So you want to start a blog? Congratulations! I’m so excited for you!
But before you get started on doing all the new blogger things I need you to pay close attention to what I’m about to tell you:
You could be making a HUGE blogging mistake before you even start writing your first blog post. Heck, this blogging mistake happens before you even start designing your blog or even purchase a domain name for your blog.
I would absolutely hate for you to make this blogging mistake!
This blogging mistake will not only waste your hard-earned money but also your time and energy. And it can be a huge pain in the butt to reverse this new blogger mistake.
So what is this big blogging mistake I am talking about? Choosing the wrong web hosting service for your blog.
In this blog post we will be discussing the importance of choosing the right web hosting service for your blog. Once you read this post, you will be able to pick the best hosting provider, which will set up your blog for success.
We will cover a variety of topics (see list below) in this blog post so settle in:
- Different types of web hosting
- Why you need web hosting for your blog
- The problem with most web hosting companies that you see recommended Pinterest or on the top of the search results of Google
- How to pick the right web hosting service for your new blog
- Who and why I switched from HostGator to NixiHost as my web hosting provider
I hope by reading this blog post you will click away not only more informed than most new bloggers, but also more confident in your choice of web hosting for your blog.
Disclaimer: You will probably read somewhere in this blog post that I was dissatisfied with my first web hosting experience with HostGator.
Ultimately, my issue with HostGator is from personal experience, and it does not mean that buying web hosting from HostGator will result in the same difficulties or experience as me.
I have researched extensively for this blog post to bring you informed information about HostGator and similar web hosting services (*couch* EIG) and how to choose the best web hosting service for you.
Even so, I highly encourage you to research the best web hosting company for you and your new blog before purchasing web hosting from anywhere.
Alrighty, so enough with the intro and disclaimer–let’s talk web hosting!
*This post may contain affiliate links. Purchasing a product or service through an affiliate will earn me a small commission at no additional cost to you. Please read our Disclaimer Policy for more information about the use of affiliate links on this site.
What is web hosting?
As you are researching how to start a blog for beginners you’ve probably come across the term “web hosting.”
In layman’s terms, web hosting services provide you a space on the internet to store and visually present your blog. Think of it as the heart of your blog–without web hosting your blog is never going to exist.
Another way to think about web hosting is with a real estate analogy. Let’s say you want to build your very own house.
Before you even build a house you’ll need to find a plot of land to build it on. Web hosting is equivalent to the plot of land you will build your house on.
And without a piece of land, you’re going to be homeless. Just like without web hosting, you’re going to be a blogger without a blog.
When you purchase web hosting you are purchasing space on a HUGE computer server somewhere in the world to store your blog’s data from your blog’s theme, photos, plugins, and everything in between.
However, finding the right web hosting service is not easy.
There are SO MANY web hosting options out there and it can get overwhelming really fast. And if you aren’t careful you can end up spending money on dud web hosting that slows down your blog, gives you a million technical headaches, and makes you regret even starting a blog.
We’ll get into the nitty-gritty of choosing the right web hosting service for your blog, but let’s talk about the different types of web hosting first.
The different types of web hosting
Web hosting comes in many different “flavors.” There’s shared, virtual private server (VPS), managed, dedicated, cloud, and reseller hosting. Let’s go through all of them briefly.
Shared hosting is the most common web hosting new bloggers go for. Why? It’s cheap and easy to get started with.
Shared hosting is like living in a college dormitory. And not the modern college dormitory. I’m talking like the type of college dormitory where there is a community bathroom and kitchen.
Sometimes things are peaceful at the dormitory, and then there are times when someone at the dormitory is having a loud party or sets off the fire alarm and everyone is running out of the building in the middle of the night.
Shared hosting is what I’ll be talking about in this blog post because as a new blogger you simply don’t have a ton of money to invest in the other types of hosting–and that’s ok!
I’m on shared hosting and many successful bloggers are also on shared hosting and thriving!
VPS, managed WordPress, dedicated, cloud, and reseller hosting
I decided to throw the other types of web hosting into this section because they are not the types of hosting most new bloggers gravitate towards.
And for good reason too!
All of these other hosting plans are way more EXPENSIVE. And if you’re anything like me, you’re a new blogger rolling on a budget.
But I also feel inclined to at least give each of these hosting types a little bit of time in the spotlight, so that maybe down the road, when your blog takes off you can consider one of these options.
- Virtual private server (VSP) hosting is equivalent to living with roommates in an apartment. While you now have your own bathroom and bedroom, you still have to share some of the resources, like the kitchen and living room, with your roommates. However, it is definitely an upgrade from living in a college dormitory!
- Managed WordPress hosting is specifically for bloggers using WordPress as a content management system (CMS) and want to have the most hands-off, non-DIY experience with building their blog on WordPress.org. When you have managed WordPress hosting you always have tech support watching over your WordPress blog or website to optimize it for speed and security.
- Dedicated hosting is like owning your very own home! You don’t have to share resources or living space with anyone. And you get to decorate it however you like. With dedicated hosting, you get a super-fast blog or website because no one else is taking away from the resources that impact its speed.
- Cloud hosting is like shared hosting, but there’s not just one server your blog or website is being hosted on–there’s multiple. That means if one server goes down, your web host will move your blog to another server to keep it up and running. It’s a good solution if you can’t afford dedicated hosting, but shared hosting is too limiting for you.
- Reseller hosting is not for the solo blogger or website builder. It is for individuals who want to buy hosting from a web hosting provider and sell it to bloggers or website creators.
Why do I need web hosting?
Simply put, if you want to look like a legit blogger you need to buy web hosting (and a domain name).
By purchasing web hosting you become an empowered blogger because you are not restricted on how you can monetize your blog (i.e., you can run ads, have affiliate links, offer services, etc.) and you have full ownership of the content on your blog.
In regards to content ownership, for example, if you start a blog with SquareSpace and one day they decide to shut down, you get shut down too. All your content and hard work–gone.
But with web hosting and using a content management service, like WordPress.org (read about the difference between WordPress.com and .org here), you are able to take your blog and its content anywhere you want without penalty and without fear because you can easily backup and store the entirety of your blog’s content using a backup plugin like UpDraft Plus. And you can monetize your blog however you want!
The problem with web hosting recommendations
As a new blogger, you’ve probably done a ton of research around Pinterest, YouTube, and good ole Google about how to start a blog for beginners.
And you’ve probably heard from each blog post, video, and website that as a new blogger you need to get the following three things to start a successful blog:
- Web hosting
- Domain name
- WordPress theme
And they’re not lying to you. All three of these assets are vital to your blog’s success. However, each content creator is also trying to convince you to buy the same web hosting service they are using through an affiliate link.
Affiliate marketing for web hosting services is a super lucrative income stream for bloggers.
For example, BlueHost affiliates can earn $65 from each successful sign-up through their affiliate link.
HostGator offers a generous “progressive tier payout” for their affiliates where affiliates can earn up to $125/successful sign-up once they have referred 21+ people in a single month.
Similar to HostGator, SiteGround offers a progress tier payout where affiliates are paid $50 for the first 5 referrals in a month and the payout increases as they refer more and more people per month.
And don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with affiliate links! We all need to make money to pay for rent, get food on the table, and have clothes on our back.
What is wrong though is that most of the popular web hosts, like BlueHost, HostGator, and even SiteGround nowadays, are NOT GOOD, especially for new bloggers who have no idea what they’re about to get themselves into when starting a new blog.
Successful bloggers make starting a blog sound easier than it actually is: sign up for this web hosting service and then click a button to start a blog.
But you, my new blogger friend, have to remember that starting a blog is a very technical thing. And there’s a lot of components operating in the background to keep your blog up and running.
It’s like how you are a living and breathing human. And while it is second nature for your body to perform the everyday functions it needs to do to survive, there’s a lot of work that your body is doing at the cellular level that you don’t even feel or know that it’s happening.
If you choose the wrong web hosting service based on a “successful” blogger’s recommendation you may find yourself having a gnarly technical headache and an upset bank account too.
Let’s take a look at one of the most popular web hosting services you’ve probably heard of and may even consider using for your first blog: BlueHost.
The 3 problems with BlueHost
BlueHost and their affiliates are EVERYWHERE.
Just search Pinterest for “how to start a blog” and look at the top search results and everyone and their mom is recommending BlueHost (and occasionally SiteGround).
As a new blogger, it is easy to think that BlueHost is the BEST OF THE BEST web hosting service. I mean if everyone is recommending it, then they must be good right? And even better, it’s only $3.95/month–what a bargain! Nope. That’s not true at all.
For you to get that *extra special* pricing you have to sign-up for their Basic web hosting plan for 36 months. That’s a whole 3 years!
And not only that, you have to pay for the whole 3 years at once! That’s $142.20 from the get-go.
And that doesn’t include registering your domain, buying a theme, and any additional things (e.g., premium plugins like Tasty Pins or Pretty Links, a blogging course, fonts, stock images, etc.) you may need at the start of your blogging journey.
Reality check time: Can you honestly see yourself committing to your blog for 3 years? If you do, that’s great!
But I still would prefer you not to take the plunge on BlueHost (and web hosting services alike) considering that there are better options out there that will also let you pay monthly for web hosting. That’s right, no annual payments–just a single, reoccurring monthly fee.
The same pricing problem occurs if you try signing up for web hosting with HostGator.
HostGator offers a less expensive starting web hosting rate of $2.75/month on their Hatchling Plan. But again, to get this price you have to pay for 3 years upfront for a grand total of $105.35. And that’s not bad compared to BlueHost, but I know you can do better!
And since I’ve mentioned SiteGround, let’s take a look at their pricing just for funsies.
SiteGround starts its most basic plan, StartUp, at $6.99/month and you have to pay for a year upfront to get the best deal which totals to $99.83 if you also are registering your domain for the first time.
The problem with BlueHost, HostGator, and SiteGround is the fact that you have to pay for web hosting for a certain amount of time to get the best deal.
And as a new blogger who knows if you will still be blogging a year or even three years from now!
And yes, all of the companies do have a refund policy–BlueHost and SiteGround = 30 days, HostGator = 45 days–but 30-45 days may not be enough time for you to realize if blogging is right for you. And if you do find yourself not wanting to blog anymore outside of the refund time frame you’re out of luck and money.
BlueHost, HostGator, and SiteGround LOVE to try to upsell you on add-ons (like domain privacy, SiteGuard, CodeGaurd, SEO Tools, etc.) for your web hosting package that you do not need as a blogger.
It is very easy for them to upsell you because they know you are a new blogger and may not know about WordPress plugins that will allow you to do everything the add-ons can do for free and less hassle.
In regards to domain privacy… you should never have to pay for that. Domain privacy should be free and included with your domain registration.
For instance, Google Domains includes domain privacy for free and no hidden fees.
NameCheap also provides domain privacy for free, but warning, they do try to upsell you on add-ons that you do not need like a paid SSL certificate (your web hosting service usually can install a free one for you, Cloudflare, or Let’s Encrypt), web hosting, email hosting, and a VPN service. You don’t need all of that, just purchase your domain and go.
When purchasing web hosting for your blog, I would recommend just buying the web hosting (with no extra add-ons they offer you) and then purchasing your domain through another service like NameCheap or Google Domains.
This will prevent you from having all your eggs in one basket, so if you purchase hosting and don’t like the hosting service you don’t have to worry about transferring your domain from one hosting company to another. You’ll just simply switch hosting providers.
The parent company
With the exception of SiteGround (they’re not part of this specific company), the biggest issue with getting hosting from BlueHost and or HostGator is ultimately the parent company, Endurance International Group (EIG), that owns both of them and 70+ other web hosting companies.
EIG owns 83 different web hosting companies, like BlueHost, HostGator, iPage, etc., and they all have the same problems.
Some of these problems include: low quality technical or customer support, slimy upsell tactics, little to no transparency about who actually owns them aka EIG, website downtime, and slow website speed.
Without proper research, it is easy to have a bad experience at one hosting company and then migrate your blog over to another hosting company only to have the same issues because they happen to both be owned by EIG.
My advice, take a mental note of this list of companies owned by EIG and stay far, far away from all of them. Also, you can watch the video down below for more insight.
How to find web hosting for your new blog
As a new blogger, you’re probably already a pro at doing research.
From researching how to pick the right domain name, how to niche your blog’s topic down, and to finding the perfect theme for your blog, I would add “how to pick the best web hosting service” to the list of research topics.
Some criteria to consider when choosing the best web hosting service for you is:
- Quality of customer and technical support
- One-click WordPress installation
- Free migration (if migrating from another web hosting service)
- Free SSL (for HTTPS and security)
- Ability to scale or upgrade hosting plan if needed
- Money-back guarantee/refund
I honestly would not recommend Googling or browsing Pinterest for web hosting recommendations. They’ll lead you right back to EIG companies, especially BlueHost.
What I would recommend instead is checking out the subreddit r/WebHosting on Reddit.
There are definitely some techy people in there, but they’ll be honest with you in regards to different web hosting providers without shoving affiliate links in your face.
In fact, one of the rules in the r/WebHosting subreddit is no affiliate links allowed (taken from the sidebar of the subreddit’s page), “Affiliate links, tracking codes, coupon codes, referral links, etc are all forbidden. We are looking for unbiased recommendations.”
Some common recommendations I see in r/WebHosting are:
- NixiHost (*affiliate link; starts at $6/month)
- VeeroTech (starts at $3.95/month)
- iWebFusion (starts at $5.51/month)
- KnownHost (starts at $6.71/month)
- DreamHost (starts at $4.95/month)
- WPEngine (starts at $30/month)
- A2 (starts at $10.99/month)
What is great about all of the web hosting services listed above is that you don’t have to commit to a year or more! They will let you pay monthly but will provide a discounted rate if you purchase hosting for a year or more.
I encourage you to look into all the web hosting services I listed above and even go beyond this brief list and do your own research as well.
My web hosting service of choice: NixiHost
A little backstory
On August 8, 2020 my blog was down. Like totally down and inaccessible from any web browser, app, or mobile device.
I had gotten up at 4 AM, like usual, opened up my laptop to work on my blog and BAM a DNS error.
I was DEVASTATED.
When I contacted HostGator support (my original web hosting service) at 4 AM they stated that my website was down because SiteLock (one of those pesky add-ons they try to upsell you on) was disabled. To get my website back up and running they had to enable SiteLock on it.
How did this occur? Let’s rewind back to July 4, 2020:
I originally purchased the SiteLock add-on when I purchased web hosting with HostGator. When I purchased web hosting I was naive and didn’t realize that SiteLock’s services could be provided for free with a security plugin like WordFence or All In One WP Security.
After doing some research on alternatives to SiteLock I decided to disable SiteLock, so I wouldn’t be charged a renewal fee. Initially when I disabled it nothing happened. But then two to three days later my blog went down.
To get my blog back up, as mentioned above, HostGator support said they had to enable SiteLock again and that it would take 4-8 hrs for my site to propagate and return to the worldwide web.
That. Never. Happened.
I contacted support three separate times that day, each time my blog was still down.
I was absolutely fed up, discouraged, and felt scammed into having to turn SiteLock back on again, but support told me that without it my site would be at risk for malware and hacking.
I was honestly scared of losing my blog, so I let them enable SiteLock and while I was waiting for my site to come back up I started researching for new hosting companies. During my research, I came across the r/Webhosting and NixiHost!
Why I chose NixiHost
The main reason why I chose NixiHost was because of their:
- Quick, responsive customer service–literally they get back to my support tickets within minutes
- Located in Houston, TX, USA
- Free migration from your old hosting service
- Free SSL
- NO upsell tactics
- You can get your first month of hosting for a penny
When you use the code “REDDIT” at checkout you get any shared hosting plan for 1 cent. After that, it is $6/month with NixiHost’s Mini Plan.
And by the way, using the code “REDDIT” is not an affiliate code, it’s just a courtesy code because of r/WebHosting’s relationship with NixiHost.
And if you don’t like NixiHost they do have a 30-day money-back guarantee. But I think you’ll like them. I’m currently loving them!
When I migrated from HostGator to NixiHost they made the process really simple.
All I had to do was get a cPanel backup of my blog from HostGator, import it into my file management system in NixiHost’s cPanel, and then submit a support ticket requesting the migration.
It took them less than an hour (48 minutes to be exact) to complete the migration.
Once the migration was completed my website was back online for the world to see and I was beyond thrilled!
NixiHost even gave me a resource to help me know the appropriate time to close my hosting account with HostGator.
However, I have to give HostGator some props–they did make it easy to access and download my cPanel backup for migration to NixiHost and promptly refunded me my money back for the SiteLock issue and hosting since I was within their 45-day money-back guarantee window.
As a new blogger, one of the most important decisions you have to make is which web hosting service you will use. However, the importance of choosing a good, high-quality web host is not talked about quite enough in the blogging world.
Instead, many popular and successful bloggers are pushing out advertisements and affiliate links for web hosting services, like BlueHost, that lack quality support, and the resources to help their customers thrive with their new blogs and websites.
And all of this advertisement is just to make affiliate income off of newbie bloggers who don’t know any better.
From a new blogger to a new blogger, I promise you that there is way better and more affordable, web hosting services out there than BlueHost, HostGator, and SiteGround.
In this blog post, we discussed the different types of web hosting available to bloggers, the unfortunate truth about purchasing web hosting from BlueHost, HostGator, and those alike, how to choose a good web hosting service *that isn’t scammy* and my recommended web hosting service of choice: NixiHost.
NixiHost has incredible customer and technical support that gets back to you within minutes, provides free migration service from your old web hosting service to them, offers you the opportunity to pay monthly starting at $6/month, and you can start a blog basically risk-free for 1 cent for your first month of hosting using the code ‘REDDIT’.