Knowing where to start a blog means balancing price with benefits
Where to start a blog? The question is more important than you might think and will set your website up for success or failure.
The web hosting platform you choose will determine your site speed, which is hugely important, as well as how often your blog crashes…which hopefully will never happen.
In this video, I’m reviewing the seven best web hosting platforms for new bloggers to help you decide. I’ll also reveal the best blog platform to use giving you complete control over your site.
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Why is a Web Host so Important?
One of the biggest questions about starting a blog that we haven’t covered yet on the channel is where to get your website. It’s actually one of the most important two questions you’ll ask; what web hosting platform to use and what content management system.
First you have to figure out what web-hosting platform you’re going to be using. This is the company that stores your website on it’s servers, that computer hardware, and then delivers it through the internet every time you get a visitor. Obviously this is hugely important because you need a reliable web host that is going to keep your blog up and make it as fast as possible.
My Experience with Web Hosting Platforms
When I started my first blog in 2010, really just a few pages for my freelance equity analyst research, I started it on GoDaddy. We’ve all seen the commercials, back then it was the GoDaddy girls but the web host spends more on advertising than any other so it’s usually the first new bloggers think of.
GoDaddy was OK, had great customer service but the platform didn’t really give me the control I wanted in designing the blog. So when I started three more blogs in 2014, I did a little more research on web hosts. This time, I started the new blogs on Blue Host. I got that same solid customer service I got with GoDaddy but also full control over designing the sites and some other great features we’ll talk about.
Since then, I’ve also tried Site Ground and Big Scoots for web hosting. I’ll share my experience with both of those but I want to get to our web host review. I’m going to walk you through the costs, features, pros and cons for each of the most popular web hosting sites to help you get started right.
How Blog Hosting Works
When you go to start your blog, you’ll either choose shared hosting or dedicated servers for your blog. Shared hosting means the web host puts multiple blogs on the same server, that computer storage, where dedicated servers means your blog gets its own server. Obviously shared hosting is much, much cheaper and works for almost all new bloggers.
But this is where it becomes hugely important to pick the right web host. The wrong web hosting platform will put way too many sites on a single server, cramming as many as possible in there to save money. The problem here is that’s going to slow down your site and your blog could crash if any of the websites on the server gets a big spike in traffic.
Web Hosting Comparison
So we’ll look at the seven most popular web hosts, features and pricing here. I’ll start off with some of the best web hosting for new bloggers then review the platforms for bigger blogs and ecommerce sites.
Best Web Host for New Bloggers
Blue host wins in our review for best web host platform for new bloggers on its lower cost and ease of use. The web host has integrated WordPress into a one-click solution recently so you don’t even have to install it. You can literally have your blog online within five minutes and with some of the best features in hosting.
Normally, Blue Host starts at $3.95 a month for its basic plan. That includes all the storage space you need for one blog, email accounts and even $50 in marketing offers on Google Adwords. For those starting multiple websites at once, the plus-package let’s you create and host unlimited sites on your account and includes more free advertising.
As an affiliate of Blue Host and a influencer here on YouTube, I was able to negotiate a special deal on hosting. Using the link below, you’ll be able to get web hosting for less than $3 a month and still get all the features of that basic plan.
Get this special deal, Get Started on Blue Host for just $2.99 a Month
Using GoDaddy for Web Hosting
GoDaddy is the biggest name in WordPress hosting, like I said, it’s where I started and they really do have excellent customer service. I can still remember calling in at 11pm on a Thursday, that first night trying to set up my blog. I am the least techie kind of person you’ll meet but GoDaddy support was able to talk me through setting up the website.
Their basic plan is a little more expensive than that special offer from Blue Host and you don’t get quite the bandwith. You get more power on the premium levels but they limit how many websites you can have on your account.
My biggest problem with GoDaddy, the reason I switched to Blue Host for my new blogs, was I didn’t feel like I had as much control designing the sites with GoDaddy. The web host uses a unique drag-and-drop website builder that maybe makes it easier for new bloggers but I felt like it also limits you on what you can do. It’s more of a template website so you have less freedom to go outside that template.
HostGator Review for Web Hosting
Another popular choice in web hosting is HostGator.com, a Houston-based company started in 2002. Prices start out higher than any other hosting platform but you get a little more in Adwords credit. The platform offers a little more storage but since storage isn’t really an issue with GoDaddy or Blue Host, I never really felt like HostGator offered anything special to make up for the cost.
Best Web Hosting for Large Blogs
There comes a time when you outgrow the beginner web hosts. I know lots of bloggers that stick with platforms like Blue Host, GoDaddy and HostGator for years but there usually comes a point when you need some premium features. It’s usually when you reach fifty thousand visitors a month or maybe around five years after starting your blog.
For me, that meant spending a few years saving money with Blue Host but then switching to Site Ground and now BigScoots for hosting. I still have a few smaller blogs on Blue Host and recommend it to all new bloggers.
I switched to SiteGround initially because I heard it put less websites on each server, so each site would be served faster across the internet. The prices are reasonable and the platform offers a little more storage space than you get on some of the starter web hosts.
The problem I ran into with SiteGround, and this was a big one, was that they limit the number of executions you can get on your site each month. These are like how many times different files and content are delivered through the hosting. The problem here is that you can have huge spikes in these several times a month, anytime a bot hits your blog or spammers look around the site. When you reach your limit, SiteGround just shuts down your website.
Even if you take action to limit bots crawling your site, this can be a real pain. I was getting warnings from SiteGround just about every month that I had reached my execution limit and the site would be shut for the rest of the month.
I got fed up with it and finally switched my high-traffic websites over to BigScoots which wins best web hosting for large sites. The basic plan on BigScoots doesn’t offer quite the bandwith or other starter features you get with Blue Host but the power you get on the Turbo Diesel plan is the best deal you can get for higher-traffic blogs.
BigScoots offers great customer and technical service but the real power comes in its enterprise-grade SSD servers which gives your blog better performance and reliability compared to other hosts.
So that’s five web hosts for bloggers and a plan that will work for 99% of you out there. I’d start with Blue Host and then maybe think about switching to BigScoots after five years or once you reach 50,000 visitors a month.
Best Web Hosts for ECommerce Sites
Now I’ve got two more web hosts to review but these are going to be mostly for ecommerce sites. We’ll look at Wix and Shopify which are like a combination of your website hosting and the content management system. We’ll review other content platforms like WordPress and Blogger.com next but if you plan on creating an ecommerce site, you can use Wix or Shopify to handle your hosting and CMS.
When I say ecommerce site, what I’m talking about here is a website specifically designed like an online store and to sell products directly from the site. You might add a blog page to the site but the main purpose here is to feature products in a storefront.
For this, you really do need to go with a specialized platform like Shopify or Wix. Here you can see the point-of-sale function on Shopify which really lays out everything in a way that’s easy to shop. Using Shopify comes with some must-have ecommerce features but it also comes at a cost. The basic plan starts at $29 a month but you get direct selling from your site, the ability to take credit card payments and no transaction fees. You also get the ability to offer discount codes and other ecommerce features.
Another popular ecommerce and website builder Wix.com also uses the drag and drop function similar to GoDaddy and even has a free option to get started.
The problem with the free option is your blog will show ads controlled by Wix and you won’t actually own your site. Beyond that, the pricing levels are a little higher than we saw in web hosting but less than the ecommerce options on Shopify. You get more in ad vouchers with Wix but storage space is limited and I feel like you get fewer features that you need for an online store.
Where to Start a Blog, WordPress vs Blogger
Just as important as choosing a web hosting platform is the content management system or CMS. This is like the canvas on top of which you build your blog; how you create, organize and publish your content. A CMS allows you to manage a blog without being a computer programmer.
By far the most popular CMS is WordPress which is used on 39% or about four-in-ten managed blogs and another 10% of the free blogs. Here like with Wix, you can use WordPress to set up a free blog but you won’t have control over the ads and the site won’t really be yours. Since you can install WordPress free with most shared web hosting, it’s a no-brainer to choose the premium version.
There are a few other platforms that are popular like Drupal, blogger.com and joomla. Because they’re not as popular as WordPress though, you’ll be more limited on what plugins you’ll find and the functionality. Deciding whether to use WordPress or not might seem like a question that needs answered but it’s really a no-brainer this one.
I’ve got a five-video series on starting and growing a blog on the channel as well as a free checklist you can follow. It’s going to walk you through everything from picking a topic, planning what articles to write and the income streams I use to make money blogging. Click through the link here to get that Build-a-Blog series and get started today!