On your way to starting a blog?
Then you may wonder what’s the best place to start your blog.
You probably heard about choosing a blog hosting service. And I know that, as a first-time blogger, you might be confused about how hosting and blogging platforms work.
But you don’t need to worry. Once you go over this guide, you’ll be ready to create your own blog from scratch.
You’ll learn about what is a blog host, what blogging platforms are, and most importantly, what’s the difference between free blog hosting and a paid blog hosting service (self-hosted blog). I’ll also give you the best hosting services to check out. In the end, you’ll know how to chose the right web host to successfully run your blog.
Let’s get to it.
What do you need to create your blog?
If you’re new to blogging you might feel overwhelmed by the information about hosting, blogging platforms, and domains.
What is each of them after all? Do you need all of them? Do you need to pay for a hosting service you can create a free blog? It might be confusing at first, I get it.
So you better understand what’s the deal with these tech terms, I’ll try to explain them shortly.
A blog, and a website in general, is made out of three things
- Domain name
- CMS (Content Management System) aka the Blogging platform
I’ve read a quite awesome association explaining the connection between these elements. Your blog is a house. The blog host is the land you build your house on, and the domain name is the house’s address.
What is blog hosting?
Blog hosting is one of the main blog services you need as a blogger.
The blog hosting is where your blog lives. All the content, the images, and your blog overall must be stored on a server. A blogging host service gives you the space to store your blog.
When you register for a hosting service, you get the place to build your blog on. You’ll get access to the backend of the server where you can manage your data, install files, etc.
So, you can’t run a blog without having the blog data stored somewhere.
What is the domain name?
The domain name is the address of your blog. You can buy any domain you’d like if it’s not already taken.
As you probably noticed around the internet, your domain can have different extensions like .com, .net, .co, .org. You’re free to pick any of them (with some exceptions). But it’s best to stick to the .com as it brings more credibility.
Only pick a country related extension if your blog is targeting people in that specific country.
When you register for a blog hosting service, you can also register the domain name through the hosting service provider. But it’s not mandatory to do so. You can get the domain through a name registration service and get the hosting from a web hosting company.
Some web hosting providers will give you a free domain when you register for their services.
What is the blogging platform?
The blogging platform or the CMS (Content Management System) is the place where you’ll be handling your blog.
The hosting service only keeps your files stored. But you also need the blogging platform so you actually have a blog.
The blogging platform gives your blog a face. It’s the place where you design your blog and publish your blog posts. Basically, it’s where you do most of the work.
You have to install the blogging platform on the blog hosting server. That’s why many web hosting services have a one-click WordPress install feature to make it easy for non-tech users to get their blogs running.
When we talk about free hosting, we refer to the free blogging platforms like WordPress.com or Blogger. The platforms that offer you a free blogging space will also offer you free hosting for your content.
But as it happens with most of the free things, it also comes with limitations. Which I’ll cover in the following chapters.
One of the best blogging platforms is WordPress. It’s the most popular blogging platform because it has lots of features, available themes, and a big library of plugins.
When looking into WordPress, mind that there is a huge difference between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org. They are two different things.
We have a post where we went through the best blogging platforms and their features:
Can’t I create a free blog?
And now, you might wonder Can’t I start a free blog and avoid paying for a hosting service?
Yes, there are free blogging platforms where you don’t need to pay for hosting your blog. But it might not be the best idea to jump on starting your blog on a free blogging platform.
One of the reasons why free blog hosting is a no is the unprofessional look. With free hosting you get a subdomain, meaning your blog will have an address like awesomeblog.wordpress.com. Visitors won’t take you seriously.
And, while there are options for free blog hosting with your own domain, other disadvantages that make a free blog a bad idea still remain.
I’ll highlight the differences between a free blog hosting service and a self-hosted blog in the following sections. You can then decide what’s the best choice for your blog.
Free blog hosting
You might’ve heard that you can start a free blog right away and wonder where can you do that. After all, it’ll take some time until you start making money with your blog, so why invest in hosting services when there are free alternatives out there?
You’ll understand why after you take a look over the advantages and disadvantages I highlighted bellow.
- Free blogging platforms are easy to use.
- Don’t need to be technical as you don’t have many options going on.
- The blog is not yours. If the host decides to make changes or delete your account, you have no say in it.
- You have little to no control of your blog.
- You can’t code. Even if you don’t think about coding right now, as your blog gets bigger you’ll need to tweak the code so you add new features to your blog.
- Google won’t like it. Google prioritize paid blogs over free blogs because if you paid for a hosting service to hold your blog, it means you’re serious about business, right?
- Having the branding of your host in your domain name is the death of authority. It’s hard to grow a brand when you have awesomeblog.wordpress.com as the domain.
- It’s hard to monetize your blog. Free blogging hosts don’t usually like affiliate links and may even close your account because of it.
- Your blog will have ads from your free blog hosting provider and you won’t be able to get rid of them.
- The blogging host brand will be visible on your blog.
- You don’t get the best blog design experience. On a free blog, you only have a couple of themes you can choose from. You don’t get to upload your own themes or have someone design the blog for you. Meaning your blog will look similar to a million others.
- When you’re a beginner and just want to test the waters.
- If you want to blog purely out of passion without the aim of making money with your blog.
Paid blog hosting
With a self-hosted blog, you have to pay for a web hosting service.
Yes, it means investing some money in your blog. But if you’re serious about blogging, the investment will be worth it. Even as a beginner blogger, a paid hosting service is the way to go.
And there are a lot of affordable blog hosting services you can choose from.
- You’re in total control. With a self-hosted service, you can manage all the aspects of your blog. Upload your own themes, install plugins, tweak the code.
- You have access to a library with free blog themes and plugins.
- You can monetize your blog freely with any kind of blog monetization.
- Your blog will be free of branding. Meaning you won’t be forced to have the free blog hosting branding on your blog.
- There will be no ads running on your blog from the hosting provider or the blogging platform.
- It’s not free so you’ll have to invest in the beginning. Yet, there are lots of affordable hosting services. Most of them are less than $5/month.
- You need to set up your blog so you might use some technical guidance.
- It can be intimidating for new bloggers with no technical skills. But there’s no need to panic as you can find all the information you need online. And you can also ask the hosting service support for help.
- You, if you want to make money blogging. A paid hosting service comes with no limitations on how to monetize your blog.
- When you’re trying to build a strong brand.
- If you want to be able to customize the way your blog looks like and come up with a personalized design.
Types of hosting services
There are four main types of hosting services.
- Shared hosting – Your blog is hosted on the same server as others and it makes for the cheapest blog hosting solution. The downside is that your blog can be influenced by the other sites you share the server with.
- VPN hosting – With VPN hosting you share the server with other blogs but you get your dedicated space. Your blog won’t crush because of the others on the server.
- Dedicated hosting – You have a dedicated server for your blog, meaning a higher speed for your blog.
- Cloud hosting (VPS Hosting) – This is the ideal hosting type. Your blog doesn’t rely only on a server but on multiple servers. Meaning your blog can never go offline if something happens with one of the servers. It’s also the most expensive hosting service.
For a new blog, you don’t need a costly hosting service. You won’t have a lot of data to be stored and your blog will do just fine with an affordable shared web hosting. When your blog gets bigger, you can upgrade to a better and more stable hosting service. But until then, there’s no need to pay a lot for storage you won’t use.
But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay attention to the blog hosting services you consider. There are blog hosting services that can be tempting because of their low prices, but you’ll get what you pay for.
So don’t jump into choosing a blog host without taking a look over your options. You’ll save yourself the further headache of having to move your blog from one blog hosting service to another.
Best blog hosts
I don’t think there is an ultimate best blog host provider. Some hosting providers are better than others, it’s true. But once you refined to only the big boys, you’ll see that each of them has its advantages and disadvantages.
You need to know what is the purpose of your blog so you chose the best blog host for your specific needs.
For example, will you be uploading lots of images and videos? What’s the traffic you aim for? Do you need a solid customer support team?
I’ll give you the best blog hosting sites for making money blogging.
You see this hosting service recommended everywhere. One of the reasons for that is they have a great commission program for affiliates, which makes bloggers jump on the train because of the opportunity to make money.
Another reason is that it’s one of the best cheap web hosting for WordPress.
Does this mean that it’s overly praised for nothing? Not at all.
This might actually be your choice as a beginner blogger. Why?
- It’s the easiest hosting service you can use as a new blogger without any technical knowledge.
- It’s one of the recommended web hosts by WordPress.
- You can install WordPress on the server with only a couple of clicks.
- You get a free domain name for a year.
- They give free SSL certificate with any purchase.
- Their clients’ service is reliable and they have an expert WordPress support team (although in the last year complaints have started to arise).
- You have to pay if you want your site migrated from somewhere else.
- You need to pay for at least one year, there’s no month by month payment option.
iPage is another affordable blog hosting solution you should consider. Especially if you’ll be using WordPress for your blog.
- You get a free domain with any plan.
- Included website builder.
- With the Essential plan, you can host unlimited domains and you get unlimited disk space.
- One-click installation of WordPress.
- Knowledgeable and fast customer support team.
- You need to pay for an SSL certificate, website security, and backups.
- There’s no monthly billing option, you must pay for at least a year.
Hostgator is a great choice of blog hosting service for small businesses and blogs, especially for WordPress blogs.
- You get a free domain name with the registration.
- Designed for individuals and small businesses, hence it has affordable hosting plans for beginner bloggers.
- One-click installation of WordPress.
- You get $100 in AdWords and $100 in Bing Ads credit.
- You get free SSL certificate.
- Has monthly billing options.
This blog hosting service has one of the best reviews libraries. Their success relies a lot on the way they treat their customers. If you run into issues with your blog, get a ticket and the support team will get back to you in no time.
- It’s one of the web hosting providers recommended by WordPress.
- Amazing customers support.
- The bandwidth available is expressed in page views rather than GB, so you have a clear idea on the space you have to work with.
- They have a special protection system for WordPress users.
- Managed WordPress for all plans.
What to look for in a hosting service for your blog?
- It offers SSL certificates. You need an SSL certificate so the data exchange between the server and your visitors is encrypted. It makes for a great protection against hackers. Also, Google prioritizes websites with SSL.
- Site backup. While you don’t necessarily need site backup from your hosting provider as many CRMs provides tools for backup, it’s safer to also store backups on your blog host server.
- Blog host security. You want to make sure that the blog host you choose for your blog is serious about security. This won’t offer ultimate protection for your blog but it’ll add an extra layer which is highly important.
- Customer support. If issues should arise with your server, you want to know there’re specialists you can turn to for help.
Ready to pick the hosting service for your blog?
Now you should have all the information needed on how to chose a host for your blog.
Before deciding, look through the best blog hosting services to make sure the web hosting you pick is the right choice for your blog.
- Don’t go with a free blog platform. If your aim is to make money blogging, you’ll be limited on the ways you can monetize your blog.
- Look for affordable web hosting services. You don’t need to invest a lot in blog hosting. Start with a cheap plan and upgrade later when your blog starts getting more traffic.
- Compare the perks of each blog hosting service before deciding. You want to make sure the hosting service you chose provides enough space and the right features for your blog.
- If you don’t want to commit to a blog hosting service for a long time, chose a hosting provider that offers monthly payment.
- Check WordPress to see if it’s the right blogging platform for you. It has the most features, themes, and plugins.
Choosing the hosting service is the first step in launching your blog. Once you decide on the service and set up WordPress (or other CMS), you can move forward to upload your first blog post.
For more information on starting a blog, go through our guide: