Web Hosting – The Basics for Bloggers
Setting up a blog doesn’t need to be difficult or time consuming, but there are a lot of options to consider. One of the biggest decisions you’ll need to make is the type of hosting to select. You can go with a free hosting option, but paid hosting offers a number of benefits. You can even rent your own dedicated web server if your blog is popular enough to warrant it. The final step is to register a domain name to go along with your hosting plan. After that’s done, you’re ready to start blogging.
What is Web Hosting?
Web hosting is a service that allows people around the world to view your website. It’s possible to run a web host from your home computer, but besides being technically difficult, they are often plagued with bandwidth and downtime issues. Most web hosts are based in data center facilities, which can provide Internet connectivity to hundreds or thousands of web servers. High quality data centers have multiple redundant Internet connections, backup power supplies, and physical security. That might seem like overkill for your blog, but those same data centers house many of the websites you enjoy visiting every day.
There are a number of ways that you can obtain the services of a web hosting company. Some web hosts offer free hosting, but you’ll typically be subject to a number of restrictions. The best blog hosting choice is usually an inexpensive shared hosting plan, but your blog may outgrow that type of plan when it becomes popular. Virtual private servers, dedicated hosting, and managed hosting services are more robust, which is usually reflected in the price tag.
Free Web Hosting
Free web hosting is an attractive option for new bloggers, because it doesn’t involve any initial investment. These free services are user friendly for new bloggers, but you will face several limitations. Some free hosting services don’t allow you to use your own domain name, and others prohibit you from displaying your own advertising. Plus, most worrying is that you don’t have direct control over blog’s content – you’re at the mercy of the free hosting platform. If you want to have control over your blog, then you need to look at paid hosting options.
Shared Web Hosting
Shared hosting plans are typically quite affordable, because each server contains several websites. Shared hosting is what most small to medium websites use initially. Then, if your blog or website becomes very popular, you can always transfer it to a more costly web hosting platform. Overall, shared hosting is a great starting point, and won’t set you back a lot of money.
Advanced Hosting Options
If you want a more reliable hosting environment for your blog, you can look at virtual private servers. These servers are similar to shared hosting, because each server hosts a number of websites. However, that number is typically much lower than you’ll find in shared hosting environments. Most virtual private servers provide a guaranteed share of the resources. That means you’ll typically see less downtime, and your readers are more likely to experience uniform load times.
Dedicated servers are more expensive than virtual servers, but this hosting option provides you with an entire server to yourself. Co-location and managed hosting services also provide you with your own dedicated machine. If your blog becomes incredibly popular, it may require the sort of resources that only a dedicated server can provide.
Most web hosts offer both Windows and Linux hosting. The difference between these two choices is relatively meaningless to bloggers, because the most popular blogging platforms can run on either operating system. Linux is often said to be more stable and secure than Windows, but either operating system will work just fine for blogging.
Web hosts typically provide you with a control panel that you can access from your web browser. There are many different web panels, but cPanel and Plesk are two of the most popular. If your web host offers one of these panels, the process of managing your hosting is fairly straightforward and easy to understand. Some web hosts also offer installation wizards that are capable of installing your blogging software. If you’re new to web hosting, then that type of service will get you up and running quickly.
Domains and Hosting
Domains are the web addresses that you type into your browser when you want to visit a website. If you don’t use one of the free blog hosting providers, you’ll need to acquire your own domain. Your web host will be associated with a long string of numbers, which is referred to as an internet protocol (IP) address. Since you don’t want your readers to have to memorize a long IP address, you’ll need to find a catchy domain name that captures the spirit of your blog. You can read more about domain names in our article: Domain Names – a Blogger’s Guide.
Get out and Blog!
This is a lot of information for new bloggers to process, but the best way to learn is to get out and do it. All you need to do is select the best hosting plan for your current needs, register the perfect domain name, and you’ll be ready to go.