If you are new to the world of blogging but want to get involved and launch your own, the first thing you’ll need to figure out is which web hosting service you should use. It’s a packed marketplace with thousands of options, and if you don’t have any experience with programming and have never launched a website before it can be more than a little bit daunting to choose. The simple route is to pick a service that also will provide you with a CMS, or Content Management System. Services such as Blogger.com and Vox.com work this way, where you basically sign up, pay the monthly fee and they handle all of the domain organization and other nuts and bolts of back end setup. If you go with WordPress, one of the most popular options with bloggers, you’ll have a lot of the CMS support, but will have to set up the hosting separately. So with all of the different options out there, how do you select the right web hosting services for your blog?
First off, choose the CMS you are most comfortable with. That is going to be the back end of your blog, and the element you most frequently work within. So make sure that it’s something you can navigate, and offers all of the bells and whistles you hope to utilize. Once you’ve got the CMS nailed down, it’s time to find the internet service provider, or ISP that will handle the hosting. At that point, it’s time to ask some questions.
What is the scripting language of your CMS, and does the ISP support it? The vast majority of CMS providers used by bloggers are written in PHP, the most common scripting language. But it’s not the same one that is used by many programmers, so make sure that the ISP can integrate seamlessly with PHP. Double check the fine print of your contract to make sure that it also supports each separate version of PHP, so that it will be able to scale up with you as your blog evolves.
Next, look into the database support the ISP provides. If your blog will offer an email signup, a membership side, or if you want to be able to send newsletters, you’ll need to generate a database created with MySQL. The host should support that, as well as allow more than one database. Check out the limits, both number and size. This won’t be important at first, but will come up if you want to launch a wiki or some other forum.
You’ll also want to understand how much storage space the ISP will give you for that monthly fee. It’ll generally be a fixed amount, and you’ll utilize that for storing all of the blog’s templates, documents and content. Is that space shared, or dedicated to your site alone? If the ISP quotes you a very low price, it may be because the storage they’re giving you is limited, and you could quickly bump against the top end and accrue additional charges.
Finally, check out the amount of traffic your site will handle. This is another aspect that won’t come up all at once, but if you go with WordPress web hosting and then a month or two later a post of yours goes viral, you could find your site crumbles under the traffic. This is something you can always adjust down the line, but you’ll want to know how much data your site can send and receive without problems, so you don’t waste your fifteen minutes of fame because your blog froze and disappeared just when you needed it most.