your viewers to access your site, that is what a web hosting provider gives you.
You may be wondering why it matters which one you use, and that’s a fair question.
When I started out, I just got my web hosting with the company that I purchased my domain from.
This is an option, and frankly not a bad one.
It will get you up and running at least.
However, I now know that there are better options out there.
In Post #2 of the How to start a blog series, I told you to check that your Domain name was free, but not to buy it yet.
The reason I told you this is that many web hosting providers will offer you a free domain name when you register.
One of these companies is Bluehost.
With Bluehost, you can get a wealth of free resources when you sign up to one of their web hosting packages, including a free domain name for the first year.
This is one of your best options if you have not yet purchased a Domain name.
What’s more, is that they are recommended by WordPress, you can’t ask more than that.
Find my full review of Bluehost below.
You’ve seen a brief overview of Bluehost, they’re one of the best out there and great if you do not already have your Domain registered.
But what if you do?
If you have a Domain name already registered and you need somewhere to host it, or you are looking at upping the performance of your site, then I recommend SiteGround.
SiteGround is a step up, both in terms of technology and what they can offer.
With faster hosting thanks to their SSD only servers, and multiple packages for you to choose from, you will find one that suits both your needs and your budget.
Along with various packages available depending on what type of site you want to create, they also have multiple options within each, allowing you again, to find one that’s suited for you.
Find my full review of SiteGround at the link below.
Web Hosting is one of those inevitable costs that you will incur whenever you start a website.
From a blog to an e-commerce store, you need your site to be as fast as possible.
In future posts, we will look at SEO and how site speed can affect your traffic.
For now, just know that it is a factor and just think for a second, what do you do if you visit a site and it takes an age to load?
You leave, I bet you do. I know I do.
Bluehost and SiteGround are two of the best out there at this time.
Which one you choose is totally down to you and how much you are willing to pay.
Bluehost is cheaper, SiteGround is faster.
I hope this article has helped and enables you to get your site online for the first time.
In the next post, we will look at getting started with WordPress.
Check out all the other articles in the How to start a blog series at the link below.