Web hosting & moving to a self hosted blog

When I first started my blog five years back, I did not have a clue about web hosting or even how to use the WordPress hosting formats. I had to learn it all by myself starting with the basics. Luckily I do have a few computer qualifications so it wasn’t too difficult to get my head around.

WordPress is a great free platform for bloggers to start out on, but it can be limiting when your blog grows and you feel you want a little more control. You can stick with WordPress and purchase their rather expensive business plans which pretty much give you full control! Or you can consider going self hosted.

So what is web hosting? Or self hosting? Well going self hosted in a nutshell means transferring your blog to another web host which then gives you full control of features that were previously limited. Such as fonts, JavaScript giveaways and most importantly the plug ins; of which there are hundreds if not thousands. Plug-ins can add extra features and enhancements to a blog and are so easy to install. However if I’m being honest – I only use a select few plug-ins on mine.

Web hosting is pretty much the same but applies to all sorts of businesses that require their own website and not just bloggers.

When considering web hosts, it can be quite daunting trying to figure out who to go with. There seems to be so many web hosts to choose from; so how do you decide where to go. Well based on my own experience I’ve outlined a few tips to help.

β€’1) Read reviews – Every web host will have their fair share of both good and bad reviews. It’s always a good idea to google reviews of a few web hosting companies so you can get an idea of what your experience may be.

β€’2) Checklist your requirements – Before searching for hosting companies it’s important to know exactly what you want from a hosting company for your website – do you want something where it’s easy to Install CPanel for instance? Are you requiring a migration service? etc. It’s important to know what you need before you sign up to a host.

β€’3) Technical Support – Does your chosen web host provide fast technical support in the event that your website crashes or disappears offline? How is this support accessible? Do they provide live chat help? Do they have a phone number in your country or do you have to make an expensive international call? Is the help there 24 hours a day?

β€’4) Mobile Optimisation- I do the majority of my blog posts on my mobile devices. Both iPhone and ipad. Therefore it is vital to me that my website is optimised for mobile devices. There may come a day in the not too distant future when laptops will become obsolete. The majority of people now use mobile devices to access the internet so it’s important that web hosts can offer this.

β€’5) Tailored hosting packages – When browsing the best web hosting for WordPress packages you will often find the majority of web hosts offer many different packages. Whilst some of these packages may seem to offer a lot of services, you need to ask yourself if you actually need or will use the majority of them. There is no point in paying for the more expensive packages if you’re only going to use less than half of what it offers. This works the same with the lower priced or minimal packages. Ask yourself if they offer enough space or bandwidth and services for your needs.

β€’6) Beware of introductory offers – Read the small print. Many providers offer a very low initial start up price for the first year. After a year this price can more than double so do your research in advance. Remember you are free to change providers at any time if you feel the price is too high or they no longer meet your expectations or needs.

β€’7) Migration – If you already host a website elsewhere, such as WordPress! Then do you know how to migrate your site (and even domain) to another web host provider? I certainly don’t. Yes there is a whole load of info on the web on how to do this but it doesn’t sound easy and if you mess it up, there is always that risk that you could lose everything. You can of course pay a professional techie to move your website for you. But some web hosts do offer a full migration service for a very low cost or even for free when you sign up to them. It’s certainly worth finding a web host that offers this if you don’t want to risk it yourself.

I hope these simple tips help a little if you are considering a new web host.

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