I’m a huge advocate for and believer in using self-hosted WordPress to run your blog. If you want to look professional and are ever hoping to earn money from your blog, then WordPress.org or Blogger just don’t cut it anymore.
Self-hosted WordPress (also known as WordPress.org) requires 3 main components to work:
- WordPress. org (FREE)- This is the software that you install and download on your web host’s server. Don’t worry, it is easy to set up and many hosts already have it installed for you.
- Web hosting ($3+/month) – Web hosting is essentially that you are paying to host your site and all of its files for you. Depending on the host you choose, pricing can range from $3-$20 a month (or much more, if you have a really big site).
- A domain name – You can either get this through your host or register it on your own. The domain name is essentially the network address for your blog. For example: www.yourdomainname.com.
When you get set up on self-hosted WordPress, your web host will be one of the most important decisions you’ll make. Your host is responsible for keeping your site up, so you want to choose a host that is reputable, quick, and has great customer service.
Here are 5 things to look for in a web host:
- What is their customer service like? The last thing you want to do is buy hosting from a host, encounter a problem (like a site crash), and not being able to get assistance from your host. You can learn more about the customer service by checking out reviews online. Just Google something like “A Small Orange hosting review” and check out what users thought.
- How much bandwidth does each plan have? Bandwidth is the amount of data that your website will be able to transfer. You usually don’t need too much bandwidth, unless you have large files on your site or stream videos. Still, it is something to consider. You’ll be able to check this out on each host’s website.
- How much storage does each plan have? This is something you might want to think about, and varies depending on the size of your site. Do you tend to have lots of images and videos or post a lot of content? You might need more storage then. Usually, storage isn’t too much of a problem unless your site goes viral, but it is something you should look at. You can see the storage for each plan on the host’s website.
- What benefits or features does the host provide? Some hosts offer incentives like a free domain name, or bonuses like advertising credits or extra software that you get if you choose that host. If you are stuck between two hosts, check out the bonuses that they offer and compare the two offers.
- How easy is it to set up WordPress? Some sites, like Bluehost, offer 1-click setup for WordPress, but others might make you manually download and install the software. If you aren’t particularly tech-savvy, you may want to consider the WordPress set-up options that each host offers.
Let’s compare some of the most popular hosts out there.
[disclaim] I currently use A Small Orange to host Fierce Blogging and I seriously recommend them. If you’re looking for a WordPress host that gives you epic value and has great customer service, you might want to check them out. [/disclaim]
Web Hosts I’ve Used
Pricing: Starting at just $2.95/ month
Features: Unlimited domains, 24/7 Email + LiveChat Support, speedy customer service, and easy to navigate.
My Thoughts: This is the host that I currently use to run Fierce Blogging and I absolutely recommend them. Not only is the hosting inexpensive, but the customer service is also incredible. Whenever I have a question, I can pop on the “live chat” feature, type out my question and I’ll get a response back within seconds.
Pricing: Starting at $3.75/ month (+ free domain)
Features: Customized control panel, free access to a library of WordPress themes, speedy customer service, free access to a library of plugins, and a free domain.
My Thoughts: I use IPage for my book blog, and have had nothing but a great experience. Their customer service is very friendly, and they also offer some great bonuses if you sign up, such as access to a library of free WordPress themes and bonus plugins.
Pricing: Starting at $3.49/ month
Features: 24/7 support, 1-click WordPress install, $150+ in offers, speedy customer services, lots of bonuses.
My Thoughts: Bluehost is one of the most reputable hosting providers out there, and has excellent speed, 24/ 7 customer service and some great bonuses if you sign up.
Other Web Hosts
Here are some web hosts that I haven’t personally used, but are very popular and might work for your blog.
Pricing: Starting at $3.95/ month
Features: Free domain name, daily backup, 24/7 WordPress support.
Overview: Siteground is a very reputable WordPress host that is great for new and established bloggers. They offer some great signup incentives, like a free domain name, and have good support.
Pricing: Starting at $29/ month
Features: Staging, live chat, incredibly speed.
Overview: WP Engine is a premium WordPress host that offers prioritizes speed, and is great for larger websites with heavier traffic volumes. If your website has more than 25K visitors a month, you might want to check out WP Engine.
Pricing: Starting at $1.49/ month
Features: Free domain, site backup, free email adresses
Overview: GoDaddy is a domain registrant, and also offers WordPress hosting. If you are on a serious budget, GoDaddy is a pretty good option, despite their “meh” customer service.