Remedial Blogging: Hostest With The Mostest
Welcome back to remedial blogging, class. Today, we’re going to be talking about blog hosting. I’ve held off on this lesson for some time because, quite frankly, I’m not qualified to teach it. While I’ve had several websites, I’ve never actually had to set up the hosting myself. I’ve been blessed to have a techie husband who took care of it for me. While I could ask him about the experience, I know that his answer will be full of things I don’t understand and my eyes will glaze over within moments…and that doesn’t get us anywhere, does it?
Hosting: verb Paying a mysterious website to make your own website appear magically on the inter-webs.
Finding the right host can be a bit of a headache and hopefully this guide will help a little. There are two main things to look for in a hosting service: reliability (that your site will load quickly at all times without going offline) and how much bandwidth you get every month. The bandwidth question is easy if you’re starting out: you’re not going to use much. Unless a post goes super mega-viral, your traffic should be low enough that any of the standard shared hosting services will work (you know, all those ones that advertise for $10 a month or less).
The truth is, there are a lot of great hosting companies out there and there are some that are not-so-great. While I can’t tell you who’s the absolute best ever, end-all, be-all, I can tell you who I don’t recommend: GoDaddy. I used to always see the anti-GoDaddy people and mentally put them into the class of people who don’t like Wal-Mart or won’t go to McDonalds. I had GoDaddy for years for several sites and didn’t have any problem. Then, I got into link parties and every time I co-hosted, my site went down. Boom.
Was co-hosting driving that much traffic to my site? Nope. The truth is, if you have several links outside your own site, GoDaddy flags you as a spammer (seriously. I was literally flagged as a spammer in some database). They don’t shut down your site. Instead, they lock you out. This happened to me four times. The worst part is, when you contact their customer service, nobody seems capable to help. The standard line is “we don’t do that”, but you can read the interaction on Twitter and see for yourself.
My point here is not to rant. My point is to know the possibilities you want to have on your site and to do your research. The truth about GoDaddy is that it wasn’t just that I kept getting locked out of my site. My load times were also slow and I got notifications from a site monitoring service that my site was down all the time. Overall, it wasn’t working for what I wanted. But what do I know about hosting companies? Who’s good and who’s another GoDaddy?
Finding a new host felt overwhelming and I had serious fish-out-of-water feelings, until I found this site called WhoIsHostingThis. It’s fantastic. It’s nothing more than people posting reviews of all that is good, bad and ugly with various hosts. I was able to read reviews from people who had sites similar to mine and read about their experiences. From that, I easily narrowed my choices down to a host that I must say, I’m very happy with.
Most of the hosting sites are fairly easy to navigate to get your content up and running. However, should you find you want a better guide, go to YouTube. Doing a search for “setting up a site with HubPages” (which is the host I use) gathered more than 3,600 results.
So, hosting, in review:
1. Know what you want to do with your site.
2. Do your research.
3. Use a cheap, shared hosting (until you make it big).