Once you’ve made the decision to use WordPress for your blog (and probably your website as well) the next question is, “Where to host my blog?”.
What To Look For In a Web Host For Your Blog
Based upon the experience of creating hundred of blogs over the past five years and managing at least a dozen of our own, I believe that the important factors are (not necessarily in this order):
LAMP: LAMP stands for Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP. WordPress runs best on a LAMP server. PHP should be version 5.2.4 or later. MySQL should be version 5.0 or later. I’ve run WordPress on a Windows server and all I can say is “don’t go there”.
Longevity: You want a hosting company that has been around long enough to have a track record of serving and supporting clients in a professional manner. Your bother-in-law may be a nice guy and have offered you free space on his server, but is he going to answer the phone at 3am if you have a problem?
Reliability: What’s their uptime record like? WebHostingReviews has a nice easy-to-understand chart. What’s the difference between 99% and 99.99 percent uptime? 99.99% means that in any given month (30 days X 24 hours) means your website will be down an average of 1.7 hours – pretty good. 99% means on the average they are down about 7 hours per month – Thats a lot of time to be down.
Speed: Nobody likes waiting for a website to load. In fact, Google factors your website or blog’s speed into it’s page rank. HostingReview.com has a great chart displaying the results they’ve found. Keep in mind that unless you are paying the premium price for a dedicated server your actual experience will be a crap shoot. You’ll most likely be purchasing shared web hosting, which means that your blog is sharing the same physical server with several other websites. A lot will depend upon the nature of those other websites and how many there are.
Backups: Your web hosting company should be doing periodic backups of not only your files but the MySQL database powering WordPress as well.
Control Panel: A control panel is your administrative dashboard. It allows you to create subdomains, create and administer databases, administer email, and much much more. The advantage of the control panel is that is allows you to make these changes yourself instead of waiting for a support tech. I prefer web hosting companies who provide me the ability – via the control panel – to create secondary domains. A secondary domain is an entirely separate website with it’s own domain name sitting in a subdirectory on your account.
Support: Your web hosting company should provide support 24 hours a day 7 days a week via email and phone. Their initial response to your query should be in minutes, not hours.
We’ve built hundreds of websites and blogs and as a result have direct experience with dozens of web hosting companies. Here are the web hosting companies we recommend to host your WordPress blog:
bluehost: We have many clients with websites and/or blogs hosted at bluehost.com and every one is happy. One nice feature of bluehost’s control panel it has a built-in button for installing WordPress.
HostGator: This is where we host our own websites and blogs. Our own personal experience has been stellar. HostGator’s support staff has been very responsive and knowledgable. HostGator has 1-click auto install of WordPress from their control panel.