In a previous article, I gave a few tips on how to find and register a domain name. The next step to setting up your own blog is to find a good hosting plan.
People are sometimes confused about what hosting is. Many think the hosting is the domain name. It’s not. A domain name is the “address” of your site (ie. http://www.DomainName.com). A hosting plan is where the actual content of your site will reside online.
Think about it as a hard drive. The hosting company provides a hard drive where your website will be stored and accessible to everyone thanks to the magics of the Internet.
There are tons of information online on how to find a hosting plan and I’m certainly not going to try to reinvent the wheel. I’ve been working with the same host for about 3 years now and I couldn’t be more satisfied with them, so I might be a little partial here…
What to Look For in A Host
Price – if you’re just starting your blog, you certainly don’t want to spend $150/month in a hosting plan. I’ve been blogging for a few years and I own several websites that generate some nice income, but there is no way I’m going to spend that much money on hosting.
Service – what’s included in the price? How much disk space do I get? How much bandwidth? How many domain names can I install on one hosting account? How many databases am I entitled to? How many email addresses can I set up? Does it provide one-click install for blogs (very important)?
Support – is it easy to get in touch with customer support? Are they fast to respond? Support is something you may not be able to rate until you become a client and actually have to deal with the customer support. Just ask around in forums to get a quick idea of what people think of a potential host’s customer support.
Reliability – how reliable is the hosting offered? Again, ask around. If they are down half of the time, that might not be worth your money. Serious hosts guarantee you at least 99% of uptime. That means your website is going to be online 99% of the time.
Respectability – how reputable is the hosting company? Hosting company can offer very cheap plans but if they are out of business by the end of the month, you’ll end up losing time, money and efforts. Just like for domain registrars, I like to work with serious and established hosting companies. Safety first!
As I said above, I am completely partial to DreamHost (affiliate link). A friend of mine recommended I use them a few years ago and I have been a loyal client ever since. I like DreamHost for several reasons:
- They are cheap: it costs me about $120/year
- I have pretty much “unlimited everything” (emails, domains, databases, bandwidth, etc…)
- The customer support is very fast and helpful
- They are a large company and I know they’re not going bankrupt anytime soon
- My websites are up over 99% of the time (they claim 100% uptime but I don’t believe them)
- They provide “one-click installs”, which allows you to easily set up blogs
- I can host unlimited websites on one hosting plan (that’s a great plus!)
They’re obviously not the only hosting companies out there but they are the one I use and recommend to every one because I know they offer a high quality of service.
If you’re looking for a reliable and inexpensive hosting plan for your blog (or website), make sure you check out DreamHost.
Once you have found a good domain name and a reliable hosting company, the next step will be to set up your own blog.