Hosting is now largely sold to the blog community as a commodity. Advertising will always focus on one thing, and that of course is the monthly price. Yes “features” will be pushed along with this, such as 1-click installs of WordPress, unlimited hard disk space capacity, unlimited bandwidth for all your video streaming needs, and unlimited domains so you can host all of your websites in one convenient place. This is great, and I had all that, so why did I change hosting providers in a hurry?
The fact is, if you have a personal site, doing casual development, or are testing the waters, most hosting providers are going to provide a pretty similar service.
For anyone who is serious about their blogging and hosting requirements, the crunch will come when
- You really need technical support … and find that it just doesn’t exist (I live in the UK so even worse most hosting providers are asleep when I have problems)
- It’s a big day for your business … and your site disappears
When either of those things happen then you immediately stop thinking about hosting as being a commodity and start investigating more seriously the options available to you.
While I was happy with DreamHost (most of the time) I knew the pressure of our Social Media Success Summit competition would be too much to handle for the service. Luckily via a couple of big-named bloggers I was introduced to the provider you see in my blog sidebar which is Westhost. This hosting company has handled everything admirably and provided excellent customer service so far.
If you ask on Twitter or any of the forums you will get many recommendations and they will all conflict. For each hosting provider that someone says they love, you will have an equal and opposite reaction where someone hates that provider and gives you a long list of horror stories.
Some of the blogs I work on have super fast dedicated servers, the Promotions blog is blindingly fast, but the hassle of managing servers myself makes me frustrated just thinking about it.
This is why you need to work out the criteria that are important to you. For me being able to handle high traffic days (especially big launches like what I am doing now) and having someone available to scream at are now top priority. For you it might be day to day ease of use and the occasional down day might not be too much of a problem.
So over to you, how happy are you with your hosting and how important is hosting to your blogging?