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) 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 fit right up our 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 Hosting Provider:

It was then I stumbled onto HostGator. I wasn’t familiar with this hosting company and was leaning towards going back to GoDaddy or Blue. All three options cost less money than Site5 was charging for the same amount of VPS hosting power. When I weighed out my options, Blue wouldn’t transfer my site over from Site5 because it was a VPS hosted site. I started trying to learn how to transfer over a site myself (which is a freaking nightmare that I really didn’t want to do). GoDaddy would do the transfer for me but wanted to charge 300.00 dollars for the transfer on top of the VPS hosting fee. With everything seeming to be against saving money, and running a useable site, I looked further into HostGator.

With HostGator I would be able to have my site transferred from Site5 for free and go back down to my shared hosting for the much cheaper price (which I did for literally one day before going back to VPS), or transfer to another VPS hosting account. The reason I decided to stick with VPS is because the one day we went back to the Shared hosting account on HostGator our site became super non responsive and slow. The directions to transfer over the easy stuff (where my domain points…etc) were very clear and easy to follow. Best of all their communication and customer service was on point during my many many moments of panic. ( I accidentally deleted everything off of the site during the transfer process). The transfer as done seamlessly (besides my hiccup), quickly and for FREE. Best of all for the first year I was only charged 375 (instead of 170.00 a month) and even though it will be going up in our second year of being hosted there, it is still financially a better option than any other hosting provider I looked into. Plus HostGator is open 24/7 so when things go wrong at a moments notice (which they will) I can always get in contact with a live person on the line.

HostGator WordPress Hosting

[Tweet “I just got some helpful blogging advice on #bloggertipThursday from Trials N Tresses”]

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

{Things To Remember & Keep In Mind}

  1. What Do I Want To Accomplish With My Blog: If you choose to monetize or grow your brand go with the self hosted option
  2. 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. Host Gator has both!(Their shared plans start as low as 4.00 a month and their VPS plans start as low as 19.95 a month)
  3. 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. HostGator gave us 100.00 in Google Adwords credit for signing up. While GoDaddy gave us 50.00 in Facebook Ad Credit.

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!

choosing the right hosting service

FTC: This post is not sponsored but does contain affiliate links that provide me with a small commission. My thoughts and opinions are my own!