The blog hosting industry has expanded massively over the last few years. Where once it was difficult to find good dedicated blog hosting packages, now the hardest part is choosing one option from the large number available.
But that’s what we’ll be helping you do in this article. By the time you’ve finished our guide to choosing the best blog hosting, you’ll be ready to make a final decision on which company to entrust with your website, whether you’re just starting out or looking for a new home for your existing blog.
Just as blogs come in all shapes and sizes, from outlets for personal thoughts and reflections to fully monetized resources, so too does blog hosting.
What is Blog Hosting?
Nearly all blogs launched nowadays use some kind of blogging platform or content publishing software. The days of hand-coded blogs are now firmly in the past.
That means that one of the main requirements of the best blog hosting is that it’s compatible with your choice of blogging software or platform.
Take WordPress for example. By far the most popular blogging application, WordPress has specific server requirements that include:
- PHP 7 or greater.
- MySQL 5.6 or greater OR MariaDB 10.0 or greater.
- The mod_rewrite Apache module.
- HTTPS support.
Thankfully, the best blog hosting providers are fully aware of which software their customers will want to use. Therefore they offer servers configured to meet the needs of WordPress and other popular blogging applications.
Who is Blog Hosting For?
While some types of hosting plans are geared more towards a specific customer, blog hosting attracts a wide range of users.
Both large enterprises, along with small to medium-sized businesses, rely on blog hosting. Blogs offer companies a platform to help their marketing efforts. Blogs also allow companies to answer questions, present information and build their reputation.
For search engine optimization (SEO) purposes, blogs are a constant stream of fresh content for the search engines to index and rank.
Individuals have also taken to blogging as a way to express themselves online. These bloggers, usually hobbyists, write about their daily lives, their interests or their progress towards a goal or achievement.
People starting out with online businesses also turn to blogs, especially those who work in affiliate or internet marketing. Creating a blog makes it quick, and easy, to get a website online and allows them to load that site up with content and affiliate links that could help them make money online.
However, since the needs of these different types of bloggers are so varied there’s, unfortunately, no one size fits all best blogging plan.
Thankfully, that doesn’t mean you can’t find an excellent blog hosting service that matches your needs. In fact, with so many options available, there’s never been a better time to be in the market for this type of hosting.
Pros of Blog Hosting
If you’re looking to start a blog, then there are a number of benefits to working with the best blog hosting providers.
Servers Optimized for Blogging Applications
For starters, the servers from the best blog hosting companies are built specifically to run the common web applications used for blogging. If you go with a hosting provider that does not cater to bloggers, you run the risk of them not understanding even the basic server needs.
Support for Popular Blog Software
Following up on the benefit of the server builds comes support. The best blog hosting providers staff their support teams with individuals who understand the different blogging platforms.
They have both the knowledge and experience to troubleshoot installations, upgrades and other issues that may arise with their customers. Since many bloggers do not have a strong background in design and development this is an important benefit.
Easy Blogging Application Installation
Finally, the best blog hosting providers will include popular blogging applications in their software repository. This means that the site owner is able to easily install the software and configure the database for their blog right from their control panel; all with a just few clicks.
Alternatively, customers can often request that their choice of software is preinstalled during the sign-up process. Take Inmotion Hosting for example. You can see from the list of software that there are many popular blogging platforms to choose from.
Cons of Blog Hosting
Blogs are extremely popular, and their growth in popularity has led to some of the drawbacks when it comes to blog hosting.
Restricted Blogging Software Options
One main issue that those looking for the best blog hosting may run into is lack of support for certain applications. WordPress is the reigning king of blogging applications, so most blog hosting providers cater specifically for this software.
However, what if you want to run Ghost or MODX? If your hosting provider does not have servers that can handle these installations, you may be out of luck.
Luckily, the requirements don’t differ too much, however, you could run into issues. These issues come up more frequently in the need to support an installation or assist with a command line install if your blogging platform isn’t included in the software installation repository.
Lack of Blog Hosting Expertise
Another issue that choosing blog hosting presents is the fact that there are a number of hosting providers who offer a blog focused package. They know this is popular and will help sell plans. However, they don’t understand how the software works and do not provide strong support for these products.
As a result, you find yourself locked into a provider that is unable to help you resolve common issues and are of little help should something go seriously wrong.
Things to Look for When Choosing the Best Blog Hosting Provider
Before you begin your search for the best blog hosting provider, do a bit of research on which blogging application you want to use. Once you know which platform you are going to build your blog with you can start your search.
The reason for this is that the first thing you want to look for in a hosting partner is one that will support your chosen blogging platform. If you decide to use Ghost, but Node v6 is not supported by your hosting plan you are going to run into trouble.
In addition to finding a hosting provider whose servers will support your application, you are going to want to find a provider whose support staff knows your choice of application.
The best blog hosting partner is one that has the people available to help you with any issues that may arise. Look for a provider that can verify they have people on staff who can help.
Feel free to ask to be connected with their support staff and ask a couple of questions. From a brief conversation, you can tell if they know what they are doing or if they will need to scour the support docs to help you.
When doing research, take into consideration the advice given by the hosting platforms themselves. The homepages of the popular blogging software often recommend specific web hosts. Don’t follow their advice blindly, but do use it to help you start your search.
What to Pay Attention to When Choosing a Blog Host
As with any hosting provider, uptime is going to be the most important thing to pay attention to. When looking for the best blog host, nothing less than 99.9% uptime is acceptable.
As an individual blogger, you can be assured that you will lose readers if your site goes down. If you are a business, it is hard to establish a reputation for reliability if your blog is constantly offline. Verify that your provider will maintain this in your service level agreement SLA. Most hosting providers will advertise this. However, if you are unsure, ask to have their uptime statistics verified. Most reputable providers have this on-hand and ready to provide it.
Also, look to see if the host locks you into any specific platform. Blog hosts such as Wix, Blogger and Tumblr are great, but you are forced to use their blogging platform rather than the one of your choosing.
Wix does allow for connections to existing blogs, but this is a redirect to your blog hosted elsewhere.
With the right web host or service, starting a blog can be very straightforward. However, if you choose the wrong hosting provider all the simplicity and joy that the best blogging software offers becomes moot.
Take the time to research what the different providers offer. When doing so, have your goals in mind as well. The best blog hosting plan you can find is one that will not only align with your goals but also help you achieve them.
If you’re just starting out then an entry-level plan should suffice. But always keep one eye on the future and check to be sure that your host will be able to accommodate your blog if your audience grows.
Lastly, verify the statements that the different providers make. Most hosting providers have a strong reputation, however not everyone out there is giving you facts that are 100% true. Make sure that you don’t fall for any marketing hype that could lead to a bad decision. Changing web hosts isn’t impossible but its one less headache you could do without.