How do you which web hosting company to choose? Having made some mistakes along the way, I only feel qualified to say that there is one host I wouldn’t use again. Maybe my expectations are too high, maybe I expect everything to be perfect all the time and that’s unrealistic. One thing I will say is that I wish I’d known as much about cyberspace when I first started my journey as I do now. I’m going to share my experiences and would be grateful for anyone else to tell me theirs.
How do you know which hosting platform to choose?
As a novice on the internet, I didn't have a clue where to go to host my static website. Years later, I've made a lot of mistakes, but I'm getting there, and learning on the way.
I know that there are a lot of users on this site who are far more internet savvy than I am (I know this because I read some of the articles and I find myself feeling the way I used to at school when they were trying to teach me some alien concept that I believed I would never grasp. I am still trying to learn, and I thank all my fellow writers for their knowledge sharing and forbearance with an eejit like me.)
When I set up my first website, for a business unrelated to writing, the internet was still fairly new and it was very much an unknown quantity to me. I didn’t know anything about online reviews, in fact, I don’t even know if such things existed back then. I do know that a friend of mine was running a website building business and she set up and managed the site for me for a few years. Then I transferred management to one of those marketing companies that promised to put my website at the top of the search pages. My business was a spectacular disaster. I took over management of my website myself.
Since then, I have set up a few blogs, folded one, left one to its own devices in cyberspace, and have been focusing my efforts on the remaining one and the one I intend to go live with later this year.
In comparison with static websites, I think blogs are an absolute doddle. Provided you choose a platform suitable for your needs, there is no problem. Personally, I’m a wordpress girl, it’s not the only one I’ve used but the unpaid and paid versions are so similar it’s an easy transition from one to the other. But how do you know how to choose as your website host?
I’ve tried a few companies; I’ve used Hostgater, Go Daddy, Website Palace, and Chilly domains.
In fact, the only one of those that I no longer use is Hostgater. They came highly recommended but I really didn’t rate them, I found the whole process of having different log-ins for different things way too bureaucratic, and then I had problems with other things. I have little patience for these things, which, I fear, is a big failing in me. And, because they are based in the US and I am based in London, there is always that little issue of telephone calls at the wrong time of day. Plus, there always seemed to be a very long queue for their online chat.
I use Go Daddy purely for blogging at the moment, and after a few initial teething problems, things are going ok. They are reasonably efficient at sorting out problems, it’s a local call and the staff are polite. I don’t know what their static websites are like, but will be looking into that later in the year.
Which web hosting platform is best?
Do you have a preferred web host?
Website Palace. Again, they came highly recommended, and I agree that the platform is very easy to use. I wanted the domain name (as part of my branding) so I thought I’d give them a try as they were recommended. The only thing is, and this is probably my ignorance rather than any fault on their part, that my website with them is only one page. That’s not ideal for me, and I am sure I could change it if I wanted to, but as that isn’t my main site (as I said, I bought the domain name for the branding) I’m content to leave it for now. I’ve never had to use their support, so I can’t comment on it.
Chilly Domains. The big plus here is that they are cheap. They are based in mainland Europe – I’m going to say Germany because the acknowledgement e-mail I get from them is always in German. The basic website does give you a number of pages though, which is a big plus for me. The down side is that the support is not fantastic, and it’s not 24 hour, although they do now advertise a UK telephone number. I got very upset with them as my main website collapsed for two days and they tried to tell me it was something I had done (it wasn’t). As I get a lot of traffic to my blog through this site, it was a real issue for me. Nor can I upload what I have now chosen as my company logo.
So what to consider when you are choosing a host? I am by no means an expert, I can only talk about my experiences, and I am still learning, but I think you should consider these:
- What level of support will you require?
- How big an issue is cost? I generally tend to think that you get what you pay for.
- What do you want to use the site for? I’m inclined to think that as long as the host is able properly support your chosen blog site, it’s less of an issue who you use than if you want a static site, but that’s just a personal view.
- Will the site give you enough flexibility to upload videos, etc?
- Check out review sites. They may not be the whole answer but they may give you some useful information.
My view is, think carefully about what’s most important to you from the start and work from there. And don’t be afraid to change hosts if the first one you choose doesn’t meet your needs. It is relatively painless, although you may have a day or so downtime (but if you know in advance you can at least warn your readers).