Starting out a personal development blog is exciting, until you get started trying to figure out where it will be hosted. There are a ton of options out there; which one is right for you?
Do you need unlimited storage? Do you need unlimited bandwidth? Do you need 50+ emails? Do you need 100+ FTP accounts?
What do all these terms even mean?
That’s why we’ve put together a list to help you find a host for your personal development blog. This list will help you narrow down your search and find the perfect web hosting that will meet your needs.
1. Know What You Need First
If your personal development blog is going to be mostly articles with a sprinkling of images, you don’t need unlimited storage; most people never even use 500mb in their documents folder on their personal computer.
But, if you are taking high-quality videos and documenting your travels, you might need more storage than the average user. Additionally, you might not expect much traffic, so you won’t need a high bandwidth plan. But, you might expect to be the next Amazon.com; in that case, you will need a TON of bandwidth.
That’s why you need to take inventory of what matters the most to you, and then figure out what you need. You can also use a web host checklist to determine what you need/don’t need before continuing.
2. Find The Package That Meets Your Needs
Now that you know what you need (see #1 above), it’s time to pick a web hosting package that meets your needs. Most of the time, a basic package will take care of you in the beginning.
But, make sure you aren’t just picking the lowest priced package in order to save a few bucks. In most instances, a shared server plan varies about $10/$15 from the basic to the plus plans.
Of course, you probably don’t need a dedicated server for your first personal development blog, so don’t get duped into a high-priced server when it’s not necessary; you can always upgrade later.
3. Read Hosting Reviews
People are quick to give their opinion on anything, and web hosting services are no different. If you want to know how a particular web host performs, read their reviews. If they are a trustworthy and dependable web hosting provider, then they’ll have good reviews for the most part (and over time).
Don’t just read the last five reviews, instead read the:
- Last Five Reviews
- Last Month’s Reviews
- Last Six Month’s Reviews
Look back at their history and find out how they’ve done. If they had a blip three months ago, but rectified everything, then there’s not much to worry about. But, if they didn’t manage that blip so well, then they may not be the best option for you. Also, check local business listings
4. Don’t Let The Price Scare You
It’s easy to let the price of the hosting package affect your decision. When you are starting out, getting by without spending a lot makes sense. But, if you think you are going to be popular (and you should) or you think you’ll get a lot of traffic to your website (you should), then choosing the lowest price option is probably not for you.
Generally speaking, the lower the pricing, the less you get in terms of quality, storage, and reliability. If your visitors have a hard time visiting your website because it is slow (server response time) or down (unreliable hosting provider), you’ll end up losing visitors and money.
Sometimes it takes money to make money.
5. Know The Terms Of Service
It’s pretty easy for anyone to skip over this part. There is a ton of “mumbo-jumbo, lawyer-speak” included in the Terms of Service.
But, this is where you can find out things like:
- What You Own
- What They Own
- Billing Information
- Refund Policies
- Cancellation Policies
- Uptime Guarantees
- Agreement Changes
- Limitations Of Liability
The Terms of Service is a treasure trove of information; it just requires a LOT of reading. If you don’t want to be caught off guard, read the Terms of Service. You might be agreeing to pay the balance in full for one year even if you don’t like the service.
If you don’t like nasty surprises, take the 10 minutes it takes to read through is (or at least, most of it).
6. Contact Customer Support For A Test
When looking for a new web host, you should test their customer support. No, you don’t have to have an account with them, but this will let you know if they are nice, courteous, helpful, etc.
Too many times, you’ll find out how poor a company’s customer support is after a problem has
happened. If you don’t want to find out the hard way, give them a ring. Find their customer support hotline and just ask some basic questions.
Or, find their online resolution contact form and send them a few questions. See how fast they respond and what type of response they give you.
7. Do They Offer Backup Support?
Unfortunately, equipment will fail. And, there is chance that your website might be involved. So, while you are asking them questions, find out what their backup solutions are. Do they have instant backups from additional servers?
Do they have a 24-hour wait time for all backups? Do they have any type of backup at all or do they expect you to maintain all the backups? If you aren’t comfortable with their responses, then you should probably consider a different hosting provider.
8. Do They Offer Any Type Of Security?
When starting out, most people end up on a shared hosting platform. While the pricing is great, the security generally isn’t. So, what do they offer you in the form of active security? Do they do anything to make sure that your data is safe even when there is an “event”?
What about Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)? Is this offered by them for free, or do you have to pay for it, or is it even available? If you are processing or storing customer information, then this is a MUST HAVE.
Remember, all websites are susceptible to being hacked. Again, if you aren’t comfortable with their responses, then look elsewhere.
9. Don’t Jump On The Pretty, New Bandwagon
And finally, you don’t have to use them because they have an awesome new website. Don’t be fooled by the “glitz and glamour”.
Look at the metrics, the specs, do they meet your needs, how have they been
reviewed? If they are new, they probably don’t have too many reviews, so you’ll be on your own. Instead, you should probably stick to the web hosting providers that have a good following; they’ve proven themselves.
As you can see, it’s not hard to figure out what you need when it comes to a web hosting service for your personal development blog. Just because the “price is right” doesn’t mean that it is right for you. You might up end up needing to pay more; don’t limit yourself in the beginning.
Too many blogs across multiple niches skimp on their services and end up paying in the form of visitors and profits. Picking the right web hosting provider should not be the death of you, but it does take a little planning.
Plan now or plan to fail.