How do you go about hosting a new website? This is another big step in the process of starting a blog. There are so many choices out there, you will probably suffer from information overload once you start researching how and where to host your site. There are 2 main decisions to make:
- How should I host it?: the type of hosting service you need such as home server, shared, dedicated, VPS etc.
- What hosting company to pick to provide that type of hosting service.
The two are obviously related. Depending on the type of hosting you need will drive your hosting company choice. For instance if I decide to go the shared hosting route I’ll research what is a top shared hosting company. The main drivers of the first choice are what kind of money you want to spend and how technical you are.
Selecting a hosting company is the most difficult choice to make of the two. There is so much disinformation out there. Many “reviews” are simply paid advertisements. They are done by re-sellers for a company who give a commission for every customer that they send to a hosting company. So when you Google: “best shared hosting company” be ready to separate the signal from the noise. I find forums are a good place to start vs. websites unless you can tell the website has no vested interest in pushing a particular company. Also, since human nature is that your way of doing something is the best way, you have to do a lot of reading and look for trends. The larger your sample size the better decision you can make.
Recently Endurance International Group (EIG) has purchased a lot of the popular hosting companies. Once this happens there is typically a spike in complaints about the hosting company’s performance dropping. Here’s a good article on the phenomenon and another on the list of EIG owned hosting companies. So try to avoid these hosting companies.
So after a ton of reading and research I answered the 2 questions. First, I decided to go with shared hosting. I chose this for one main reason: it’s the cheapest. 🙂 When your just starting out you don’t need much so it’s likely a good idea to start small. Then if your site takes off you can upgrade to a more expensive but higher performance solution. Since I’m a technical/geeky guy I usually would have started the site on our home server, a Linux box running Ubuntu. However once we leave that’s going away so I decided that I will migrate my existing company site and carryonrtw.com now.
If you only plan on running one website the shared hosting prices are great, typically < $5 per month. Since I’ve built multiple sites and may setup more as a source of income while travelling I decided to look for a beefier version of shared hosting. One that allowed me to have more than one site with more disk space and a larger traffic allowance. For most people though I’d recommend going the < $5 route.
Once I knew what kind of service I required it was time to start sifting through the HUGE number of candidates. As I did this patterns started to emerge, just like when we picked our domain name. The more I looked, the more solutions dropped away and a small set of choices remained. The EIG issues mentioned above eliminated a lot of popular hosting companies. If I hadn’t come across the many reports of issues with them I likely would have ended up with something like bluehost or HostGator. I found the best resource was the webhostingtalk.com forum. Again, the more I read, the more certain companies started to float to the top. I wanted to pick a company that would allow me to increase the performance by simply upgrading the service level if the site started to get popular.
Eventually I ended up choosing the siteground.com GoGeek shared hosting plan. For most people I’d recommend their cheaper StartUp plan to begin. Then you you can migrate up in plan performance as required. Siteground was on the short list of companies that kept popping up with recommendations backed up by real experiences. They also had different packages that would allow the site to grow and they weren’t owned by EIG. Yet. 😯
This raises another point. Your hosting company can and likely will change over time. Possibly not for the best. So don’t get too attached. Keep an eye on your site’s performance stats and be ready to migrate to a different company when necessary. Unfortunately running a site isn’t setting it up and forgetting about it. You have to keep up to date and stay on top of changes in the industry and be ready to adapt.
I hope that provides others thinking of hosting a new website with some helpful info. I’d love to hear what type of hosting, company and plan you chose and why in the comments.