Choosing Web Hosting for Writers

Summary

Your website will need a host. This is a company that provides space for a website on servers so people can see it on the internet. An author site needs a shared hosting plan, which is a cheap plan for basic websites. A good web hosting company makes the website fast and working almost all of the time. It also provides good security. A company should be honest about it's prices. Some reviews are not reliable because they were written by people who get paid when someone buys hosting through their links.

If you want to have a space on the web that is truly your own, you will need a self-hosted website. A self-hosted website is one where you rent server space from a web hosting company to host your site. Usually, the site uses software like WordPress to manage the content.

If you create a self-hosted writer website, you will need a web host. A web host is a company that provides servers that “serve” your website to the public. Servers can be physical servers or cloud servers.

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase any product through one of these links, I may receive a portion of the money at no additional cost to you.

Unfortunately, choosing a web host can be confusing. There’s some technical information involved. And some hosting companies are not transparent about their pricing structure.

Shared Hosting for Writers

The least expensive type of hosting is shared hosting. This means that your site shares a server with other sites. This type of hosting is suitable for small sites that do not get huge amounts of traffic. It’s also the least expensive. A shared hosting plan will be fine for your author site.

Most web hosts offer other types of hosting. Often, the more expensive plans are designed for major e-commerce projects. You don’t need them for your author site.

However, if you have money to spend, you may want to consider managed hosting. In managed hosting, the host takes care of some security and maintainance for you. However, it costs more than shared hosting.

What to Look for in a Web Host

Looking for web hosting can make you feel as if you’re getting caught in a spider’s web. A hosting company’s marketing portrays the site in glowing terms, but there can be hidden fees and catches.

Here are some of the key things you should look for.

Uptime

Uptime is simply the amount of time your site will be up and running. This should be virtually all of the time. A good host will be up something like 99.99999 percent of the time. You probably won’t find this information on a hosting company’s website, but you can find test results on this in reviews. If a company claims to have 100% uptime, they aren’t telling the truth.

Speed

A web host should be reasonably fast. A slow website will get marked down in search engine results. If the site doesn’t load quickly, viewers will probably leave before it loads. Slow websites can also be difficult for people with disabilities to access.

Space for Files

A web hosting plan will usually allow you a certain number of spaces for files. These spaces are called inodes. If your plan allows you 200,000 inodes, you will be able to have 200,000 files on your website.

A wordpress install takes up quite a few inodes. A theme takes up some, too. However, once you have your site set up, your inode usage will grow slowly.

If all you want to do is set up a small website for your readers, inode limits are unlikely to be a problem for you. However, if you want to build a large website, or set up more than one site, you’ll want a plan with a generous inode limit.

Customer Service

It’s always possible you could have a technical issue with your web hosting service. A good web host will provide good customer service that addresses issues in a timely manner.

Honesty

Some web hosting companies have honesty issues. It’s a common practice to advertise a very low price for the initial purchase and charge a higher price when it’s time to renew. While some companies are open about higher renewal prices, others are not.

Other Things You May Want in Web Hosting

There are a few other features that you might or might not want.

Paying by the Month

Many web hosts require you to purchase a plan that will last a year or more. They may require up to three years to get the best price. Some people see this as a good deal. They get a discount, and they don’t have to worry about renewing for a long time.

However, some people may prefer paying by month. That way, if you aren’t happy with your web host, you can just stop making payments instead of canceling a plan that you’ve already payed for. A few web hosts offer the option of monthly payments.

Hosting More than One Site

Many web hosts allows you to host only one site on the cheapest plan. In some cases, these plans provide enough space that you could host two or more small sites, but the host won’t allow it.

That’s fine if all you want is one site. However, some writers may want more than one. They may want a site for each pen name. Or a writer may want one site for her fiction books and another site for her freelancing business.

In these cases, the writer should choose a web host that allows more than one site on the starter plan.

Opportunity to Upgrade

You may want to consider what opportunities your web host offers for upgrades. Perhaps you’ll want to upgrade to a managed hosting plan when you’re making more money. Or you might want to set up an e-commerce store to sell your books directly to customers.

Free Site Migration Services

Site migration means transferring your site from one hosting company to another. If you’re starting a new site, this isn’t an issue for you. However, if you already have a site and want to change hosts, you’ll want to consider a host that offers site migration for free. Many hosting companies provide this service for free, but there is one that charges nearly $150.

Finding a Web Host

Finding a good web host involves more than a simple search for “Best Web Hosting.

Why You Shouldn’t Search for “Best Web Hosting”

If you search for “best web hosting,” you will get a list of sites claiming to review the best web hosts. However, there’s a reason you shouldn’t trust these sites.

Many web hosts offer affiliate marketing. Once you’ve signed up with a web hosting plan, you can offer the plan to people who visit your website. They will give you an affiliate link that you can put on your site. If anyone clicks on your link and buys web hosting at the company, you will get a portion of the money.

Many of these review sites use these affiliate links. If you read one of these articles, click the link, and buy web hosting, they get money. Unfortunately, some people write dishonest reviews to get the affiliate money. By the way, it’s illegal to have affliate links and not disclose that they are affiliate links.

Worse, there is a large corporation that buys up web hosting companies. It reduces the quality of the services and puts more money into marketing. Some companies owned by this company offer very generous affiliate payouts.

One of these hosting companies, which offers generous payouts, is widely recommended by reviews and bloggers. I hope some of them are honestly as happy with it as they say they are. However, some people reportedly recommend this host when they don’t use it them selves. They just recommend it to get the affiliate money

I would not recommend buying hosting from a company owned by this conglomerate, because I believe their practices are unethical and should not be rewarded. Moreover, they are not always transparent about which companies they own.

Where to Find Good Web Hosts

Fortunately, there are a number of review sites that can help you find quality web hosts not owned by this conglomerate. Unfortunately, they have not made their way to the top of Google search results.

These articles also point to some good hosting companies.

Some of the hosting companies you’ll find on these sites are expensive hosts that are not designed for small and simple websites. Look for hosts recommended for beginners or for blogs.

How I Found this Out

You may be curious as to how I found out about this. I noticed that numerous blogs recommended one particular host. If you read enough posts on “how to start a blog,” you’ll find out which hosting company this is. So many people were giving glowing recommendations of the same hosting company that I got suspicious. I began searching for problems with this company, and found out this information.

What If You Can’t Afford Web Hosting

Web hosting is not very expensive. You can get a good shared hosting plan for a few dollars a month. It’s a worthwhile investment if you’re serious about building an author business.

However, if you want to start a site now, but you really can’t afford hosting, you have some options.

Start on WordPress.com

You can start a site for free on WordPress.com. You will have limited options in many areas, but it is a free site. When you’re ready, you can transfer your site to a hosting service.

Use a Free Web Host

There are companies that will let you host a WordPress site for free. While you will not get the performance, security, and flexibility you would get with a paid host, these can provide a temporary solution. Smartblogger has provided a list of the better free hosting sites.

Consider Namecheap’s Hosting

Namecheap is an excellent domain registrar. They also offer remarkably inexpensive hosting plans. According to the reviews I’ve read about it, Namecheap’s hosting is suitable for small and low-traffic web sites. This would mean it’s fine for an author just getting started.

How to Choose a Web Host

Here are some tips on how to choose a good web host.

Know What You Want in Web Hosting

The first step is to know what you want. Do you want more than one website? Do you want to pay by the month? Or do you just want a simple plan that can host your author site.

Checking Their Sites

You can usually find quite a bit of information on a company’s web site. Here are some things to check for.

Pricing Structure

  • What is the price?
  • Are there higher renewal prices
  • If so, is the host honest and transparent about them?
  • Are the higher renewal prices something you can live with?
  • Is there an option to pay by the month (relevant only if you want it)?

Email Accounts

Does the web host offer any free email accounts with your hosting plan? If so, how many?

You will probably want at least one email account. That way, you will be able to send emails from an account with your site’s domain name. It looks more professional that way.

Security

Find out whether the web host prioritizes security. Do their security services come with your hosting, or is it a paid add-on.

Here are some features to look for.

How Many Websites?

Skip this if you know you want only one website.

  • Does the host allow only one website on the cheapest plan?
  • If so, can you afford to pay for the next plan up?
  • How many websites does the first upgrade allow?
  • Is it enough for you?

Cancellation Terms

To find this information, you will likely need to check the hosting company’s terms and conditions.

  • At what point can you cancel your hosting and get a full refund?
  • After this point, can you get a partial refund? Will the host refund money for the time you’ve paid for, but not used?

Check the Reviews

Reading web hosting reviews can be confusing and frustrating. There can be quite a bit of technical language. One review will often contradict another.

Try not to stress too much about this. Just watch out for reviews that may be glowing affliate reviews, and watch out for any company that seems to get a disproportionate share of negative reviews.

  • Check review sites and make a list of web hosts that look good.
  • Visit the sites and see which of these offers the best deal.

I chose Interserver because I knew I wanted to have more than one site and they allow multiple sites. I also got a good deal with them on a Black Friday sale (many hosting companies offer good Black Friday deals.) Besides that, I like their emphasis on security.

For these reasons, Interserver (affiliate link) has turned out to be a good option for me. Armed with knowledge, you can find a web host that meets your needs and get a good deal on hosting.

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