An Online Writer’s Guide To Hosting
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So you think you can blog…

 

Well, what’s your favorite hosting service?

 

If you’re like me when I started writing online, that question would have met a blank, blank stare.

 

And that’s ok. But if you would like to blog -- and particularly if you want anyone to see your blog -- then you’ve got to find the right hosting service. Now if you’re part of an organization, or working for another organization, it’s unlikely that you’ll have to deal with hosting issues. But if (or when) you want to set up your own presence online, it’s better to know something about hosting before jumping right in. (That’s why we wrote this guide!)

 

So what is hosting?

Web hosting is the process of setting up your website and accompanying content on a server. Servers “serve up” files when people visit certain web addresses. When you clicked on a link to this article, one of SheWrite’s servers served up content.

 

A vast majority of writers, editors, and even website managers don’t ever see this server, let alone own one. Instead, they pay a monthly fee to a hosting company. You’ve likely heard of some of these companies: wordpress.com, GoDaddy, BlueHost, and many, many more.

 

While you can house your writing elsewhere online, like SheWrites, or Medium.com, or Linkedin, if you ever want to set up your own location for your writing, you’ll likely need to figure out hosting.


 

What will you do with hosting?

 

If you’re planning on writing blog posts, setting up a portfolio, or starting a news site, you’ll most likely want to place a content management system (CMS) on your hosting. We mention this now, as your choice of a CMS will dictate which hosting choices you make.

 

While you can rent server space (hosting) for a host of other activities such as just saving files, serving up a game, or writing an app, for most content producers you’ll want to find a hosting service that can host Wordpress.

 

You’ve likely heard of Wordpress as it powers around 60% of the internet. It’s by far the most popular CMS. And this comes with a lot of benefits. It’s unlikely to go anywhere, and there are tons of resources and communities that can help you to customize and maintain your site.

 

Another question you’ll want to ask is how many visitors are you expecting. If you’re expecting to get your blog immediately linked to by popular sites, or to have more than 50,000 visitors a month, you’ll likely want to move beyond shared hosting to a dedicated server. We’ll get into that in the next section.

 

So, how do you choose a host?

There are tons of wordpress hosting options to choose from. With that said, before you start comparing options, you’ll want to be aware of some common terminology.

 

Terms you should know when you start searching for a hosting company include:

  • Shared hosting involves sharing a server with other websites. While cheaper, and fine for sites that are just starting out, this sort of hosting can require you to update your Wordpress and will have downtime (particularly if you traffic spikes).

  • Managed hosting involves paying a company to manage your hosting set up (along with the hosting itself). They take care of security and performance updates. And you often have much better performance than shared hosting.

  • Virtual private server hosting still involves being placed on a server with other sites. But you have a set amount of resources that no other sites may partake of. Better performance.

  • Dedicated hosting involves renting the entirety of an entire server. This process is generally expensive, and you are required to maintain the server. But this is the proper option for very popular blogs.

  • Cloud hosting allows sites that have or may move past the resources available through one server to continue to scale. Often used for hosting rapidly growing apps, cloud hosting is used by many of the largest sites online.

 

You’ll also want to know the difference between Wordpress.com and Wordpress.org. This is one of the most common beginner “errors” when starting a blog. I made it when I was younger.

 

Perhaps error is an overstatement. But new bloggers should be aware that Wordpress.com and Wordpress.org do not provide the same service.

 

Wordpress.com is a company owned by Wordpress.org, and the experience of starting a blog on either one of these services varies greatly.

 

  • Wordpress.org provides the open source Wordpress software for download. This is where you go if you would like to include Wordpress or Wordpress plugins on your own site.

  • Wordpress.com provides managed Wordpress hosting which is much less customizable than hosting Wordpress elsewhere. This is a paid hosting service company.

 

With that basic knowledge, you can begin to intelligently search for hosting for your initial foray into blogging on your own site. For more in-depth information about the myriad choices among hosting options, check out Blogging.com’s guide to Wordpress hosting.




 

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