Home Lifestyle What Is Blog Hosting? The Benefits & Best Sites

What Is Blog Hosting? The Benefits & Best Sites

by InvisiblyMe
A bird's eye view of a pine desk with a Macbook laptop open, some pencils and a cup of coffee. Overlaid is the title: What is blog hosting? The benefits and best sites.

If you’re new to operating a blog or website, or you’ve had a free plan for some time, you might hear about blog hosting. Free plans are great on the likes of Wordpress or Blogger, but they’re limited. If you want more control of your site and to get more from it, blog hosting can be a very worthwhile investment. Here’s a little look at what it is and what to look for in a provider.

What Is Web / Blog Hosting?

Blog hosting refers to the service of storage for your website data and ‘hosting’ it on the internet. The host provider essentially rents storage space, getting your website onto a server so it can be accessed online. When a user types in the URL (website address) into their internet browser, their computer connects to the server your site is being hosted on and the data stored there will be sent to the user’s computer.

A host service pertains to not only the storage and ‘hosting’ online, but issues of uptime, bandwidth, customer service, email addresses, and website security.

If you want to run a website or blog, chances are you might want to be considering a host provider. This will then mean your site is self hosted. In the case of Wordpress, bloggers not wanting to spend anything can choose their free plan, but it’s limited. If you want to be able to use your own theme, have adverts and earn a little money from your blog and get your own unique domain name, then getting it hosted will give you more choice and control. Wordpress offers a paid-for plan but you might find cheaper options with a third-party provider if you shop around. I personally went to being self-hosted via a third party and never looked back, but I also did so by using cheaper plans.

Related Reading : 14 Tips For New & Current Bloggers

Types Of Hosting

There are a few types of hosting options. For example:

  • Wordpress or Blogger Hosting – A package specialised in hosting Wordpress or Blogger blogs.
  • Shared Hosting – A package with shared server space between different websites. Users won’t have much server control and slowing/overload is possible.
  • Dedicated Hosting – You and your website will get full server control and root access, so you can install any software and expect minimal chance of overload. 
  • VPS Hosting – A server shared between you and other users, providing a mid-way point between dedicated and shared hosting. The server is shared but you’ll have your own access to resources. 

What’s The Difference Between Wordpress.com & Wordpress.org?

If you’re using a free Wordpress package and you don’t self-host, you’re using Wordpress.com.

If you self-host through Wordpress or a third party, then you’re using Wordpress.org.

The difference is a bit like property – with .com you’re renting and with .org you’re owning.

Wordpress dot com is an easier, quicker way to start, but many want to move on to dot org and self-hosting for the ownership, flexibility and freedom.

Wordpress Hosting vs Third-Party Self-Hosted

Wordpress.com offers a basic free package for all users. Bloggers have the option of taking up a paid package with Wordpress, but don’t jump at this before looking at your options. Upgrading with Wordpress directly to a premium or pro account can be quite pricey. You might get access to more themes and plug-ins and advert options, but you’re still tied into some Wordpress limitations.

With third-party hosting, which can often be more cost effective, you own your data and you’ll hopefully have more say in what you do and what you use. 

A long rectangular image with a white background. There's a blue computer mouse and a long cord with USB connector at the end. The cord spells out the word 'blog'.

Benefits Of Going Self-Hosted With Your Blog

Blog hosting isn’t for everyone. You might be happy to use a free plan with the ingrained limitations because you don’t want a large audience, more flexibility, advertising and so on. You may not be sure how long you want to blog for, so you could reconsider third party hosting further down the line. Other bloggers may want to take their site to the next level, get more, do more and feel a greater sense of ownership.

Going self-hosted will allow you to use different themes and upload other plug-ins. You’ll have control over the customisation and analytics without the constraints of free Wordpress.com plan. You’ll be able to work on marketing by making use of affiliate and advert programmes if you want to earn and make money from your site.

You’ll be able to optimise your SEO and boost your Google rankings, which could open more doors if you want to work with companies on sponsored posts, product reviews or other forms of brand collaboration.

You could get more storage and bandwidth to allow for more content and a larger audience. You’ll be able to get reliable backup of your site and the better host providers will have advisors on hand around the clock to help with queries or technical problems. You’ll learn more as a blogger and pick up new terminology and knowledge along the way.

While separate to blog hosting, you can also purchase a domain name (the URL you type into the web browser) to make your site more personalised and professional. Many host providers also sell domain names, but you can always use a dedicated domain provider should you wish. It’s good to check the price of both first. You might want to use the personalised email address the host party can provide that’ll match your blog’s name, which enhances that professional edge.

In short, you’ll have more control and freedom over your website to make it your own.

How To Choose A Wordpress Host

What host provider you choose will depend on your needs and the type of website or blog you have. There are a few things to think about when choosing a provider, for instance:

  • The bandwidth required
  • Expected traffic
  • Long term expansion projections
  • Contract duration
  • Your budget
  • How much customer service you might need 
  • Website security requirements

There are a few questions to keep in mind and to find answers to when assessing your options:

  • Can they guarantee a minimum 99% uptime?
  • Is their site mobile-friendly?
  • What’s their reputation like?
  • What are the user reviews like?
  • How much experience in the industry do they have?
  • Do they offer 24/7 customer service, and if so what are the contact options?
  • Can you upgrade your package at any time if required?
  • What back-up do they provide?
  • What website security is offered?

My Blog Host Experience

I opted for 3rd party hosting after finding the free Wordpress plan alone too restrictive, while premium Wordpress seemed too pricey and still rather limited. I found a cheaper 3rd party provider for hosting and the domain name, bought a theme separately, and never looked back. Doing it this way has given me more independence and freedom over my blog, with greater customisation and control possible.

I’ve used a couple of hosts and I’ve found that customer service is surprisingly important, especially when transferring your provider to a new one or if you encounter any problems during your service. 

Going self-hosting was very daunting at first, and it still is when considering moving to another provider. Thankfully Google throws up plenty of help if you get stuck on something technical. It’s worth shopping around a little before picking a provider and take note of reviews and suggestions from other bloggers. I’ve left my suggestions below for those interested in learning more.

The freedom granted by third-party hosting means I have a greater sense of ownership and flexibility when it comes to what I want to do with InvisiblyMe. I don’t have to stress quite as much as Wordpress glitches or losing content because I’ve got back-up from my provider. The problem I have these days is simply not having the time or physical ability to keep up with my blog and writing content. Sadly, a blog host cannot write your blog for you, which is a shame!

I do think that the benefits of going self-hosted have been worth it for me, even just for getting a self-bought theme to customise the blog. It has opened up more options for what I do, like working with brands on reviews. I don’t like spending money, partly because I don’t have it, but I’ve been careful to pick the cheapest packages. It might not always be possible as my disk space allowance is getting rather cramped, but most basic and mid-level bloggers could probably fare well just on the cheapest package.

A photo of a home office set up. There's a white desk with an open MacBook laptop showing a website or blog, a framed quote poster, notebooks, pair of glasses, pink roses in a glass jar and a gold lamp.

What Are The Best Wordpress Hosting Sites?

There are numerous hosts offering their services online. Always read the fine print and check out the user reviews, and don’t forget to cross-compare prices to see whether you’re getting a good deal. 

I would recommend HostPresto as I’ve got personal experience with this provider, but BlueHost is also very popular. Everyone will have a different experience, but both of these have some decent offers.

HostPresto – Worldwide

I previously used HostPresto for about two years. Migration was quick and straightforward, and there were no problems with my site afterwards or any major issues to report. Customer service is often fairly responsive, but at in the last few months I was with them, when I actually needed assistance with more general aspects, I wasn’t really getting it. I did pay so very little for the package in comparison to other providers so price-wise it was great, but still, I wasn’t getting much other than the very bare basics. For new customers, prices went up. I moved because I needed a bit more disk space and a smidge of support for general issues would be good. Sadly, my experience with the next host, Lyrical Host, turned out to be appalling. I would go for HostPresto any day over them.

They have reasonably competitive package prices, free migration, 24/7/365 support, 30 day money back guarantee, 99.9% uptime guarantee, free set up, free SSL certificate, and discounts for longer terms along with various packages. 

I’m in the UK but they offer these services worldwide. You can check out what HostPresto offers here.

BlueHost – Worldwide

BlueHost is a popular host provider offering website hosting, including Wordpress specific packages, along with domains. They might have new sign-up offers like an initial discount or a free domain for the first year, as well as a 30 day money back guarantee, 24/7 support and free SSL certificate.

Check out what BlueHost offers here.

Any To Avoid?

>> Lyrical Host – Worldwide (Personally Don’t Recommended <<

I moved to Lyrical Host in January 2022, hence updating this post to include this provider. By April 2022, I was desperate to leave. It’s disappointing because they get some great reviews, and yet I wasn’t the only person at this time to have this poor experience. It seems the problems affect some but not all.

The “tiny” package for Wordpress hosting actually appears more generous than the basic package I had previously. You’d hope so, considering it also cost 5x more than what I was previously paying. Part of that is the hopes that you’re going to a smaller company, one that will look after you well and provide stellar customer service.

At first blush, from initial contact with the company and their responsiveness on Twitter, I would have said they were kind and helpful. That’s about where my positivity ends I’m afraid. Instead of a migration where they get on with it, where it’s very speedy and you can just pick up after they’ve finished, the Lyrical migration took 22 hours. Little did I know that I had to get rid of my current Pipdig theme because they won’t have it on their servers, so then it was a last minute rush to buy a new one and spend even more money because I didn’t want to lose the flexibility of a full theme after spending so long getting the last one set up. Then they deleted some of my plug ins, replaced with ones they liked, and all it went to pot.

The site was painfully slow to load. Like 10 minutes slow or it would simply time-out before loading. It was riddled with errors, I couldn’t log in to my site, new posts weren’t loading on the homepage or the WP Reader, it was ridiculous. I spent hours back and forth with them as they asked me to do everything but a handstand to test out what the problem was, often getting no real resolution. The main gripe for me? That Lyrical took no responsibility whatsoever for the problems they caused, preferring instead to blame it on me, my internet, my devices. When another lady got in touch to say she was pulling her hair out and then described the same things I was facing, I knew we had to jump ship.

Like I said, some people have a good experience with Lyrical and maybe you will if you choose to risk it. I found my experience – the sheer stress and hassle and countless hours lost right at the worst point it could have all happened – to have put me off wanting to blog or having the guts to move to another provider.

Blog & Website Hosting In A Nutshell

Don’t be deterred if the technical aspects go over your head. Third party hosting could also be cheaper than you might imagine, offering you greater flexibility to grow and nurture your blog or website as you wish. Once you get an understanding of what a host does and what your website needs are, you’ll be better placed to make the decision of whether to go self-hosted, and if so, what to look for in a provider. 

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If you self-host your blog, have you found it beneficial? If you don’t currently self-host, is it something you’re interested in or do you have further queries?

Caz  ♥

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32 comments

Animalcouriers November 17, 2021 - 4:53 pm

Nearly all of us will outgrow wordpress.com hosting if only the small storage space on the free version. Once you start adding storage etc, it all gets costly, fast. We went with Siteground and are very happy with them. Admittedly we did have to upgrade our hosting as the site was proving a little too popular for the basic package. The freedom to choose your own theme, add useful plugins, and basically do what you want it great. A big learning curve though 😀

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InvisiblyMe November 19, 2021 - 4:39 pm

I’m really glad you’ve found Siteground to be good. I’ll keep them in mind when I’m next due to renew and see what their prices are like. I totally agree with the big learning curve – it feels well worth it though when you get that extra flexibility and ownership to make your blog your own, doesn’t it? Thanks for the comment – I hope you guys have a lovely weekend! ????

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Jo ( A Rose Tinted World) November 17, 2021 - 5:53 pm

A very timely post with some brilliant tips Caz. One thing I will say is to ask how much it is going to be after the first year. Hosting packages lure you you in with great introductory offers but then sting you when it is time to renew.

This week Siteground suffered a bit of a technical hitch too, so certainly worth asking around who others recommend. I’ve been fine with Siteground, but may be thinking of changing next time. I’d need to find a new provider with the best technical help, as I’m so poor with all the tech stuff!

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InvisiblyMe November 19, 2021 - 4:47 pm

A very good point. The first year is often an offer price, so it’s important to check the regular package pricing. If you’re not happy with the price at renewal, it’s worth speaking to customer services to see if there’s a discount available or shopping around for another new user discount with a different provider. Money is an issue for most of us I think so I always try to shop around for the best prices.

I hadn’t heard about the issue with Siteground recently. I know a few years ago it was one of the most well known host providers, but also had a lot of negative feedback, hence I steered clear. It seems like it has improved in recent times so it’s a shame about their technical issues.

Tech help really is important. I prefer an online chat which not many seem to offer, but actually the email help with HostPresto has been really good with quick response times. I hope when it comes to you choosing whether you stay or jump ship that it all goes smoothly, whichever you choose. xx

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Ashley November 17, 2021 - 6:15 pm

Thanks for the info. I’ve contemplated paying for a theme to give me more options than what I’ve got now, but the amount of choice is rather overwhelming. I like the amount of customizability I’ve got with the dot com business plan, but it’s more money than I need to be paying.

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InvisiblyMe November 19, 2021 - 5:03 pm

Yeah, I found it very difficult to pick a theme. I find I need to be in a more decisive frame of mind otherwise my brain is mush and the indecisiveness is a killer. I definitely think it’s worth shopping around for the third party host providers to see what their prices are, which are more than likely being to be cheaper than the business plan. Then of course you have to add on a theme and domain, so it’s not all that straightforward. Why can’t things be simple?! I guess the sense of achievement at the end is far greater when the process is immensely confusing.

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luisa zambrotta November 17, 2021 - 6:19 pm

Interesting, but I’ll have to read it again in order to understand what to do. I only publish cultural articles and have nothing to sell. For the moment WordPress.com seems sufficient for my needs

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InvisiblyMe November 19, 2021 - 5:14 pm

It’s quite a bit to get your head around if you’ve not gone self-hosted before. For a lot of people, the free Wordpress account will be enough, at least at first. At least you have the option of upgrading if ever you wanted to ????

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Terri, Reclaiming Hope November 17, 2021 - 7:35 pm

This is a great article Caz. I only have one question — why couldn’t you have written this BEFORE I went self-hosted?!???? Just kidding! I’m now with Bluehost after several years of using WP.com. I’m not all that tech-savvy, so let’s just say there were some tears involved…. I had to move my own site, because when I tried to get Bluehost to move it for me, I kept getting the message that they only move WP sites. Mine WAS a WP site, but it was .com, so I guess that doesn’t count. Anyway, I’m sure I caused some extra work for myself because I didn’t know what I was doing, but even with my limited tech skills, I’m extremely happy with the end (for now) result. As you said, I think it all depends on what you want to do with your blog. Thanks for sharing some great information!

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InvisiblyMe November 19, 2021 - 5:19 pm

Hahah, sorry for the poor timing! I wish I’d found something to simplify what it all meant before I went self-hosted, too. It’s hard to figure out what’s what and it’s daunting in case things go wrong and you’ve paid for it. I can’t believe what happened to your site not being moved over. I think I remember this happening with me, because one time I had to go Googling for information and panicking that it was all going Pete Tong. I thought that’s what host providers do, but clearly some do not. It’s worth it in the end, but the could certainly be a lot more straightforward!

Thanks for the comment lovely ???? xx

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Blanca November 17, 2021 - 7:59 pm

Hi Caz! Thank you for sharing all this information. I´ve been considering self-hosting for quite some time now, but I find importing all my content a bit of a cjhallenge, plus I´m scared something will go wrong and I will get lost in the process! I definitely need to invest more time looking into this.

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InvisiblyMe November 19, 2021 - 11:19 pm

I was very daunted when I first went self-hosted, and that process repeated itself when I moved to a new provider. It’s definitely a good idea to get a feel for what it’s all about but I think a lot of it is what you learn on the way. If you get a decent provider with good customer service, and if they say they’ll help with setting up the hosting of your WP site, then you’ll be all good. It’ll be worth it in the end if that’s what you want to do, you won’t get lost. If you do, Google is always on hand, as are heaps of bloggers here who might have some ideas on any techie aspects. xx

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Sandee November 17, 2021 - 9:48 pm

I have a business account with WordPress and it works for me. I do back up each day though. I think that’s very important.

Well done review of blog hosting.

Have a fabulous day, Caz. Big hug. ♥

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InvisiblyMe November 19, 2021 - 11:24 pm

I’m glad you’re happy with your current plan and find the business account beneficial. Backing up is important – assume WP business probably makes it fairly convenient, but I think it would be a good idea for site and host providers generally to make backing up more simple and more known about in terms of the value of doing it.

I’m glad you like the post & thank you for the comment lovely. I hope you two have yourselves a wonderful weekend! ???? xx

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barmac5 November 18, 2021 - 8:08 am

Great post as usual Caz I wish I could write as well as you do. I use bluehost they are very good.

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InvisiblyMe November 19, 2021 - 11:31 pm

I think you do write well, Bar. And I’m glad you find Bluehost to be good. You never really know what you’re getting until you try them as reviews are often mixed for all providers, so it’s great things are going well with them! ???? xx

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Despite Pain November 18, 2021 - 9:32 am

I imagine most bloggers start of using free Wordpress then decide to change. I moved at the end of my first year but was very apprehensive. I went to Lyrical Host and so glad that I did. It really was a good move. They did all the technical stuff and the support is amazing. I think support is the biggest thing when considering moving from Wordpress.

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InvisiblyMe November 19, 2021 - 11:35 pm

I agree, I think a free WP plan is pretty standard at first to test things out, see whether blogging is something you want to do for a while. Moving to self-hosted is pretty daunting, especially if you’re not super tech savvy but I think it’s a good learning curve to go through and the end result is well worth it. I know of Lyrical Host but haven’t used them, so I’ll have to keep them in mind to check out their plan prices. I’m glad you’ve found them to be so good, especially with helpful support at hand ???? xx

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Greg Dennison November 18, 2021 - 2:17 pm

I’m glad this has worked for you. I’ve never looked into self-hosting, mainly because I’m not doing this for a large audience or a flashy-looking site… but who knows what the future will hold…

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InvisiblyMe November 21, 2021 - 10:42 pm

A free account is enough for many bloggers, so it really depends what you want to get out of blogging and where you want to take it. At least it’s an option in future should you ever want it ????

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Kymber November 18, 2021 - 6:20 pm

This is a great post with tons of useful information! I wish I’d had this article when I turned to self-hosting. lol 😀 Awesome post, Caz. xoxo

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InvisiblyMe November 21, 2021 - 11:01 pm

I wish I’d read something that broke down the basics before going self-hosted, too. I hope this might help some who’re debating making the move, so I’m glad you like the post. Thanks, Kymber! ???? xx

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Carolyn Page November 18, 2021 - 11:26 pm

Great tips and help, Caz. I’m currently with WP Premium and, at the moment, that’s doing okay. However, if ever I’m inspired to move on and out this post could be a great help. I’ll keep it close – there’s a lot to know!!!
xoxoxo

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InvisiblyMe November 22, 2021 - 4:41 pm

I’m glad WP Premium has been okay for you and I hope you remain happy with it if the price is okay for you, Carolyn! If not, at least there are options for going self-hosted with another provider. Thanks for the comment lovely ???? xx

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Simona ~ The Grumpy Olive November 20, 2021 - 5:34 pm

What a brilliant and helpful article, Caz! We use BlueHost with our second blog and we enjoyed the experience so far!

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The Oceanside Animals November 21, 2021 - 3:36 pm

Lulu: “Our Dada is a computer person and used to have his own web site where he did all the HTML and stuff himself, but now we’re all just on Wordpress.com.”
Charlee: “We think it’s one of those ‘the cobbler’s children have no shoes’ type situations.”

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James Viscosi November 21, 2021 - 3:51 pm

If you guys want to take over hosting your own blog, just meow or bark the word.

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InvisiblyMe November 22, 2021 - 5:19 pm

Your dada is very smart to have made and run his own site like that!
I made my first website when I was about 13, on our first home computer with dial up internet and HTML. It was bad, very bad, but it was also cool when not many folks were on computers. Nowadays I feel totally out of the loop with this techy mumbojumbo & it makes me feel old ????

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Ami November 21, 2021 - 9:32 pm

One of my biggest regrets is paying for the Premium plan on WordPress. But now I’m self-hosted with Lyrical Host, I’ll never look back. Going self-hosted has really given me a motivation boost to write more and I’ve been enjoying blogging so much more with the freedom 🙂 Xx

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InvisiblyMe November 23, 2021 - 4:51 pm

I’m really glad going self-hosting with a third party provider has been the best move for you, and that Lyrical Host have turned out to be decent! I’ll keep them in mind when I have to renew to see what their package prices are like. xx

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Gemma November 27, 2021 - 12:18 pm

This is so insightful and useful; I feel as though it’s a blog post I’ve been looking for for a while but couldn’t find. You’ve come to the rescue once again Caz! It is also really great to hear about your personal experience with hosting as well. I currently don’t self-host my blog, but I think I want to in the future as I feel there will be a lot of benefits from doing this. Thanks again.

Gemma x

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Nisha December 2, 2021 - 8:35 pm

Very nicely explained Caz, this will definitely help those who are looking for self hosting and get a clear picture of the way it works.

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