The first decision that has to be made when setting up the ideal platform to build your business with… is web hosting.
In this episode of Coffee Break Blogging, we talk about how to select the best web hosting for your blog. What’s the problem with free web hosting? Should you use shared, VPS, dedicated, or managed Wordpress hosting? You’ll find out my specific recommendations. 😉
Now, today we are going to move on to phase 2; Stage 2 of the 7 Stages of Building an Online Business. Now if you are wondering what I’m talking about when I say that; then back up to Episode no. 45 where we took a little bit of a pit stop and kind of reviewed where we are and where we are heading and I talked about the 7 stages there. So we are moving into Stage 2 today and we are going to be moving in to talking about the platform; building up the platform which is our blog… building it up in the right way. And we are going to be talking about various aspects of that for the next many episodes here of the show.
Now what we are going to be talking about today is How to Choose Hosting for Your Site. It is a very important topic; something you do want to get right at the beginning. It is not something where it is set in stone. You can change your mind later when it comes to hosting but it is something that you want to get right because you probably hear horror stories out there who have had problems with their web host. I’ve got people in the VIP Program over at the Academy who told me about their experiences about web hosts. One where the web host from all practical sides literally went out of business and the person can’t get their site off because nobody will pick up the phones are answer their emails. I mean, it is a heck of a thing, I’ve never heard of that one before. So this is something that you want to get right.
Choosing A Hosting For Your Site
The first thing that I want to talk about is free hosting versus paid hosting.
You probably already are going to know where I am going with this. A paid hosting account is definitely the way that you want to go.
I know a lot of people; they don’t want to invest any money into what they’re doing with this. But the thing is, if you are looking to make money from this, you need to be willing to spend some. And that goes into your hosting. It is kind of like the idea of, if someone gave you a car for free, do you think it is going to run very well? Probably not. Pretty much we all understand that you are going to have to pony up a little bit of money to get a decent car. Well, it is the same thing with web hosting.
Now, the thing about free hosting is that, yes… they are going to give you a place to set up your blog. It could be WordPress.com, it could be Blogger; whatever. The thing is, really pay attention to the copyright or that information. In many cases, they actually own and control your posts. Or if they say you own it, believe me they maintain all the rights to do what they want with it. For example, they control how you make money. And quite frankly, in many cases, they actually say “you can’t make money” but instead, what they are doing is they are putting their stuff all over your site because they are trying to promote their company. I mean, after all, they are not really giving it to you for free. I mean, it might not extract money from your wallet but you are paying for it by having their crap littered all over your site. So I say this because if you were looking to build a business, you definitely don’t want to do it on free space; on free land. You want to do it on a land that you can control because otherwise, you are going to have this company and their interest is not your bottomline; their interest is their bottomline because they got to pay the bills for that free hosting account somehow. So I definitely recommend that you do not go from free as tempting as it might be; you want to go for paid hosting.
So let’s talk about paid hosting a little bit. There is the Entry level hosting where most people are going to get started right off the bat. Two big names in the entry level hosting service are Bluehost and HostGator. These two companies used to be different, now they are actually owned by the same parent company so there is not a lot of difference between them but I think they are ran a little bit differently.
Between the two of them, I recommend that you go with Bluehost. HostGator is okay, Bluehost is pretty decent. The thing about it; they are both entry-level host. Now, Bluehost does get into more advanced hosting and I think their level of service is definitely going to probably be better. I actually have dealt with their support people a few times and I have never had any bad experience with Bluehost. So generally, I recommend Bluehost to my readers; the people who are looking to get started because I think they are going to take good care of you. And the hosting; they start really cheap. If you pre-pay for a certain block of time, I think it the cheapest 4-5 dollars a month, so it’s really cheap. It’s a great account over Bluehost.
I actually use Bluehost myself. I am not hosting the Blog Marketing Academy with them, although I could, but I am using Bluehost for some of my smaller sites and some of my stuff where I require more flexibility. And I’ve had a really good experience with them, so far. They have got a really good system, very capable; so I am very happy with using Bluehost.
Virtual Private Server – A Virtual Machine
Now once you move up a level from the standard basic entry level hosting, you are going to be looking at what is called VPS. And that stands for Virtual Private Server.
This is a step up from entry level hosting. It has a little bit more horsepower. Essentially what it is, is a virtual machine. If you have ever worked on your computer whether it is Windows or Mac, and you know you can set up this little… it’s like a computer within a piece of software where you can actually run Windows inside of a window kind of a deal. You can do that on your local computer. Well, you could do that in web host too and that is kind of what a VPS is. It is kind of a virtual private server, obviously… VPS. And it runs inside a piece of software, essentially.
Now, the beauty of VPS is that you have more flexibility. Nobody else is going to be controlling the settings of that thing. You can do a lot more things with a VPS and generally you are going to have a little bit more horsepower. That being said, in most cases, the VPS is still just a hair above standard shared web hosting because typically, they have got one server which is hosting a ton of different VPSes. So you are still sharing resources with a lot other people but you still have more flexibility and generally a little bit more power with VPS. If you are first starting out, you are probably are not going to need to get VPS.
If you are starting to run up against the confines of an entry level hosting account or let’s say that your host is starting to email you and complain that your site is taking up too many resources or something, then you might want to look into VPS. And we will say one thing about that… a lot of these hosting accounts, especially the entry level accounts; they will advertise unlimited traffic or unlimited bandwidth and stuff like this… at the end of the day, keep in mind it is not truly unlimited. They say that primarily for advertising purposes, but at the end of the day if your site gets really popular and it is taking up just too much horsepower, they are going to shut you down and/or email you and be like, “Dude, you have got to upgrade”. So it is not truly unlimited, I don’t want you to think you can run a full pledged online business on a $4 a month hosting account. You just can’t do it. So you have got to start looking at higher level options.
Now, the VPS option ranges from super cheap all the way up to real horsepower. So you know, these things are pieces of software so a lot of these companies will have a little throttle where you can say how much RAM you want, how much CPU power you want and you can throttle it up and you pay more, accordingly. So it’s a lot of flexibility there with VPS.
If you are going to go VPS, Bluehost does do VPS and they do a pretty decent job with that. Another company that I have used in the past is called SERVINT.net, (I believe) they are a really good company for VPS and they definitely won’t let you down. They are a little bit pricier than Bluehost but they are very good.
Now, a step up from that would be the “dedicated server”. Now, in most cases, I would imagine that most of my listeners are not going to need a dedicated server. That is where you basically have a whole server dedicated just to you.
Generally, you are not going to need this unless you are pulling down some good traffic and you are probably are going to be pulling some good revenue from that traffic if you are doing things right. So you would be able to pay for a dedicated server without much problem. But unless you are in that situation, you do not really need to look at a dedicated server.
Managed WordPress Hosting
And then lastly, I want to mention “Managed WordPress Hosting”. This is something that is a little bit more of a modern twist on web hosting where they tweak the server in such a way where it is specifically designed for WordPress. Now, the Blog Marketing Academy itself is actually hosted in WP Engine. These guys are a really good company. They do manage Managed WordPress Hosting. And they have got things in there such as the ability to hit one button and create a private staging area where I can play with the site all I want; nobody is going to see it. And then all I got to do is hit one button and it restores the whole thing back to the live environment. That kind of thing used to take me forever.
So it is beautiful, and that is all built right inside of WordPress. They also have things like “restore point” very similar to the way Time Machine works on a Mac where you can restore your site to what it looked like in any particular point in time. All kinds of really convenient things built right into WP Engine! It is almost like having a little ID guy on my team all the time. And that is WP Engine. These guys are a little bit expensive than Bluehost, but you know, it is one of those classic situations that you get what you pay for. They started out at $29 a month, at least as of this recording, but I think, it’s personally worth it. I think this is a really good company. Now, one caveat to a company like WP Engine is that everything that you do does need to be using WordPress. If you want to run a forum or something, it is not going to work unless it works on top of WordPress as a plug-in; everything is on top of WordPress.
So if you have any custom stuff going on, what have you, then you are not going to necessarily be able to do all of it with WP Engine. That is why I also maintain an account at Bluehost. Because the things that I need to have done that require a little bit more flexibility and don’t operate on top of WordPress, I put that stuff over on Bluehost and it works just fine over there.
So that is the basic rundown on How to Choose Hosting for Your Website.
For most of you, I would say go over to Bluehost, grab an account and get started. If you are on HostGator and you are happy with them, fine. Go ahead and stay there. If you are with Godaddy and you are happy with them, fine. Go ahead and stay there. They are personally not one of my favorite companies at all, but I like Bluehost better. But you make that decision for yourself. At the end of the day, there are a ton of web hosts out there and you got to pick the one which makes the most sense for you. You are not stuck with any of them. You can change your mind. When you don’t understand the technical stuff it might seem like a really big deal to move your site from one hosting company to another. But honestly, it is not as bad as you probably think, so go ahead and do your best decision. The companies that I recommend are Bluehost and WP Engine. If you want to go on your own and find a different company; by all means, knock yourself out. Okay?
So, choose a web host, let’s get goin’. In our next episode we are going to talk a little bit about “Selecting a theme for your blog” and moving on from that. Okay?
I’ll see you next time! 😉