When it comes to picking a web host for your blog, the options are endless. Some are cheap, some are super expensive and all claim to be amazing, so how do you know which host is right for you and your blog?
Before we dive in, you might be wondering what the heck hosting is, or why you need is when there are perfectly good free blogging platforms out there.
What is Hosting? Why Do I Need It
First off, hosting is sort of like your home on the internet. Think about it like rent—just like you’d pay rent for your apartment so you can have a place to live, your blog needs a place to live. Paying for hosting is sort of like paying rent to the internet for letting your blog live there. And, as long as you’re paying for your hosting, that site and all of it’s content is owned by you. This is a huge reason that Jess and I are always telling you guys it’s best to switch to self-hosted WordPress (or WordPress.org-no, that doesn’t mean your site has to end in .org!).
If you’re thinking, who cares, I’ll host my blog on WordPress.com or worse, Blogger, for free, I’m going to suggest you think twice! Yes, those platforms are free, but very limiting to what you can do. WordPress.com does not allow for custom designs, plugins and makes monetizing your content VERY difficult. Blogger is very much the same. Both are hosted by bigger companies, aka, you don’t own your content—they do! If they decided to close down those programs tomorrow, all of your hard work could be instantly deleted for good with no questions asked. I’ve seen it happen before and it’s best to just avoid it. If you’re not sure whether or not you really want to commit to blogging and want to do the free route, then I suggest WordPress.com over any other platform as it makes the transition to self-hosted WordPress easier than other platforms.
So, final point—if you want to monetize and turn your hobby into a side hustle or a business, you absolutely need self-hosted WordPress.
Which Host Do You Recommend?
Now, back to hosting! You know you need it, but where to start? When I launched my first blog 8 years ago (it was a food blog then), I did a lot of research. Blogging was new, I didn’t know anyone who did it and there wasn’t nearly as much information out there on it as there is today. I finally did come across some sites that ranked a bunch of different hosting companies. Based on cost, reliability and overall reviews, I ended up settling with Bluehost, and 8 years later, I’m still happy with my decision.
If you’ve talked to other bloggers, this might not be the first time you’re hearing of Bluehost! When I was designing and developing sites, this was by far the top choice of hosts for my clients and for good reason. It’s affordable and reliable—perfect for those of us who are solopreneurs or just starting out and don’t have a ton of cash to dedicate to our hobby or small business.
A few other reasons to choose Bluehost:
- affordable! you can get hosting for under $4/month— that’s less than $49/year!
- Free 24/7 support via Live Chat & phone
- Free domain name with purchase
- 1-click install for WordPress (even my mom could figure this out!)
- Money-back guarantee, just in case it doesn’t live up to your expectations
Jess and I have both personally had a wonderful experience with Bluehost (sidenote, Blogging 4 Keeps is hosted here!). It’s pretty cool to think that a $4/month investment has turned into both of our full-time jobs—not a bad ROI, right?! We’ve worked out a sweet deal with Bluehost and when you sign up with our link, you get the super low rate of $3.95/month for hosting (it’s usually $7.99/month) AND a free domain name!
At some point, you may outgrow Bluehost’s basic plan, but I’d say that’s a good thing. If your site is getting so much traffic that you need more server space, then upgrading to a Cloud hosting, a VPS (virtual private server) or managed WordPress hosting in the future is always a possibility! Bluehost also provides a lot of these services and makes the transition really easy! And, if your site is growing at that pace, that likely means your income is growing too and paying extra for those services will seem like a drop in the bucket!
If you’ve been holding off on launching your dream blog or website because you’re not sure where to start or you thought hosting would cost you an arm or leg, hopefully this post cleared some things up for you! And, if you’re ready to dive in, but nervous about actually setting up your WordPress blog, we have a handy tutorial that will walk you through it step-by-step making it super easy and seamless!
What are you waiting for? There’s no time like the present (and before the 4th quarter shopping surge) to launch your blog and share what you have to say with the world! If you have any questions on hosting or getting started, leave them below! We’re happy to answer and help out however we can!
P.S. If you haven’t joined our fast-growing Facebook Group, BFK BFFS, we invite you to now. It’s made up of amazing bloggers from all over the world who are encouraging and motivating each other to follow their passions while sharing their own personal tips and tricks they’ve picked up along the way, we know you’ll love it!