Hosting is pretty important if you want to take your blog seriously. But, how do you go about picking a hosting provider?
Today I’m going to talk about what factors I consider when I think about how to pick a hosting provider, and also what you should expect from your hosting provider.
Lots of bloggers write about hosting providers and the pros and cons.
But the way I see it, there are two big problems when taking other people’s advice on hosting, they are:
Everyone goes on and on about customer service, but that really depends on the person on the other end, not the hosting provider. If you get a shitty person, just hang up and call back (or message back) – it almost always works out better.
I’m sure you’ve experienced terrible customer service in real life, and it’s mostly the same when it comes to online companies. You’re still just talking to one representative of that company, there are usually plenty more.
Now, if you get shitty person after shitty person, then maybe there’s another issue there; however, I’ve found that not to be the case for the most part.
To be clear, customer service shouldn’t be the only reason you consider using a hosting provider.Customer service shouldn't be the only reason you consider using a hosting provider. Click To Tweet
Everyone jumps around from provider to provider and recommends their new favourite that they just started using – without truly testing them for an extended period of time.
How can you recommend a service if you’re still in the honeymoon phase of using it? It’s called the honeymoon phase for a reason – of course it’s going to be good!How can you recommend a service if you're still in the honeymoon phase of using it? Click To Tweet
What really matters is what happens after that initial phase; are you still happy with your hosting provider after using them for years?
Here’s what I know; I’ve tried over 30 different providers in the last few years, each for different projects and endeavours, but I always come back to the same one.
Before I tell you which provider it is, here’s why I keep on coming back:
I use Pingdom to monitor all of me sites’ uptime (and to test my page load speed). They send you an email each month with how many outages there were and what your percentage uptime was.
Here’s April 2016’s report:
As you can see, there were only 4 outages totalling only 6 minutes of downtime – giving me a 99.99% uptime!
That’s pretty impressive, you can’t really hope for much more than that.
There’s a reason I used the April screenshot to demonstrate the uptime – and that’s because it’s as good as you can hope for. Not every month is as good as this, but you’ll see from my May report (coming up!) that it’s pretty consistent.
These emails also show you your homepage’s response (load) time. The response time of my page here is definitely not the best.
Let’s take a deeper look into that.
Below, you’ll see the same report from Pingdom, but for May 2016.
You can see right away that the uptime wasn’t as good. There was an extra hour of downtime, and only a 99.85% uptime. As far as I’m concerned, that’s still extremely good, and more than acceptable.
As for speed, you can see that my page load time decreased dramatically in May. I decreased my average load time by over a whole second.
This seems minuscule, but when you take into account that most users will abandon a page that takes longer that 2 seconds to load, every millisecond counts.
The biggest cause of my increase, was me optimizing my page for load time (with the help of Pingdom Speed Test).
My main tactics for this were removing and changing plugins, optimizing code (not recommended for beginners) and altering the design to load quicker.
If you want to decrease your page load times, you can check out this article to find out how to optimize your website for speed.
Your page load speed isn’t 100% dependant on your hosting provider, but it does play a role. I find mine to be very impressive when the website is optimized properly.
This is extremely important to me.
As a web designer, I need to know where everything is in my hosting dashboard, and be able to access everything quickly and easily.
I usually like to do fixed price projects, meaning every second of my time is valuable. I’ve used hosting backends that regularly crash, are unresponsive, or have sections that are just plain hard to find.
If a client already has a hosting provider, I’ll usually try to weather the storm – but more often than not, halfway through a project it gets to be too much and it makes more sense to switch.
For my business, this is why I always use the same hosting provider. For me, that provider has to be BlueHost (uh oh, the cats out of the bag).
Here’s what the BlueHost dashboard looks like;
This is just a section of it, as I can’t fit everything in the screen grab. But, as you can see, everything is grouped into nice categories so it’s easy to find.
The WordPress installer is a big time saver, and makes BlueHost perfect for bloggers and web designers alike.
Everything works exactly how you would expect it to. No broken tools, no infinitely loading pages and everything is there that you could possibly need.
The price of hosting is always a factor to consider. Mostly, you’ll find that basic hosting services cost the same amount. So what does “value” truly mean here?
By value, I mean not what you pay, but what you actually get for that amount.
With BlueHost, you get the following features with their basic package;
These features make BlueHost perfect for anyone wanting to make the move from WordPress.com to WordPress.org (self hosted).
In comparison to other providers, their pricing combined with these features makes BlueHost my best recommendation for new and existing bloggers.
Customer service is the last thing to consider. As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, this is dependant on people and not the company.
That being said, there are a few things I look for in good customer service for hosting providers.
For me, the most important thing is responsiveness. I HATE waiting for help, especially when I’m nervous or worried that I just screwed everything up!
I use BlueHost live chat for customer support, and find that most of the time I’m typing with someone in less than 5 minutes.
I have had negative experiences with some of their representatives. But when that happens, I close the window and restart it – 99% of the time, I’m connected to a new, more helpful person in minutes.
I am yet to have an issue that they haven’t resolved.
No matter where you go for hosting, there are going to be some ups and downs. BlueHost is my tried and tested, least hassle provider that I’ve been using for years and will continue to use for years to come. I recommend them to all my clients and use them for all of my own sites – including Top Shelf Media.
If you want to give BlueHost a shot, click the button below:
Which hosting providers have you had a positive/negative experience with? Comment below!
If you haven’t already, please subscribe to my mailing list using the form below, and follow me on social media using the links in the sidebar.
Send this to friend