Blogging has become phenomenally popular among netizens, a known fact! And people blog for diverse reasons – some do it for the mere pleasure of writing, or to express their opinions, a few others to share what they know and learned; and a considerable bunch of people out there also do it to earn money. Yes! You can surely earn money by blogging, if you post quality content and have the right posts that people are searching for, eventually gaining significant traffic to your blog. But before all this, you need to launch your blog. And having your own blog can basically be of two types, namely, ‘free-hosting’ and ‘self-hosting’. Free hosting is offered by various blogging platforms like Google’s Blogger.com, WordPress.com, Typepad.com and a few more; here you basically host your blog for free, but don’t have the luxury of your own domain name. You could also opt to go for self-hosting of your blog, this is where you get ultimate control of your blog in terms of your own ‘domain name’ and lot more additional controls to manage and customize your blog.
WordPress, by far is the most popular and sought after free and open source tool for blogging, and content management; based on PHP and MySQL. WordPress gives you an edge over other blogging platforms in terms of customizability and ease of technical maintenance. WordPress is reported to be used by over 16.7% of Alexa Internet’s “top 1 million” websites and manages 22% of all new websites as of August 2011. This shows the popularity of WordPress as the preferred platform for numerous websites. So once you decide on starting your own self-hosted blog with a specific domain name of your choice, based on WordPress platform, you should make it available on the ‘Web’. And for this to happen you need to ‘host’ it on a server that serves your websites to the clients (we users). In fact, how best your website performs managing that heavy traffic, assuming your website becomes popular, depends very much on your choice of the hosting service. A note, before I proceed: These secrets are not, ‘a bolt from the blue!’ so any ‘geeks’ and ‘pros’ reading this – I assume you already know a lot about these secrets and request you to point out for any mistakes or suggestions for improvements. But ‘newbies’ and ‘enthusiasts’, stay with me – you are going to learn the most important stuff, before you ever launch your own self-hosted website. Now, I am going to detail you the 8 secrets to find the best hosting service for WordPress based blogs/websites.
Know your purpose – it is important that you are clear with the purpose of launching your blog; as a lot of considerations like – budget, looking for added features of compatibility and customization with WordPress plugins and updates, domain hosting features, uptime of the webhosting service, data storage and bandwidth capabilities etc., depend on the type of website you intend to launch.
Budget – if you are just a hobbyist or want to try your hands at learning on earning through a website; there are a couple of free hosting services available. A caveat though! – free hosting providers expect you to place some adverts on your home page. If you are comfortable with this you can go for a free self-hosting service. If you want your website or blog completely under your control, you ought to choose a paid self-hosting service. And there are numerous out there, with prices as low as $1 a month on a shared server. If you are aiming high or already have a high-traffic commercial website; there are top-notch hosting services which cost around $5 to $25 a month, and even more if you need a dedicated server.
Domain hosting features – certain webhosting services offer you the facility to host multiple domains with a single account. This will come in handy for you if you want to launch multiple websites of your niche/field managing every site from the same account.
Ease of WordPress installation– this is a very important aspect to look for in a webhost. Choose a webhost provider that has the latest versions of PHP and MySQL. Official WordPress website suggests a PHP version 5.2.4 or greater, and a MySQL version 5.0 or greater; besides Apache or Nginx is suggested by WordPress for seamless functionality of WordPress websites . Do check-in with your webhost service, if the hosting comes with these features on the server. And you or anybody for that matter does not want the WordPress installation to be cumbersome. So opt for the service which provides a one-click installation, which is well available with many webhost service providers these days.
Security – security of the webhost server is of prime importance, so that your website is available all the time without getting vandalized by cyber-attacks. So do checkout the security history and make sure your webhosting service uses the latest updates and plug-ins of WordPress; as most of the attacks on WordPress websites are based on the vulnerabilities of older versions and plug-ins.
Uptime – this is yet another crucial consideration for choosing a webhosting service. Nobody wants to visit your site if it loads and responds slow. Your webhosting service should typically serve at very high speeds running on a high speed internet backbone. Do get to know of the ‘Uptime Statistics’ of your webhosting service before choosing it. The uptime should ideally be >99.9% all the time!
Data storage and bandwidth – find the best hosting for your WordPress site keeping in view the data storage capacity and the bandwidth it offers. For a hobbyist or a learner a webhost server with 25 MB is luxury! For those planning to go big 2000 MB would be fine. Simply put, bandwidth is the amount of data that is transferred from your webhost server to the client. Bandwidth is usually measured in GB (Giga Bytes), and for a typical hobbyist or any of you planning a typical commercial site 1 GB/month will be sufficient enough.
Customer support – last but ain’t the least! Choose a webhosting service that has some credibility in prompt customer support. You do not want to experience frustrating moments unable to solve a technical glitch.
Hope you got the hang of how to find the best hosting service for your WordPress blog/website – enjoy!