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If you missed my post talking about why you should (or shouldn’t) go with a self-hosted blog, you can read it here.
Since launching my free Start a Blog 7-Day Email Course, I’ve received a TON of emails and/or comments, asking about the difference between my recommended hosts (SiteGround and KnownHost) and some of the most “popular” hosts recommended by many professional bloggers like Bluehost and HostGator.
It seems almost as if every single person that reached out to me who already had a blog, was hosting it on Bluehost.
WEB HOSTING: INCREASING YOUR BLOG TRAFFIC + SALES WITH 1 SIMPLE STEP
To those who are with Bluehost, I had one thing to say: run. Their shared servers are overstuffed, sites/blogs are constantly crashing and their only solution is to usually suggest going with a larger plan. I personally cannot speak for having experience with Bluehost, but I talked to a ton of bloggers who hosted with them at some point and none of them were too happy- but don’t just take my word for it- just read this, this or this. I even heard horror stories where bloggers lost the contents of their entire blogs (this is why you should do regular backups, guys!).
THE PRICE YOU PAY FOR CRAPPY HOSTING
As I mentioned in this post, I actually started this blog with HostGator (which belongs to the same parent company as Bluehost) and I was even an affiliate and promoted them on my blog. To be completely honest, I had zero problems with them for the first couple of years. That was until my blog started growing and my traffic sky-rocketed (the company also changed owners in the meantime).
Despite paying almost 100 bucks a month for an upgraded plan and more space, at one point, my blog just randomly went down for nearly a week. Do you know how stressful that is for a blogger, especially if you rely on it for income? I literally lost sleep, I couldn’t concentrate on anything else- that’s how much this blog means to me.
Not to mention that I had a series of three sponsored posts scheduled to be published the following week and was so afraid of looking unprofessional and losing my contracts.
It took my host A WEEK to transfer my site to a yet another, upgraded server. I actually talked about this experience last year in this post: Things No One Tells You About Growing Your Blog (some of you might actually remember me constantly apologizing and explaining myself on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, why my blog is constantly crashing). Once I updated to a larger VPS plan (Virtual Private Server- a step up from a “shared” plan which most bloggers start with), I was hoping that all my issues would go away. Listen, I don’t mind paying more money for a service, as long as it means that I don’t have to wake up in the middle of the night to see someone tweet me or email me that my site is down.
It was around that time that my blog has hit over 200,000 pageviews, a huge milestone I’ve been trying to reach, and instead of me celebrating such a cool blogging milestone, I was sitting at my desk, crying at 2 am, pulling my hair out because I couldn’t figure how to bring my blog back up.
Well, turns out switching to an even larger plan did not solve the problem.
My blog would crash every single time I published a new post. Even the tiniest of traffic spikes would force my site to go into the maintenance mode. In the meantime, I was stuck watching tutorials, trying to learn what I could about the back-end of a website, learning all sorts of techie things I had no interest in learning. It was SO stressful; all I wanted to do was just write and run a blog and have fun, and not have to worry about all that tech crap. While my HostGator’s support has been amazing for years, this time around their only answer to me was “you need to upgrade to a bigger plan” which, I already had. Twice. They constantly tried to upsell me.
FINDING A GOOD HOST ISN’T AS SIMPLE AS YOU MIGHT THINK
I knew it was time to leave, but I was SO stressed and SO nervous about switching, I literally spent WEEKS trying to find a new, more reliable host. It is so difficult to find a genuine review because most blogs, websites and online magazines advertise shitty companies just to make a shit ton of money in affiliate sales.
A lot (if not most) reviews are biased and you just cannot trust ratings listed on most sites which write exclusively about web hosting. For example, top bloggers who promote Bluehost get paid ridiculously high affiliate rates. No, I’m not hating on anyone who does promote those services, I mean, just like Lisa mentioned in her post, it’s almost difficult to blame people for doing it, since they count on those referrals for income. I personally decided to stop promoting HostGator after a while, because even though their service was great for the first couple of years and it would probably be an “okay” web host for someone with a very small blog, I just couldn’t, with a clear conscience, continue to support them.
I mean I had years of experience as a blogger, a ton of blog friends whom I asked for advice and I was STILL so confused as to which host to switch to. The whole experience was so traumatic, I really didn’t want to go through the hassle of having to switch yet again.
After weeks of research, I narrowed it down to a few web hosts I couldn’t decide between, but at that point, I knew that anything would be better than HostGator. So, I decided to go with KnownHost. I was able to snatch a lifetime discount and now pay significantly LESS than I did when I was with HostGator, I have more traffic and I don’t have to worry about ANYTHING, plus I receive AMAZING service. I had their support staff transfer and backup my entire site and email for free, I now have a Fully Managed plan where their support even helps me with issues non-related to hosting (even if I have a problem with WordPress itself). The funny thing is, I still have somewhat of a PTSD since leaving my last host- every single time I click “publish” my heart skips a beat and I check that my site is still up. I had zero issues since switching, I get daily email reports, at midnight, on all statuses, automatic backups, protection, possible errors, etc. It took so much stress out of my life, as a blogger, I wish I had done all of it sooner.
SO, HOW IMPORTANT IS IT, REALLY?
In order for your blog to be successful, you need reliable hosting. I cannot stress this enough! At the beginning, when you’re just starting out, it might not matter too much, but once your blog starts to grow and you get more and more traffic, create more content, this becomes extremely important. I’m saying this from my own experience. Especially if you rely on your blog/website for income; trust me, you DO NOT want the same thing that happened to me last year, happen to you!
So, to all of you who asked me how important it is to have a good hosting company I have to say that it’s probably one of THE most important things to consider when starting a blog. This is especially important if you plan on working on your blog’s growth. No one likes a slow-loading site. No one likes a website that crashes every time you click on a post you want to read. People will leave and never come back.
If you’re unhappy with your host and get at least 100k pageviews a month, I HIGHLY recommend KnownHost and one of their Managed plans. This means you need to know NOTHING about any of the technical stuff, systems that go into running/hosting a website. They take care of all of that for you and always go out of their way to help you. All you have to focus on is creating more awesome content. KnownHost now also offers Fully Managed WordPress Hosting for their shared (beginners) plans for smaller blogs or blogs that are just starting up (not a lot of hosts offer managed hosting for shared plans).
Another web host you probably already know I recommend is SiteGround as I have an entire post dedicated to starting a blog with them. They’re more affordable than KnownHost, they offer amazing support, great uptimes, will not slow your site down and they are WordPress pros, you guys. SiteGround is a great web host for new bloggers and they’re very affordable. Both SiteGround and KnownHost will help you with migration when you decide to switch, for free (some hosts charge as much as a 100 bucks for this).
I cannot tell you how happy I’ve been since switching hosts. I’ve noticed a huge change in my traffic and loading speeds. I do, however, have to say that one of the most important things is that I can now run TT without the additional stress of worrying whether or not my blog will crash today or that I will inadvertently lose all my content or mess something up trying to fix it myself. This is especially important when you have clients, sell (or plan to sell) digital products and/or offer sponsored posts.
Well, if you haven’t figured out by now, what that one simple step to increasing your blog traffic and sales is: it’s having a reliable web host. Whether you sell a digital product, work with brands, publish sponsored posts or want to focus on growing your blog, you need to know that your blog is up and running, with no issues and you want to keep your blog (and content) safe.
If you take blogging seriously, you deserve so much better than a crappy host! I’d love to know if you guys had similar experiences and how you handled them. I think that most of the time people think that blogging is just a fun hobby (which it is!) and that not much work, stress or worry goes into it. Well, that isn’t necessarily true, as this post proves it.
Did this post turn into a bit of a rant? I hope not.
As always, I just want to share some things with you guys that I wish I had known when I started this blog. The thing about blogging, like with many things in life is this: you live and learn, and the best way to learn, is by making mistakes. In this case, you get a chance to learn from my mistakes. I was never an expert at this, I just learned along the way.
I truly believe that blogging can be a life-changing journey to many, like it was for me, and I know that there is enough room for everyone. Any questions? Feel free to ask away in the comments down below!
You can also browse/search through my Blog Tips section for more posts like this one.