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After blogging for awhile, here are the things I believe to be the most important to consider when choosing a web host.
- Tech Support
- Automatic Backups
- Multiple add-on domains
- Money-back guarantee
Most of us will look at cost first when choosing a web host. Picking the cheapest plan out there isn’t always the best idea. Take a close look at what each host provides to make sure you are getting all of the features you need.
One thing to keep in mind is that many providers will offer a low price for your first year, with a substantial increase in price for renewals so be sure to look at what they charge for second and subsequent years.
Most new sites can go with the shared hosting plans which are more affordable and simple for beginners to use. Shared hosting refers to a platform where many websites reside on one server. It’s more economical because the cost of server maintenance is shared with many customers.
Before picking a host check into their reputation for customer support. If your site goes down you are going to want to be able to get in contact with them quickly and speak to someone who can tell you what is wrong and (more importantly!) how to fix it.
Do they offer 24/7 support with various ways to contact to them (live chat, toll free phone, email)? For example, I wrote this article in the evening hours. I checked the site for a popular web host and was able to find a phone number for 24/7 assistance. However, their live chat was offline at that time. At the same time I checked Bluehost and HostGator, and their live chat was available. If 24/7 chat is important to you look around until you find someone who provides that. I usually prefer using live chat vs. a phone call or email.
Do some research to see what their current customers are saying. Do a web search for them, but don’t forget to check Twitter, Facebook or other social media to help you get a good picture of what their customers are saying about their customer service.
There are several factors that can cause your site to crash – hacker attacks, viral traffic, server issues. Check to make sure the hosting provider you are considering conducts regular backups so you won’t have anything to worry about.
Another thing to ask the provider is if you will be able to quickly and easily restore your site with a one-click restore or if you will have to wait for their customer support to do this for you.
Multiple Domain Hosting and Subdomains
If you think you may want more than one site in the future, you should check to see if you can have multiple domains or subdomains hosted on your account. Some of the cheaper packages only allow for one site. For a slightly higher charge you can usually find a plan that will allow you to run multiple sites.
This one hits close to home for me! When I started blogging I didn’t have a clue how to choose a blog host. I researched the options and decided to go with what seemed to be a popular host for some bloggers. After a little bit of difficulty I was able to get my site up and running but I didn’t seem to be able to get the support that I needed as a complete novice.
I decided that maybe I really wasn’t ready for blogging after all and asked for (and received) a refund of my money. Many web hosts will refund your money within 30-45 days if you aren’t satisfied, so be sure to check on this before you make your decision.
This was kind of a setback for me but after a few months I decided I was ready to try blogging again. This time I did more research and decided to give HostGator a try. As they say – “Webhosting Made Easy and Affordable” with a “99.9% uptime guarantee, 45 day money back guarantee, and best of all 24/7/365 technical support.”
It was incredibly easy to get my WordPress website up and going using their one-click installation! I have had a couple of questions for them since I have signed up, and their customer service department has always been there to help me right away. When you sign up with HostGator, you can tell them what your needs are and they will give you recommendations on what plan to purchase.
They offer 4500 free website templates with a convenient drag and drop building experience , or you can very easily use WordPress, Joomla, or other CMS platforms. They also have a ton of video tutorials if you find you need more information.
My story gives you an example of why it’s important to do your research to find the right web host for you. If you’re looking for a web host that is affordable and easy for new bloggers to get started with, I recommend choosing HostGator for your needs.
If you have a blog or website, what host did you go with and what were the deciding factors in that decision?