How to Choose the Best Blog Hosting for Your Blog

blog hosting, web hostYesterday 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.

5) What’s the Best Blogging Platform? <– State of the Blogging Universe Series -> 7) The Best Blogging Tips

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, elder of CypressMeadows.org, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck and add him to your circles at Google+ as +Paul Steinbrueck.

12 Responses to “How to Choose the Best Blog Hosting for Your Blog”

  1. Paul, we've been using WordPress.com for our church blog for about two years and are very happy with it.

    However, WordPress.com does not allow plugins. The one plugin we would really like to have is the WordPress ESV Plugin.

    There may be other benefits of a self-hosted site, but I've yet to be convinced about this. I'm not overly concerned about the cost of making a change-over, and I would do so if it wasn't too difficult and it could happend seamlessly to our readers. Also, we would not change to a self-hosted site if the new site had advertisements.

    So do you think it makes sense for us to migrate to a self-hosted site? Would you email me about this?

    • PaulSteinbrueck Dec 14, 2011 at 12:32 pm

      Hi Don, I do think it makes sense for you to move to self-hosted WordPress. It's not very difficult to migrate from WordPress.com because the data structure is exactly the same. You'd be able to use any plugins you like, and you'd begin attracting links and traffic to your domain name rather than wordpress.com

      I'll send you an email.

      • thanks, Paul. I await your email re recommendation to migrating to WordPress.org.

        • PaulSteinbrueck Dec 20, 2011 at 2:35 pm

          Don, the email is on it's way. For others who might be interested, here are the steps for migrating from WordPress.com to self-hosted WordPress:

          1) Install WordPress in your hosting account using WordPress's "famous 5 Minute Installation" http://codex.wordpress.org/Installing_WordPress

          2) Install the theme you want to use in your self-hosted WordPress blog

          3) Go into your WordPress.com admin and under the "Tools" menu select "Export" (export all content)

          4) Go into your self-hosted wordpress admin and under the "Tools" menu select "Import"

          5) The last step is to modify the DNS settings for blog.hillsbiblechurch.org so that instead of pointing to the WordPress.com site they point to your own account

  2. Currently I'm using BlueHost for my WordPress hosting, however, I have a test site set up on my church hosting account which is with OurChurch.com and I have to say that the speed of the OurChurch servers vs. the BlueHost servers just blows me away. I will probably end up moving my WordPress site over to OurChurch. Which hosting plan would you recommend for just hosting the blog and not doing a full blown website?

    • PaulSteinbrueck Dec 15, 2011 at 9:47 am

      Sele, it's great to hear you report you're seeing better load times from OurChurch.Com than your other host. We moved to all new servers a little over a year ago and they are lightning fast! A Bronze account should be fine for you, unless you plan to upload a bunch of video into your account in which case you'd probably need Silver or Gold. If you have any other questions, let me know.

  3. Thanks, I usually embed the videos from other sites, so the bronze will probably work out fine. I'll look into getting it moved over. The servers certainly do respond well on my site hosted with you right now. Thanks again

  4. As a Christian web design, hosting, and search marketing company, your staff is passionate about cutting edge Internet technology. Not only are you constantly reading news, articles, and other blogs, but every day you get to help thousands of Christian organizations uses the web. Plus you’re always experimenting with new ideas and developing new services. I am so impressed to read your blog. Really thanks dude for your valuable information….

    • PaulSteinbrueck Apr 18, 2013 at 11:31 am

      Thanks for reading the post. In the future, please post your comments with your name rather than targeted keywords, so I know your comment is genuine and not simply a link building campaign.

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