It’s been interesting learning about blogging options. Though I’ve had my own web hosting before, and ran sites based on Drupal and Joomla, I’ve never used WordPress and decided to start with a managed install to make my life (much) easier and remove the barriers to just getting started with content.
What options did I look at? Free, Shared, Dedicated and Managed.
- Free hosting – banner ads, limits on usage, must have ‘wordpress.com’, etc. Avoided this.
- Shared hosting – buying “normal” web hosting then installing a WordPress theme. More control and cheaper; however, you must manage and update all security patches and so on. WordPress is very popular, the initial install is literally one click but upkeep is necessary.
- Dedicated hosting – same as above but beefier; however, some will admin the site for you at much more cost.
- Managed WordPress hosting – Easiest, least hassle, provider manages everything, restricted to WordPress only (obviously). Always higher cost and often limited traffic, you’d want to move away from this plan once at a certain scale.
Bonus #5. Usually not listed as an option: Personal server running at home. More powerful than most shared servers, zero cost (already paying for internet). Limited by upload speeds and much more overhead to manage regular security patching, requires a spare computer running 24/7 on a UPS, daily backups/recovery difficult to ensure, Linux experience.
Managed, while costlier, is a great way to begin, so this was the option I chose. However, there are a lot of hosting companies out there. Here’s what I found.
Managed Hosting Comparison
|Bluehost||$19.99 – $49.99||Well known, good uptime||Costly, traffic/storage is capped|
|DreamHost||$19.95, one option||Supposedly faster load times, more advanced features||Limited storage (30 GB), don’t like signup page|
|1&1||$0.99 for one year, $7.99 – 14.99 after||Unlimited traffic/space|
|HostGator.com||$5.95 – 9.95||Also well known with good uptime||Interface can be a little weird|
|WordPress.com||$2.99, 8.25, 24.92||“Unlimited” bandwidth even on Free plans||Must have highest plan to remove footer branding|
I assumed that this sort of hosting would be commoditized to a point that they were all almost the same. I was surprised to find that they aren’t – there’s a big spread of pricing, and more money per month does not automatically equate to more space or bandwidth. Among these, I went with 1&1. I’ve used them before, liked their pricing without strict space caps, and while they weren’t as user friendly as HostGator, I was hoping that the ‘Managed’ option would remove much of the learning curve. So far, it’s been pretty easy.
Time will tell how well this option holds up. For now, it’s a great feeling to dive in and get started!