What to Look For When Choosing a Web Host for Your Blog
The quality of web hosting is one of the most overlooked factors that can determine a blog’s success. Fair enough, all web hosting services are capable of making a site online and accessible to the intended users. However, when it comes to uptime, speed, and security, subpar hosting will get you nowhere.
That said, you need to look beyond the price tag when choosing a web host for your blog. To help you make the best decision, below are some of the factors you need to consider:
1. Uptime and Speed
Maximum uptime and a fast loading speed are two of the most important factors that constitute user experience. Remember that success in blogging boils down to your ability to keep your readers happy. Moreover, from their standpoint, nothing can be more frustrating than a slow site or a 404 error.
According to statistics, 40% of people will abandon a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. That is almost half of your potential leads gone in a flash. Furthermore, the increased bounce rate due to a slow loading site will hurt your rankings in search engines. So not only will you lose readers, but you will also be less visible in SERPs.
When it comes to uptime, most hosting companies will offer at least 99% uptime, but don’t take their word for it. You need to look at factual data and updated web hosting surveys to see who can deliver.
2. Disk Space
Another thing you need to look at is the amount of disk space allocated to you in your hosting plan. Whatever you do, don’t fall for the word “unlimited,” which a lot of hosting companies throw around these days.
Instead, look for a clear figure and determine whether a hosting package gives the best value for your money.
Of course, you should also consider the specific needs of your website. A 5-20 GB storage is usually more than enough for most simple blogs, but if you are planning to run an online store or use a ton of graphics and software, then you need about 50 GB.
Apart from storage, you should also look at the rate of data transfer or bandwidth you can get. Simply put, bandwidth can be used to measure the host’s ability to handle traffic. The bigger the bandwidth, the more users can access your content. If you exceed the bandwidth limit, then the hosting company will no longer serve your site for the rest of the month.
However, traffic is not the only factor that should determine your site’s bandwidth requirements. For example, if you plan to use video streaming for your blog, then you may need a bigger bandwidth to compensate for the amount of data being transferred by the host. However, if you are planning to provide mainly text content, then a 3 GB bandwidth should suffice.
4. Added Server Features
Having your website can be a symbol of prestige, but what if your host does not allow you to use your domain for emails? What if readers can only reach you through an external email provider, like Gmail or Hotmail?
Using your domain name for emails is a great way to make your site more official. For example, your users should be able to send inquiries to “[email protected]” It gives them the impression that they are dealing with a legitimate site.
The question now is how you are going to setup your email accounts. A good web host should have a neat “cPanel” interface that lets you access all these features. Fortunately, most hosts have modernized their platforms to make the interface more user-friendly. Some companies even offer additional features like autoresponders, which allow site owners to send automated messages based on specific triggers.
5. Script Support
For those who want to do more with their website, make sure you pick a host that supports FTP, PHP, .htaccess, SSH, MySQL, Cron, Perl, and SSI. Although you may never have to use these scripts, there’s no reason for you to settle for a host that do not support them.
You may not be planning to use these scripts at all when building a site, but you never know when inspiration will strike. Besides, you can always rely on freelancers or web design agencies to help you customize your blog.
6. SSL Encryption
An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption is crucial if you want to protect the security of your website. It is a must-have for eCommerce stores and business websites that handle sensitive information such as credit card numbers, customer contact details, and site login credentials.
If you want to sell infomercial products such as eBooks and online courses in your blog, then you should also look for a company that offers an SSL certificate on a per order basis. Some, however, have it already bundled together with hosting packages.
7. Existing Reviews
Finally, remember that web hosting is an important investment for any online endeavor. You need to be very careful not to put the future of your website in the wrong hands. To make sure you pick a reliable host, always look for existing reviews; either from review sites or other people’s blogs.
Remember that if a hosting company has a reputable track record, then it is bound to have positive reviews from satisfied customers. On the other hand, you need to think twice when choosing a host if it has negative reviews or no reviews at all.
Picking a great web host will help you establish a strong foundation for a successful blog. It must be reliable, secure, and capable enough to turn your blogging ideas into reality. With a little research, it shouldn’t be difficult to find a web hosting provider that fits the bill.
Great article. You’ve provided a lot of helpful information. I wish I had found this article earlier but after using several disappointing hosting companies, I finally found a great one. My hosting provider is decibite.com and they offer amazing customer service as well as great features at a really affordable price.