On choosing a good web hosting service : Experiences of a layman

Written by vik

Topics: Blogging, Consumer Affairs, How-to

I am planning to self-host two of my WordPress blogs [including this one] and recently did a lot of research online in finding some good web hosts, finding free WordPress themes [mostly magazine themes, my favourite] and ran into a lot of good information and useful tips and tricks. This is a brief collection of my web hosting wisdom obtained as a result of my research so far on web hosting for WordPress. This info will be useful for anybody who is not very technically endowed and wants to find a good web hosting to self host his/her blogs using the highly popular WordPress software.

The first important thing is to read about web hosting, web hosting FAQs, terminologies etc. on the internet if you are a layman like me. Please note that some web hosting companies themselves make websites to give you all the info and may dishonestly try to induce you into buying their service. So be careful while searching for information.

The forums at WordPress.org and wordpress.com will also come in handy. The FAQ/help section of the web hosting companies also have a lot of info. Their forums are also a good source of knowledge about the technicalities as well as the company itself. I found the FAQ and other information at web hosting choice useful and informative. You can also write or chat directly [and you must] with the various web hosting companies. I did talk and ask even silly questions to many web hosting companies such as Doreo, Hostgator, A small Orange and WPwebhost. All of them were prompt with replies to my web hosting queries.

You must realize that no web hosting provider will be perfect. Some people will suggest you to search ‘webhosting of xyz company sucks’ in Google [e.g.: GoDaddy sucks] and note the number of results returned to know how much some web hosting companies are hated by people. For example there is even a full-fledged website dedicated against Go Daddy called No daddy! I did find many satisfied customers of GoDaddy in India, just the same. Many web hosting companies have paid staff writing articles for their services or writing fake reviews of rival web hosting companies. Please do not get moved by such pieces on the internet [but that does not mean you ignore genuine reviews]. A simple Google/Yahoo search results will return a lot of results or find good article on major tech blogs like Makeuseof, readwriteweb, Smashing Magazine, Lifehacker, Techcrunch, Labnol and Mashable will also help. Must read the Webhostingtalk forums.

WordPress recommendations [they recommend 6 web hosting companies] are good to begin your research but please do not stick only to them. There are smaller companies that may better suit your needs. If you are looking for a cheap (read affordable budget) web hosting solution for your simple blog that does not attract a lot of traffic you can consider a small orange tiny hosting plan [Richard and Timethief of Onecoolsite recommend it].

Nearly Free Speech, a simple beautiful web hosting company, has a unique business design: the prices are based on your actual uses [so it’s great for personal blogs that may not attract enormous traffic]. Read the documentation on their site and you will like them so much for their humour. Anshul’s cartoon site Brainstuck is hosted with Nearly Free Speech and works quite fine. WPwebhost,an Exabite concern [Malaysia] is also a good option for web hosting for WordPress users.

If you are looking for some offbeat and unique web hosting companies read this article on Free Speech hosting: a quick review of 11 web hosts that won’t dump you at the first sight of controversy.

It is recommended that you find out the web hosting company of any website or blog that you like by doing a WHOIS search about that website. For example if you think that Skeptic Geek is a good site which you always find on, then you can do it’s WHOIS search and easily find that it’s hosted on BlueHost. So if you are impressed by the uptime of some website, you can find it’s webhost and use the services after doing some more research.

A good idea before self-hosting will be to do some experiments with free hosting and free domain name if you think you are going to struggle with the WordPress installation! Read this article on Make use on setting up a WordPress blog for free. I am soon going to do that to learn the ropes in a better way. In the comment section of that article you will find links to free hosted blogs. It will be a good learning experience to do some trial and error before buying your web hosting space and working with your primary blog.

A lot of web hosting companies give you discounts when you register [but not all of them]. You can search for discount coupons on the net. Retail me Not is a good site for hunting discount coupons. I found there discount coupons for A Small Orange and some other web hosts. Some reviewing and affiliating sites [beware of shady sites] may also offer your coupon codes. I read somewhere that ‘WHOIS’ code will get you 50 $ discount on any Dreamhost account [I’ve yet to try that]!

You can get flat 50 per cent off on Justhost  by closing the window while registering. A “live virtual agent” will appear [while also irritating you] and offer you 20 to 50 per cent discount [I tried it more than once; they’ll always tell you ‘it’s an only today’ offer!]. Update: Do not go to JustHost. They are not good hosts. Read more here.

45 Comments Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Reema says:

    Oh no!! I dislike commenting on self hosted blogs. Typing out name and email is tiresome!

  2. Siddharth says:

    What are the advantages of self hosting rather than this?

  3. fuzy says:

    I think self hosting is better , similarly cheap web host is better than free web host, I am with http://shopaserver.com a quality web host with cheap price.

  4. Stephen Ryan says:

    Getting you own domain is a much much better option. You seem to agree in your comment above too, but yet your blog sits on wordpress.com?

    Also, you should enable the comments follow-up by email by default. Nearly missed it.

  5. Vikas Gupta says:

    Stephen,

    I am still on wordpress.com planning to self host. One has to subscribe to comment follow up by checking the option [that is how it is on wordpress.com].

    I am aware of Vade, the popular Irish web hosting.

    Fuzy, thank you for the suggestion.

  6. i have a friend looking for a webhost. I will suggest Nearly Free to her.

  7. SaurabhStar says:

    Hey , you did good amount of research. Really very informative article for newbies. Keep up the good work. For those who don’t want to spend even a single penny and have the pride and proficiency of self-hosted blog along with a ad-free .com blog should visit – http://buddingbloggers.com – Don’t forget to read TOS.

  8. A good amount of business can be lost if the website is not well designed and even a well designed website wont be able to serve the purpose, if it does not hold a good search rank. Web SEO Development companies in India provide 360 degree solution in web designing SEO optimization.

  9. Robomaster says:

    Be careful when using Justhost! I was amazed by their offers and pricing, but if you dig into their terms of use they don’t even allow you put pictures, videos, or other media on your site!

  10. Kiran says:

    Nice research. I am very happy with my hosting company, Bluehost 🙂

  11. Briseis09 says:

    Thank you for the information on self-hosting. I was looking into self-hosting too and did a bit of research, but I didn’t find anything I really liked. I did look up BlueHost and I thought they were pretty good, but the one thing that is keeping me from self-hosting is that I don’t know how to use the WordPress Program for it. It would take me awhile to understand it and learn it. I’m sure it isn’t that hard to learn or install, but I will at some point get around to really spending time to read it. This post is awesome. Lots of valuable information. Very well written and I hope you keep writing stuff like this. On the other hand, I do love your Blog overall. :O) Anyway, how you doing, Vikas? It’s been awhile since I came by to see if you were back from Hiatus; and, it looks like you are. I will be around catching up! Hope all is well. :O)

    Loves & Huggles,
    Briseis09

  12. Sajib says:

    WordPress rocks in any way you ask. I have three self-hosted and several other wordpress-hosted blogs around. I’ve tasted both. Self-hosted blog makes me feel the joy of freedom. 😉 But wordpress.com is still my favorite one because it’s free and I don’t have to worry about my data and files stored in wp.com blog.

  13. Hmm…I thought JustHost was a bit dodgy too even though they were the cheapest. In the end I just went through blogger. WP was a bit too complicated for me and through blogger, a custom domain was more economical.

  14. I wish I had read this article when I started searching for my hosting provider! I finally went with Godaddy because they’re the biggest and can’t be that bad.

    I had a problem with them a couple of weeks ago. I was able to resolve it only by threatening to move – after which they fixed it in a couple of days. If I ever have more problems, I’m going with Bluehost. But I can see only one issue with Bluehost and that is you have to pay a year in advance. Like most Indians, I’m hesitant to do that!

  15. One more thing – how do you enable threading in your iNove theme? I use iNove too but my replies come at the bottom of comment list…

  16. Vikas Gupta says:

    Bhagwad,

    I did a lot of research and hence this wisdom! Bluehost is okay. So is dreamhost etc.

    You can go to a smallish but nice Irish company http://vade.ie or a small orange.

    Comment threading is enabled on your blog and works like mine only. Mine is on free wordpress and yours is self-hosted.

  17. timethief says:

    Reasons for self hosting your own wordpress.ORG blog:
    1. Build your own brand and credibility
    2. Easy location for your readers/customers
    3. Better search engine ranking
    4. Your name is your own and it’s portable
    5. Complete control of your template
    6. Complete control over advertising
    7. Email – multiple accounts on your own domain
    8. Additional functions

    Choosing a web host based on price alone can be false economy. The detailed web host reviews is what you have to look for when you need to find a web hosting provider. Only expert advice from unbiased review websites will help you to identify the best provider who can provide reliable service for you.
    What To Look For In Cheap Web Hosting Providers http://www.articlesnatch.com/Article/What-To-Look-For-In-Cheap-Web-Hosting-Providers/762388

    If you are intending to self host a wordpress.org blog then I recommend watching these free videos:
    http://www.becomeablogger.com/video-1.html
    Video 1 – Why You Should Use WordPress
    Video 2 – How To Get Your Own Domain Name
    Video 3 – How To Get A Web Host
    WordPress minimum requirements – To run WordPress your host just needs:
    * PHP version 4.3 or greater
    * MySQL version 4.0 or greater
    * The mod_rewrite Apache module
    Video 4 – How To Install WordPress
    Video 5 – How To Upload Files To Your Webhost Using FTP
    Video 6 – Choosing A WordPress Theme For Your New Blog
    Video 7 – How To Install And Use WordPress Plugins
    Video 8 – How To Create Your First Blog Post And Blog Page
    Video 9 – What RSS Is And Why You Need It
    Video 10 – How To Use Feedburner For Supercharging Your RSS Capabilities

    Happy Diwali!

  18. timethief says:

    My comment was in the spam filter — tsk, tsk. It only had 2 links in it so if you have set your comments to contain no more than one then that could explain it. BTW the web hosting service I use is A Small Orange. They have support 24/7/365. The service is modestly priced and the features are excellent.

  19. Nice.. this will help me shifting to self hosted domain! thanks for sharing the info 🙂

  20. Kelly says:

    Thanks for the information..love it

  21. Richard says:

    Nice Post, I have bookmarked your site and will return again.
    Host Business

  22. Bhagwati says:

    For any business having a stable website is the first priority, by saving few $$ year, you might be loosing more with a slow or down host or wasting your time chasing support, than what you will save, most host has very good discount on yearly packages, so according to me, first try a host for 1-2 months, and if you like the support and service, than go for yearly packages.

    I would say Hostome.com has cheap web hosting and great customer support both, there is 30 days money back guarantee, so nothing to loose trying it.

  23. At this time it seems like Drupal is the top blogging platform out there right now.
    (from what I’ve read) Is that what you’re using on your blog?

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