Finding the right web host – my journey and experience so far

Last night a friend and I were discussing websites, blogs, and business plans and little things that we were stumbling over. She shared that one of the things holding her back from launching her new website/blog was deciding on where to host it.

I could totally relate, because that’s something that’s held me up on expanding my internet business plans for several years. Finally, last year I hit on a combination that I really like.

In 2004, when I first ventured out into the blogging community, I started on Blogger. In fact those blogs are still out there, even though I haven’t updated them in two years, and maybe one day I’ll port them over.

I liked Blogger, and really liked how easy it was to use Picasa to post photos. But I wasn’t fond of the fact that Blogger determined if my blogs stayed or not and I really wanted more control over the blogs. I know several who are very happy with Blogger, but I decided I wanted to self-host my blogs.

By that time I had done enough research and decided on using WordPress as my blog engine. I love the ease of using WordPress and the number of tools, plugins, templates, and tutorials out there to help me. But hosting was a bit of an issue.

For my domain names I use Directnic.com, purely based on a recommendation from my techie brother. And I’ve stayed with them for all but two of my domian names (see update below).

I like having the separation between host and domain registar. It gives me a comfort for some reason. And considering I switched web hosts 4 times in two years, it turned out to be a good thing. It is really easy for me to change the DNS server on my domains registered with Directnic.

For web hosts, I started out with one website in 2002 on a shared private server. It was free and generous, but in order to make changes I needed to go through the administator. I couldn’t make the changes myself.

So, without really doing a lot of research, in 2006, I moved to GoDaddy.com. I was inexperienced and ended up getting confused and buying more than what I needed and not exactly what I wanted. 

I still have my domains (see update below) and one email account hosted through Godaddy. And I’ve been happy with that. I just don’t care for all the upselling. A little upselling is good (would you like fries with that?) but too many choices everytime I make a selection is overwhelming to me. So, I sought a simpler approach.

Based on a recommendation from a person I respect, I moved over to GOT-hosting.com. It was simple, helpful, and reasonably priced. I would have stayed with them, but as the number of sites our family needed/wanted grew, I started wondering if there was a solution that would be more cost effective for a large number of sites.

hostgator-coupon code "1cent"Well God has an amazing way of answering prayer. In 2008, on a teleseminar on information products, Bob Bly mentioned a host that allowed unlimited domains to be hosted for one price – Hostgator.com.  I could hardly believe it, but it is true.

After checking out Hostgator’s site, flipping through their tutorials and help info, I talked to my hubby and we decided to try it with a new site I was creating for him. I found a coupon code that allowed me to get the first month’s hosting for a penny (yep, 1 cent!) and got started.

Now I have all but one domain hosted with them and have been very pleased. So far I haven’t found anything I haven’t liked  – support has been great, all the abilities I wanted are there, and I’m not overwhelmed.

If you want to self-host a WordPress blog, no matter what host you do go with, be sure they have Fantastico, so installing a WordPress blog (and other neat tools) can be done very quickly and in a few simple steps. (If you need help with this, feel free to email me, I’ll share my how-to install WordPress instructions.)

Anyway, hope that helps someone. If you have gone down this road and have some insight, please share. We can all learn from each other.

Update – Feburary 2011: It’s two years since I originally wrote this post and Istill love HostGator for hosting my wordpress blogs and websites, but purely for economical reasons I have changed who I get my domains through. 

I am now using GoDaddy for my domain names, simply because they are less expensive and I can get up to 30% discounts that allow me to pick up a domain name for as low as $7.49/year. As I get more domains it’s important to me to manage my costs, and going with the lower cost domains make a big difference the more domains you have over time.  

I still don’t like all the upsells at GoDaddy, but now I know to ignore them and just get what I need. And the domain manager has some re-direct features that are easier to use than with Directnic. 

If you have a need to register a domain and want to get it at the $7.49 domain price tag, click on this link to get the discount: Domain Sale! $7.49 .com at GoDaddy

If you’d like to give Hostgator a try, click on the link or image above and use this Hostgator coupon code “1cent“to get the first month’s hosting for only a penny.

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One Response to Finding the right web host – my journey and experience so far

  1. Pingback: My Recommendation for Wordpress Blog Hosting | Living Life at Home

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