Whether you're just starting out or building your own blog network, you need to find quality hosting that gives you the best value.
Some things to check include:
- Reliability - Servers can crash and if your files are on that server your website disappears. Most hosting providers have redundant servers that mirror each other so if one goes down the other will still have your website available. You can also check for an uptime guarantee. If they're dependable, they should guarantee at least 95% uptime.
- Support - When something goes wrong, who can you contact? Do they have 24/7 free support? Some may offer support via phone, while most use a chat feature. Many web hosts outsource their support function overseas. That's great when you need help after local business hours, but it can sometimes be difficult to understand an agent who is not a native speaker.
- Backup - Check how often they backup and how difficult it is to restore your website.
- Platform - Check whether they support your type of website, for example WordPress files. Most do, but not all.
- Shared hosting - It's less expensive, but if there is trouble with one of the other sites on the server it can affect all the sites. Another option is a Virtual Private Server (VPS) which is a higher quality web server with faster response time, however be prepared to pay more, lots more. Many VPS start at $40 per month.
- Space for your files - Most offer more than enough space for a small- to medium-sized website.
- Bandwidth - This is the amount of data that can be carried from one point to another. Some hosts limit the amount of bandwidth your website can use in a month. If you exceed it, they temporarily shut down your site. Unlimited bandwidth is a better choice if you will have many visitors, however it generally costs a bit more.
- What is included - Some hosting companies give you just that, hosting. If you want email too, you pay extra. Some will include a free domain name, but make sure you can keep it if you decide to move your website later.
- Options as you grow - As your website grows you may need more services or space, so find out if they can scale with you.
- Exit strategy - If you decide to move to another host sometime in the future, how difficult will that be?
For me, I want unlimited space and unlimited bandwidth. Technology has come down so far in price, there is no reason not to have unlimited. I also expect the full monty - space, bandwidth, cPanel, email, support and one-click WordPress installation.
I found one host that meets all my criteria and then some. I've been with them for several years and have multiple websites hosted on their servers. If you want to use the same host, click here. That is an affiliate link, which means if you buy their hosting I will get a small commission however that doesn't affect the price you pay at all.