While you can use online community sites such as Blogger or WordPress.com for your blog, I recommend you use a WordPress.org self-hosted website. When you want to use the software from WordPress.org for your blog, you need to purchase your own web hosting. There are tons of web hosting companies for you to choose from. Because WordPress is by far the most popular blogging platform on the web, this article focuses heavily on WordPress friendly features. So without further delay, here are my Top 10 Tips for Choosing Web Hosting for Your Blog.
1. Spend Less Time Installing Software
Manually installing WordPress (or any other software) can be a pain. Fortunately, you can now find web hosting companies that offer easy one-click WordPress installation. And, to save even more time, some web host offer pre-installation of the software when you sign up for your hosting plan!
2. Check for Data Center Locations and CDNs
Data center location can also greatly affect your blog’s speed. Ideally, you want your web host’s data center to be located as close to your audience as possible. I recommend you select a web hosting company that has multiple data center locations and allows you to choose which one houses your blog.
Additionally, a content delivery network or CDN can help speed things up with your blog if your audience is scattered around the globe. When you use a content delivery network, your content can be located on different servers around the world. Then, when someone tries to access your blog, the content can be retrieved from a server closer to their area—reducing the time it takes for your blog page to load.
3. Look for Caching Technology for Better Speed
Website speed is definitely one of the most important factors for a successful blog. You want your site to load as fast as possible for your visitors so they don’t lose interest. And a faster performing site can help you get better search engine rankings. A number of WordPress hosts offer their own proprietary caching technologies that can vastly improve your blog page loading times.
4. Get the Right Security Features
Security is another huge consideration for blog hosting since many blogs are targeted by hackers. You definitely want to look for security features that come with your hosting plan such as malware scanning, DDoS mitigation, and proactive monitoring. Also, these days all blogs should be using https. Therefore, you want to make sure your hosting plan includes SSL. I definitely recommend you choose a web host that includes free SSL certificates such as Let’s Encrypt SSL.
5. Look for Automated Backup Features
It’s true that the best way to protect your website is to always have adequate backup copies from which you can restore should there ever be a problem. My recommendation for bloggers is to choose a web hosting plan that not only includes automated daily backups, but also retains your backup copies for at least 30 days. That way, you have many different backup copies you can go back to for restoring purposes. Also, you want to make sure you have the ability to manually create a backup of your blog whenever you need to—for example before you update your themes and plugins.
6. Use Automated Updates for Plugins
Most WordPress hosts now offer automatic updates for your WordPress core. For minor release updates, it’s very convenient to have your software updated automatically. However, you also need to make sure your WordPress plugins are kept up to date. For that, you can actually find some web hosting companies that now offer automatic updating of your WordPress plugins as well as your core WordPress. Because it’s so important to keep your software up to date for security reasons, automatic updates can be a major asset.
7. Make Sure Website Staging is Included
Although website staging isn’t as critical to bloggers as it is for some other website owners, it’s still a great safeguard if you make a lot of changes to your website design or if you utilize a lot of WordPress plugins. With staging, you can test out your changes on a copy of your live site. That way, if anything goes wrong in your testing, your live site blog is not affected.
8. Customer Support is Key
Customer support is always important when choosing a web host no matter what type of website you have. For bloggers, it’s important to have a customer support staff that is very knowledgeable about WordPress. One of the best ways to do that is to choose a Managed WordPress Hosting plan—particularly from a host that focuses completely on WordPress. For non-managed WordPress hosting plans, take a closer look at the features being offered. If there is a huge and distinct emphasis on WordPress, the support team there should be well-versed in WordPress.
You also want to make sure the customer support team is readily available by phone, email, and live chat 24/7.
9. Consider Managed WordPress Hosting
While not all bloggers need to use managed hosting, a premium managed WordPress plan can free up some of your time so you can be more productively creating content for your website rather than handling some of the associated maintenance tasks. And, with a managed WordPress hosting plan, you can get more expert support as these web hosts specialize in WordPress hosting solutions.
10. Cheaper Isn’t Always Better
One last note on choosing your blog’s web hosting, remember that bargain priced hosting plans aren’t always the best choice. You don’t have to spend a fortune on your hosting, but if you’re serious about your blogging, you certainly want a quality web hosting provider. Be careful when you see all of those $5 mo. or less web hosting deals.
Your web hosting is a critical part of a successful blog. Keeping these 10 tips in mind as you search for your hosting will help you find the best web host for your website. Here are some specific blog hosting recommendations.