This guest post is by Peter Pollock, someone I was priviledged to meet at Type-A-Parent Blog Conference this summer. Web host, web designer and more, I knew he’d be perfect for explaining to you guys what to look for when shopping for a web host. You know how I’m always harping on about self-hosted blogs helping your SEO and giving you more control? Here are some tips for how to choose your web hosting company. Follow Peter on Twitter, leave a comment or visit his website if you have any further questions.
Choosing a web host is as personal and individual a decision as buying a car, choosing a color of lipstick or even picking a brand of toilet paper.
When Ang asked if I’d like to write a guest post for her on How to Choose a Web Host, I jumped at the chance… but now, sitting here trying to come up with some intelligent words of wisdom on the subject, it’s a little harder than I first thought.
I should probably throw in a disclaimer here and say that I run a web hosting business, so there’s a part of me that’s screaming to tell you the way to choose is to just come to us. Problem solved.
HOWEVER, that’s not what I’m writing this for.
You see, everyone’s needs and situations are different.
- Some people run lots of blogs while others only run one
- Some people want support for their blogging platform (which should always be WordPress in my not very humble opinion 😉 )
- Some people prefer telephone support over email or online chat.
- For some, the price is the key
- For others, going with a ‘big name’ brand is essential.
- Some people want cast-iron uptime guarantees
- And some just want someone to do it all for them so they can just get on with doing what they love best… Blogging!
So how do you go about choosing a host?
I find it best to use a set of rules that my wife and I always use when making big purchases (even though a blog host isn’t THAT big of a purchase).
It goes like this:
- Make a list of your requirements – the things you can’t do without
- Ask friends for their input and their experience with the different choices available
- Go window shopping and narrow it down to a few possibilities that meet your requirements
- Step back for a while and reassess whether what you thought were your requirements really are the most important things to you.
- Do a little research, look for reviews etc of what it is you’re considering.
- Jump in!
So let’s break it down:
1) Take a look at the first list I made. Which of those things are absolute requirements for you?
2) You probably know a lot of people who have hosting already. Who do they recommend? Check out this post by @tentblogger, who makes some great recommendations: http://tentblogger.com/blog-hosting/
3) Look around, see what you can find. Remember, if they don’t say they’ll do it, then they probably won’t. For example, most hosts won’t support your blogging platform so unless they specifically say they will, it’s a safe bet that they won’t.
4) Now you’ve seen what’s available, what are your REAL requirements, not just your wants in an ideal world?
5) There are reviews of web hosts all over the place. Check them out, see what other people are saying.
6) Go for it. Pick a host, purchase a plan from them and have fun!
It really is as easy as that. And don’t forget, if you feel you’ve made the wrong choice, you can switch host at any time and most hosts will help you migrate your site to their server.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments or email me through my website (peterpollock.com). I promise I’ll give impartial advice… I just want to help you find the right host for you