When you decided to start a blog and began to research for information, you likely came across many unfamiliar terms, such as web hosting, hosting, web host, blog host, hosting provider, etc. All these terms refer to services that are essential for the visibility of your blog on the Internet. In today’s blog hosting tutorial, I will explain what is web hosting and I’ll discuss the criteria for finding the best web host for your blog.
What Is Web Hosting
Briefly, a web hosting provider is a company that allows you access to their servers that are permanently connected to the Internet. Your web host allocates a place for your blog to “live” in cyberspace (actually it is on their servers). For a small fee, you set up a web hosting account and the provider will “host” the files of your blog on their servers so that your website can be viewed 24/7 on the Internet.
Your blog or a website is a collection of all pages and posts, images, videos and any other content you include on your blog. For your blog to be seen by others, it has to be published on the Internet. In order for your site to be published, it has to be stored on a web server.
Typically, neither you or I own a web server and to publish our sites, we need to look for a web hosting company who owns web servers and who is in business to “lease” a space on their servers for people like us. These services are also referred to as web hosts or web hosting providers. There are a great many of them available online.
When you “lease” (“buy”) a space on the web server, your site becomes “hosted”. On this piece of “real estate”, you can store the pages and all other content of your blog. Your host will “serve” your blog to the public. In other words, your web host makes it possible for your blog to become visible online.
The hosting company allows you access to your “rented” portion of their “real estate”. Through a control panel you can, install WordPress blog on your domain, access your blog files, upload files and perform many other background activities. In fact you become in charge of the way your website looks and functions.
How To Choose Best Web Host For Your Blog
Anyone who has a server can be a web host. But not everyone can be a good hosting provider. The last thing you need when you become a blogger is to experience problems caused by the web hosting service you purchased.
For the purpose of guiding you and helping you make a right decision, a good web host is a hosting company who own their data center and own many fast Internet connecting servers, that are highly secure and easily backed up.
As well, the main mission of a web host you are looking for, should be not only be a fast and reliable service at a reasonable price, but also an excellent free technical support 24/7.
In addition, most bloggers look for and use web hosting providers who are well versed when it comes to hosting blogs, such as WordPress, offer free and fast WordPress installation scripts (programs) and whose technical support has enough technical background related to blogs, to help you if, for whatever reason, your WordPress installation fails.
Another feature that you should look at when searching for a web hosts, is to find out whether they offer cPanel. cPanel, is an extremely user friendly control panel for techie challenged bloggers.
cPanel is the best solution to access the “guts” or the geeky data of our blogs. It is created with non-techie users in mind and anyone can traverse that “scary” place with ease. And, sometimes you will have to! It is amazingly simple to use and if you are not techie savvy, make sure your web hosting provider offers it!
From a practical point of view, for me, cPanel is the second most important feature (first being a stellar support).
Lastly, it is also important that the “space” you rent on the web hosting servers is sufficient for your needs. Your host needs to provide your blog with enough disc space.
The best web host for your blog will offer the following features:
The features I am mentioning below are based on my own experience. If you know me through my blog, I often mention that when I started blogging, way back when, I was majorly technically challenged. I survived my early days online only because of the amazing technical support from my web hosting provider (affiliate link).
- Size matters – good web host owns data center with fast and secure servers. You definitely don’t want to get hosting from a guy who has a server in his spare bedroom.
- Free stellar technical support – the support must be available 24/7/365. You will be working odd hours and weekends too. Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 support simply does not cut it. If the web hosting company only offers these types of hours, I suggest you run and never look back.
- Live support 24/7 – an absolute must from my experience. If the hosting provider does not at least have a live chat line 24/7, stay away from them.
- cPanel – I still feel a bit intimidated by all the geeky background stuff, so for me a cPanel is a must.
- Enough Disc Space – you need to have enough storage space for your files including text, images, videos and any other content as your blog expands.
- Sufficient amount of Bandwidth – bandwidth is the amount of data that a website can transfer over a period of time. The speed of your blog depends on this element. More bandwidth translates into more speed.
- High Uptime – very rarely, for some or another reasons, the server your blog is on, may be down. You want the minimum amount of time for your servers to be down. Ideally, the servers are up 99.9%.
- Reasonable price – when you first start blogging, you don’t want to spend too much money on hosting. You don’t need to. As I will show you in a tutorial on setting up a web hosting account, you can get hosting for as low as $3.95 per month. You certainly cannot argue with that price!
Which Web Hosting Provider Do I Recommend
Over the years I have used several hosting providers. I will not mention the flunkies. The one I stuck with is Hostgator. Their technical support “saved” me. I can tell you with confidence, that for me they represent the best web host, particularly for people who are not techie geeks. I currently have several accounts with them for my blogs.
They offer a number of different types of web hosting accounts suitable for both, beginners and accomplished bloggers. You can check Hostgator here… (affiliate link).
I will go through setting up a hosting account with you in another tutorial and there I will explain what the information on Hostgator sales page mean and how to choose an account that will suit your needs.
Hostgator satisfies all the criteria on the list above. I need to mention, though, that the company had a couple of hiccups in regard to uptime last year. This happened mainly as a result of consolidation and moving their servers to another location. It is resolved now, so I consider it a non-issue. Before and after the move, they were and continue be almost perfect when it comes to Uptime.
Before I’ll show you how to set up an account with a web hosting provider, and before you make a decision about a hosting company, please don’t skip the tutorial on cPanel. It will take you only a few minutes to read and I think that by the time you’ll finish going through it, you will be hooked on this particular type of control panel. Plus I will be referring to it in the tutorial on setting up web hosting account. I’ll see you at the next tutorial.
Next Tutorial: What Is cPanel – Why Bloggers Love It