Deciding to get your own website is a tough decision. Deciding on a hosting company is even tougher. There are many things to consider when making these decisions! When The Blogger (Greg Narayan, owner of Dear Blogger) wrote his (first ever!) post for Huffington Post on why you need web hosting, he brought to light an important point: claim ownership of your work.
As a blogger who is also a writer, this is important to me. I like knowing that no one else can take credit for something I have done. Don’t you feel the same way? But there are so many more things to consider when deciding to take the plunge into the world of website ownership and hosting. I have outlined some of them in the following table of pros and cons. Please do not gloss over these points. They deserve contemplation!
|PROS of getting your own hosted website||CONS of getting your own hosted website|
|You will own all of the posts that you publish on the internet. All rights are yours, and yours alone.||You will have to pay for your domain name and hosting as well as any other costs related to improving your blog (ie any plugins you may want, services from Aweber, services from CommentLuv, etc – depending on what you want your blog to have)|
|You will be able to monetize your website.||Ads can be placed on your site by your free host (wordpress.com recently started to do this to offset their costs for freely hosting your blog)|
|You will not have your site deleted; accidentally or otherwise.||Transferring your site later on is more difficult.|
|You will be able to build a page rank of your own that you can be proud of.||You will lose the page rank you have worked so hard to build.|
|Your website will look more professional because your URL will be one of your own choosing and will not have the mark of an amateur blogger. This will lead others to look up to you and regard you as a serious blogger rather than fly-by-night blogger. It can also lead to more clients due to your professionalism.||You will have to pay for a re-direct option so that anyone visiting your old site (via sites that link to you OR via search engines) will be able to find you. Contacting people who have linked to you (if you know who they are) is an option, too, but may take a lot of time. In my case, I have about 400 sites currently linking to mine, so you can see how this would be very time-consuming!|
|You will have more freedom to do what you want with your blog and website – like make money through various venues (like affiliate marketing, selling your own products and services, etc.)||You will have more responsibility. (Some people just aren’t ready for this.)|
|You will have peace of mind that your website will not be shut down or deleted.|
|You can create custom email addresses|
|You can use many other features, such as SEO tools, analytics, etc.|
|You can host websites for your friends since many plans allow hosting for multiple domains.|
|You can try using different content management systems (like Joomla, Drupal, WordPress, etc.) and take advantage of the support provided by web host. For example, you can ask your host questions about domain names, WordPress, and other software you may not be comfortable with, and they’ll walk you through things. You’re paying them, after all, so you might as well take advantage of their services!||<—see . . . there are more pros than cons !!!|
For a comprehensive understanding of the difference between WordPress DOT com and WordPress DOT org, please take a look at the images, the video, and the infographic in this informative post.
Once you have made the decision to get your own hosted website, you need to consider several factors and spend some time doing your research. Fortunately, you can rely on the word of people you trust who are experts and who can give you advice (like Greg and me). 😉
Here are some tips to help you:
- Do your research, even though it may take a lot of time.
- Look at the (potential) host’s Twitter feed. (I did this with HostPapa and all I saw were people with unresolved problems and people who were complaining! Ouch. This is not the kind of company I want to deal with!)
- Shop around and compare prices. Cheaper doesn’t mean they are better. Then again, being expensive doesn’t mean they are better, either. However, the price of hosting should be reasonable and competitive.
- Consider a Canadian web host for privacy reasons. The Benefits of Choosing a Canadian Web Host over a US Hosting Company tells you that privacy laws in Canada are different from the United States. As someone who is actually a resident of Canada, I can safely say that when I started doing my research, learning about these privacy laws made a huge difference for me and affected my decision. However, I then came across this article, which made me re-think things. My point? Be a critical thinker and make some decisions for yourself!
- Ask questions, even if you know the answers – just to test them! See if they respond properly, in a helpful manner, and can reassure you that they are the best choice. Just because they advertise that they are the best doesn’t mean that they are! (If I advertised that I’m the best person to teach computer code – arghh! I’m not a coder! –, would you believe me? Probably not, so I think my point is made.)
- Dig deeper. Take a look at their reviews. If you can, contact people and ask them the honest truth as to whether or not they are truly satisfied with their hosting company.
- Determine whether or not you want “green” hosting. According to this article, “Green web hosts or ‘eco-friendly’ web hosts are those web hosting providers that have a plan to save energy as much as possible and even to generate energy from renewable sources.” One hosting company seems to have an excellent handle on this concept, and while reading It’s Important to Choose an Eco-Friendly Web Host, I have to admit that I was impressed with the many ways they are “green.” But many companies are green, so you have to choose wisely! (For a side-by-side comparison of hosting companies, I’d recommend reading this post.)
- Look at their numbers and reputation. How long have they been in business? Are they established? Have they won any awards? Do a Google search for “negative reviews” of the company you are interested in using and see what others have to say. Again, be a critical thinker! Don’t make a snap decision; weigh the pros and cons before choosing one company over another.
If you’re really stuck for answers, you can always ask a question in a forum. In fact, here’s me getting help in one of the forums on WordPress.com:
A bonus resource section for you:
I found out a lot of really good information by following the advice I have just laid out for you.
I’ve also written a guide about different hosting companies for you, and I’d also recommend reading 7 Factors You Should Consider When Choosing A Web Host. This was helpful to me. In fact, this site even has a beginner guide that will help you understand many things, including 50 Common Web Hosting Terms, And What They Really Mean.
Once I read the Top 20 Questions to Ask a Web Host Before You Sign Up, I created my own letter to send to several different hosting companies. I wanted to make an informed decision!
In doing this research, I learned many things about many different companies that provide hosting. I also published a reference guide (warning, it’s huge and full of tons of information!) which you can use to help you decide on a potential host for your website. It helped my sort out my thoughts about a dozen different companies I was considering, and helped me narrow down my choices.
This hosting guide will do the same for you, too! But, this post isn’t done because Greg is demanding I insert more.