Before you launch your blog you’ve got a big decision to make, and that’s deciding on the right web hosting service. Sure, you can pick almost any service, and you’ll certainly be able to put a decent blog out there and see your voice is heard on the web. But if you choose incorrectly, you could run into a number of problems down the road that will make your blogging experience less than thrilling. Remember that your web hosting company will inevitably decide whether you deal with unexpected performance lags or overpay for underwhelming service. So before you sign any sort of year-long agreement, consider these five elements you should look for in the web host for your blog.
Depending on the content of your blog, data security may be your most important issue. Successful bloggers create a relationship with their audience, and to keep those readers coming back they need to trust your content. If you find your blog is regularly hacked or used by spammers to steal your readers’ personal information, you won’t have that audience for long. Check out the comments posted about a web hosting service you’re considering to find out if anyone has come up with problems. And definitely read the service terms for that provider, to understand the importance they place on security. Larger companies are not immune to issues, so don’t assume anything.
Second to security in importance is reliability. You’ll want to know that your site will be available to your audience 24-hours a day, and that you won’t be cut off from managing the back end with any frequency. Make sure their service agreement doesn’t grant them too much leeway, and take a look at their overall service record. You should avoid any web hosting service that hasn’t been around for at least a couple of years, and pick a company that commits to a respectable timeframe for dealing with issues.
Performance of your hosting service will also be extremely important. If the host has outdated systems, it will show in the speed of your website. Any web hosting service should provide the specifications of their hardware, and ask around to get an opinion on its quality. Successful blogs run fast, and allow community interaction with very few bugs. If you’re just starting out, you don’t necessarily need the most state-of-the-art system, but it should certainly surpass your minimum requirements.
Unless blogging is a hobby and money is no object, the price of your hosting plan will certainly be something you should consider. Think about how much the blog is worth to you and your business at this point, and leave room for growth. You won’t need all the bells and whistles, especially if you’re a novice blogger. But you don’t want to choose the cheapest service either, as it could lack other necessities. Choosing a price somewhere in the middle will often make the most sense.
Finally, the features offered by a web hosting company will also be an important part of your decision. You won’t need everything under the sun, but there are certain features that must be involved. Make sure your hosting plan comes with unlimited disk space and bandwith, and runs off the latest Apache server. You’ll also want MySQL, Zend, PHP, PostgresSQL and IonCube capabilities, and all of it should run off a server that meets PCI compliance standards. If you can check all of these boxes, everything else is a bonus.