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Back at it with some more helpful info I wish I knew about when I started blogging. We took off for Thanksgiving festivities (and last week because I was just swamped) but today we’re back and we’ll be talking about how to go about choosing the right host for your blog and what are the differences between hosts.

Blogger Tip Thursday: Choosing The Right Hosting Service

What Is A Host?

Basically if you’ve decided to self host your blog (which you should for better monetization and growth purposes) a host is “your home”. Your host is what keeps all of the information in one place to keep your blog up and running. It contains more than just your content. Your host is the back entrance to your site that holds all the goodies that make it run properly. If your host is down, or an error occurs in your hosting network… then your site will also go down. That is why choosing the right host is crucial in the success of your blog.

Why self host: 

Now I’m going to try to lay this out as simply as possible, because after learning it on my own through my own Google efforts, I was bewildered most of the time and I don’t want that to happen to you here. There are two different types of hosting. There is the hosting option that is pretty much free and is provided by your Blog platform. For example if you use Blogger or WordPress then they would host your blog for you. If you are just getting started blogging and learning the basics, this may be the better option because it takes a lot of the pressure off of you.

However this type of hosting is very restricted, and many networks do not want to partner with bloggers who choose this option. Self hosting provides you with access to the “.org” version of most blogging platforms. I use WordPress so I’ll speak from a WordPress perspective. The “.org” version of WordPress gives you access to tons of plugins, design and development options to make your site look, feel, and do pretty much what you want. It also allows you to place ads on your site. This is why most networks (including Google Adsense and MediaVine ) tend to only partner wit self hosted blogs, because ads can be incorporated as a monetization tool.

Because you have all of these options and freedoms, self hosting can also be tricky as hell if you don’t know what you are doing. (which I didn’t at the time… and I’m still learning). You are in charge or running every aspect of your site when you self host and if something goes wrong there is a good possibility that you will have to pay someone to fix it, or spend quite a bit of time learning how to fix it yourself. There are hosting companies that provide a great deal of basic service for you depending on the contract you sign with them.

What Are My Self Host Options?

Now this is what I spent most of my time learning about last year and I’m going to bring it to the forefront for your early so you can have an easier time than I did. When you purchase your domain and first decide to self host you will be bombarded with deals from the popular companies. We initially went with Go Daddy as our host because that is where our domain was purchased. (more info on that for another time) We received a great deal that cost us about 70.00 dollars for the year. Amazing right… yes… for the most part this deal was right up our newbie ally.

Then our site crashed/ disappeared and pretty much died last summer. We lost all of our posts, data and after several break downs we decided to switch providers. Our newly designed site wasn’t working on our Go Daddy account and kept giving error codes when the url was entered. After hours on the phone with Go Daddy they told us we got a virus at some point from 2013-2014 and even with several attempts our site just couldn’t function with them as our host. That is when we went to Site5. We received a similar price point and things were going great for about three months. (thats about as long as anything works/goes great over in TNT world). Site5 representatives communicated much better with us, except they told us our site was too big for a shared host account. What the hell is a shared host account?!?

A Shared Host Account is just what it sounds like. Shared hosting are the cheaper options that are offered at sign up. Think of it as one giant power strip that several sites are plugged into, and if one site starts sucking up too much energy it affects all the other sites on the strip. We were that site sucking up all of the energy. The format of our site, as well as our plugins, traffic and other factors were using up too many of their “points per month” and if we couldn’t get the usage down and under control we would have to be moved to a much more expensive VPS plan.

VPS Host Account is the self host option of a self hosted account (if that makes any sense). A VPS account puts a bit more power in your hands , is a bit scarier, and quite a bit more money. This hosting option is usually for bigger more powerful sites that have tons of traffic daily and require large amounts of loading in a quick time. Site5 was offering us a VPS plan for 170.00 dollars a month! No… you did NOT read that wrong! 170.00 dollars a month to run our blog… and trust me we aren’t getting that much traffic. I took the first month free promotion and spent those 30 days searching for a better deal that wouldn’t drain my account. (PS: There’s also a dedicated hosting option… lets not even get started with that)

How We Found Our Current Hosting Provider:

We then ventured to HostGator for our VPS needs and lived in that space for a while. The same nonsense started to happen again. Constant down time, and really horrible customer service.  Each time I had to call them I would be on the phone for atleast an hour, even if the problem was small and could be solved in five minutes. That got beyond frustrating. We we decided to give our site a complete new design and overhaul, our web designer suggested Media Temple. I was weary of changing hosting services again, but I was tired of the constant struggle to keep our site afloat. It was bad for business to constantly be crashing or having a slow lagging non responsive site. 

When we ventured over to Media Temple we signed up for a Managed WordPress Hosting. I had never heard of this option before and was getting ready to pony up the big bucks to switch over to another VPS hosting plan. However MediaTemple and our web designer ensured me that the Managed WordPress Hosting plan was similar to a VPS but was more dedicated and focused on keeping WordPress blogs up and running properly. WordPress is a heavy machine in itself, so it made sense to have a WordPress hosting plan. 

Since switching to Media Temple in 2016 we’ve had 98% satisfied uptime and wonderful communication with their customer service department. Besides hosting Media Temple now also hosts the domain for Trialsntresses as well as MillennialIndebt (even though we haven’t built a site for that just yet). When the internet rules switched up in 2018, Media Temple also helped get our SSL situated in no time. 

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So here’s what you need to remember & keep in mind when choosing a host for your blog:

{Things To Remember & Keep In Mind}

  • What Do I Want To Accomplish With My Blog: If you choose to monetize or grow your brand go with the self hosted option
  • How big is my blog right now: Are you just getting started or transitioning into a larger brand. This is how you decide whether you need a shared hosting plan or a VPS hosting plan. Media Temple offers both! 
  • Weigh your options: Do not just accept whatever offer any company lays on the table. Check out the completion and what they have to offer. 

 

If you found this post helpful don’t be afraid to share the info with someone else who might find it helpful! And we’ve got tons more blogging help, tips and tricks for you here!