Yesterday we talked about the best blogging platform – self-hosted WordPress, that is the WordPress software installed in a web hosting account. So, the next logical question is, who provides the best web hosting service for your blog?
There are thousands of companies that provide LAMP (Linux/Apache/MySQL/PHP) web hosting accounts that will run WordPress. Let’s start by thinking through what factors to consider when evaluating web hosting companies.
Price – Price is usually what people look at first. Most web hosting companies charge $5-$10 for a basic web hosting account, though I’ve seen some as cheap as $2 or $3. When we’re talking about only $5-$10, does the difference matter?
Let’s say you’re planning to post twice a week and spend 1 hour writing each post and another hour engaging with readers in comments and reading other blogs. That’s 4 hours a week x 4 weeks a month = 16 hours a month. If you were to value your time at just $10/hr, you’re investing $160/mo of time into your blog. Do you really want to risk all that by trying to save $5/mo with a cheap web host that may have unreliable servers or poor support? Probably not.
Disk space – Disk space is the next thing people usually look at when searching for a web hosting company. Disk space has become so cheap, that many web hosts now claim to offer “unlimited” space. Beware of this! Do you think they would host The Huffington Post or Mashable for that? Of course not. Every company that claims to offer “unlimited” disk space has it written in the fine print that they can suspend your account if you use “excessive” disk space, processing or bandwidth. The problem is none of them will tell you what “excessive” means. The vast majority of blogs would be fine on any of these accounts, but if your blog really takes off your web hosting account could be suspended.
Personally, I have a hard time recommending any company that claims to offer “unlimited” space. Not only does it put you at risk, but I think the whole concept is disingenuous at best and dishonest at worst.
Support/Service – One of the most important yet overlooked aspect of web hosting service is the service and support. Is your blog going to be accessible all the time or will there be frequent down time? If you have a question, can you email and get quick, helpful reply or call and get a human being who speaks understandable English on the phone?
The challenge is almost every web hosting company claims to provide great support and offers something like a 99.99% uptime guarantee. So how do you know? You can try reading online reviews, but sometimes a handful of unhappy customers can make a company look really bad. The best option, though, is word of mouth. What hosting company do your friends who blog use? How happy are they with them?
As John Saddington (aka Tent Blogger) learned earlier this year (See Blog Host Fail), you can’t underestimate the value of good service and support.
Shared Values – One final thing to consider when selecting a web hosting company for your blog is values. Is this an organization you want to partner with? Do you share their values? Do you want to see them succeed? Do they care if you succeed?
So, what web hosting companies provide an honest, sufficient amount of disk space with great service and support at a fair price? Which would you feel good about supporting and know that they have your best interest in mind?
How about OurChurch.Com?
Sure, I’m biased, but I would put our servers and support staff up against that of any hosting company in the world. And you’ve got an “in” with the CEO. 😉
OurChurch.Com exists to help Christian organizations achieve their mission online. If that’s a value that resonates with you, I hope you’ll join the growing number of Christian organizations that we are helping achieve their mission. If you appreciate the insight and connections you gain though this blog, know that it’s made possible by our paying clients. If you’re already one of them, thank you!
Who provides hosting for your blog or website? Are you happy with them? Which factors weighed most in your decision?
If you haven’t already done so, please complete the State of the Blogging Universe Survey and check out the other posts in this series.