How Important is Hosting to Your Blog?

Filed as Guides on May 20, 2009 3:29 pm

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

  1. 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)
  2. 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?

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  1. By Adam posted on May 20, 2009 at 3:38 pm
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    If you don’t require official customer support slicehost is fantastic!

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  2. By Tuttel posted on May 20, 2009 at 3:47 pm
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    Hosting is -off course- important. Not just for blog, but for all things online.
    It is certainly an advantage to have a hsoting company in same/similar timezone, or at least someone you know you can reach when the sh*t hits the fan. That shouldn’t happen to begin with, but you can never be certain.

    Me, myself and I have a bunch of stuff hosted at a small scale company (www.iaf.nl). They miss out on commercial insight, but make it up with quality, friendlines, availability and knowledge. Yeah, I am satisfied about them!

    To answer you last question: me is happy with my blog host :-)

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  3. By f055 posted on May 20, 2009 at 3:59 pm
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    I’m running on HostPapa shared hosting with several other of my sites on the account and never had problems. It sustained a massive flow from the Mashable effect ;) so it’s quite good. And it’s true it’s very important – I’d be particularly mad if all these referrals from the article on Mashable went to blank due to blog going down… I hate when my site goes offline, it happened a lot with my previous provider, so I switched. I’d be really mad if i.e. Now it’s running very good, although several-minute slowdowns do happen – luckily it’s very rare.

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  4. By redwall_hp posted on May 20, 2009 at 11:10 pm
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    Very important. I will hopefully be moving from basic shared hosting to a Media Temple DV (“Dedicated-Virtual”) server by the end of the summer. I run a few sites, some blogs, some not, and the shared hosting is starting to sag under their weight, along with the 3000 other sites that are probably hosted on the same machine. :)

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  5. By Alex Newell posted on May 21, 2009 at 3:11 am
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    Number 1 criterion for me is 24 hour telephone support. Technical stuff is secondary. So far I am very happy with Hostmonster.

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  6. By jbevans posted on May 22, 2009 at 2:44 am
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    I have to say that 24/7 tech support by telephone is essential to me. I moved from a hosting company because they required email tickets before working on a problem. Now my provider answers the phone with a real person.

    If problems arise I can call or send email and it is usually resolved in a very short time.

    Money is important but means nothing if your site is down and you can’t get help.

    For me, inmotionhosting.com is the answer to me needs.

    Reply

  7. By Gary posted on May 22, 2009 at 4:03 am
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    After going through a few hosting companies I have settled with Godaddy. I’ve been very happy with their hosting and support….

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  8. By Jonathan Bailey posted on May 26, 2009 at 2:33 am
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    Hm. Lots to say here.

    First, I did like Westhost. They were the company that I had the longest-standing relationship with and one of the happiest. I only ended it after my site started semi-routinely getting Dugg/Slashdotted and they couldn’t handle it.

    From there I moved to Media Temple. Media Temple handled the waves of traffic with grace and elegance but but as I added domains I began to butt up against their CPU limit. So, I moved again to a VPS host.

    The first VPS host was an unmitigated disaster (sending me running back to MT to get my site back up after a failure) and I shortly thereafter moved to Layered Tech, where I am today.

    I can recommend all of the named companies in this list, just be wary of the technical limitations of each :)

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