Blog Hosting Review: What is the Best Blog Host?
What is the best blog hosting set up to start your first professional WordPress blog and grow your blogging empire?
What host is cheap, reliable, powerful and above all has excellent support and an easy-to-use interface? I’m going to tell you in a minute. But why am I writing about this?
Well, I get a lot of emails from readers asking where they should start and how they do it. It can be a really scary and stressful time if you feel like you are doing it all alone.
In this post I am going to talk about why a WordPress blog hosted on your own BlueHost hosting package is the best place for you to start your new blog and grow it into something special. Over 300 people have used this post to start their very first blog!
NOTE: I will earn a small commission if you buy a hosting package from one of my links at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support! This helps to keep Blog Tyrant online for everyone.
It’s all about confidence
Now I’m sure there are going to be readers who disagree with my praise of Blue Host in favor of their own host. And I am more than happy for them to do that.
The reason I am calling Blue Host the “best blog host” is because they have been the best for me. My goal with this post was not to do a review of all the options out there.
My goal was to give new bloggers confidence that they are making a good decision. I hope that after reading this post people might stop the search for a host, sign up with Blue Host and get on with the real important tasks like blogging, social media marketing and building an email list.
Sometimes you just need to know that someone else has already done what you are attempting to do. A little confidence boost can really help people along.
Why I recommend the WordPress and Blue Host combination
A lot of new bloggers ask me about the best place to start a blog so I made a quick video so I’d have something to show them. This is a quick overview of the three elements you need to start a blog properly.
Essentially it works like this. You purchase a domain name and hosting package through Blue Host and then you install WordPress as your blogging software (that part is free).
So why choose WordPress?
- It’s the most popular
WordPress is used by more bloggers that any other platform – millions of them. You know that it is good.
- It’s open source
This means that thousands of coders around the world are constantly improving WordPress for free. You get new features and security upgrades several times a year.
- It’s damn easy
I set people up on Blue Host all the time and they pick it up right away. It’s no more difficult than sending an email.
- Beautiful templates and thousands of free plugins
The main advantage of WordPress is the tens of thousands of beautiful templates and free plugins available. If you want your blog to do something new just find the right plugin and away you go.
Remember, we are talking about WordPress.org here. Not WordPress.com. The latter is a free blog that you don’t own while the former is free software that you install on your own host like Blue Host. That’s what you want.
Why you should avoid free blogs like Blogger, Tumblr & WordPress.com
I need to start this post by explaining the difference between freely hosted blogs and paid professional hosting and why the free guys fall short.
What is a freely hosted blog?
The freely hosted blogs are the ones that most people turn to when they want to give blogging a try. The common ones include Blogger, WordPress.com (very different from self-hosted WordPress), Tumblr, Live Journal, etc. You sign up for an account and they give you a blog.
Why are they good?
These blogs are nice if you are really really early on in your career and you want something that is free and easy to use with minimal chance of mucking it up. Tumblr especially has other advantages like being able to reblog other people’s posts. Each of these sites does have its own advantages and will work well for some people. However, I have always believed that their limitations far outweigh their advantages.
Why are they not good enough for real money making?
If you want to grow a blog or a website to make money you need your own domain name and self hosted blog. The free ones are just too limiting. So why aren’t they good enough?
- Very limited control
Most free blogs don’t allow you to tweak the coding which makes up the framework of the site. This might sound a bit daunting for a beginner but one day you will need to get in there and change the code (or pay someone to) in order to add new features and updates.
- You don’t own it
The biggest drawback for me is that you don’t really own your blog – the provider does. Why would you want to spend years building up an asset that you don’t fully own or control? That is a deal breaker for me.
- Not as good for Google rankings
It is well known that Google doesn’t give as much weight to free blogs on their search results. Why? Because they don’t rate them as being as authoritative. By hosting your own blog with your own domain name you are signalling to Google that you mean business.
- Limited design options
On a self hosted blog you can upload your own themes, hire designers, etc. You can tweak the layout and change the total look and feel. With a free blog you often can’t. You are normally stuck with whatever the free blog host offers which means that your blog will look like a lot of others.
- Bad for branding
Something a lot of people don’t realize is how important it is to have your own domain name. Now, you can do this on some of the free hosts now but it is mostly the area of self hosted blogs. This is very important for building up your brand over the years.
The most flexible, powerful and professional way to run your blog is with its own domain name and own host.
What is the main disadvantage of a self hosted blog?
Some people say that it is more complicated to start a self hosted blog but that really isn’t true. These days hosts like Blue Host have one-click WordPress installation so once you’ve signed up for your account it’s actually really simple.
It is also important to remember that if you initially start on a free blog and then want to move to your own self hosted set up you will experience more issues than if you had just started with the paid host to begin with. Changing from free to paid hosts can be very stressful and negatively impact your Google rankings.
Blue Host also has 24 hour LIVE SUPPORT and they will help you with any problems you have along the way.
What are the costs of a self hosted blog?
The beauty of this is that it is really, really cheap to host your own blog. All you need is a domain (free for the first year) and a hosting package from Blue Host for $4.95 a month. That is a total of $59.40 per year for all the wonderful features that self hosting offers.
Remember, this is a tax deduction for most people as well.
A step by step tutorial on setting up WordPress on Blue Host
If you just want to jump right in and get started I’ve done a step by step guide on how to install WordPress on your own Blue Host account. This has screenshots and everything that you’ll need to get the whole process done in under 10 minutes.
If you want to learn more about Blue Host before you jump in – read on.
Why Blue Host is the best host to start your professional blog
I have personally used Blue Host for close to a decade to host over 50 blogs and websites.
Over that time I have had close to zero problems with them as compared with their competition and the reports I hear from my friends in the industry about the issues with some other hosting companies.
My experience with them over the years has been such that I feel very comfortable openly promoting them on Blog Tyrant – something that I very rarely do. I really believe they are the best blog host for anyone looking to start a blog or website.
Please note that Blog Tyrant is now hosted on its own VPS (Virtual Private Server) as it has outgrown Blue Host. This is not a negative indictment on Blue Host but rather a situation I hope you will all experience as your blogs get bigger.
Here are some of the main advantages and benefits of hosting your blog (or blogs) with Blue Host:
1. 24 hour live chat support from amazing people
The absolute best thing about Blue Host is that you have access to amazing tech support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You just go to their website, click Live Chat and you are instantly put on a chat screen with a technician who will help you with your problems.
All you do is click the live chat button and you’re taken to a new window with a wonderful consultant. They even tell you how long you’ll have to wait.
And here is the thing; the often announce officially that they don’t help with this issue or that issue but in my experience they offer support for almost everything. And when they can’t fix it themselves they refer you on to someone trustworthy.
If you are new to blogging but want to do all the right things first then it is nice to know you have the support team ready to help. It made a huge difference to me.
2. One-click WordPress installation
Blue Host allows you to install WordPress with one click using a program called Simple Scripts. This is so convenient.
Many hosts require you to install WordPress manually which can be a bit of a nightmare for new bloggers. Or, they might give you a program like Fantastico which, in my experience, often has an outdated version of WordPress available for installation. This is a security risk.
Installing WordPress on all your blogs with one click is really nice.
3. Unlimited blogs, domains and email addresses
One of the cool things about Blue Host is that they let you host unlimited blogs and websites.
Now, unlimited doesn’t really mean unlimited I should point out. It is a theoretical offering. If your blogs get big and take up lots of files they will eventually give you problems as they can’t host unlimited files.
The point is that it is a great place to start your new blogs. Eventually you might need to move to a $50 a month server but if that happens you will be doing very well.
4. Security help
When you start your own blog you don’t realize how much knowledge you are going to need to accumulate. You need to know about social media, WordPress, plugins, copy writing… the list is endless.
And one of the things you forget about is that security is really important. Well, Blue Host can help with that.
One of the amazing things about this host is that if you have any glaring security threats on your blog they will often auto-correct it for you and notify you of the changes. Failing that, you can always jump on support and get some coaching on how to fix the problems.
They also have a long list of security software and anti-spam features that you can plugin to your site.
5. Personalised emails
Now, you can do this on all hosts so its not unique to Blue Host but they do offer a lot of support if you run in to troubles.
The idea here is that instead of having an email address like email@example.com you can have something like firstname.lastname@example.org which is personal, professional and looks very good to potential clients or readers.
Setting up these emails can be tricky and over the years I have had amazing live support from Blue Host in this area. I know a lot of other hosts palm you off saying that it isn’t really their problem.
6. Excellent uptime
Lately I know a few people have been complaining about Blue Host’s uptime saying that it is getting worse. While I respect these opinions I have to disagree.
First of all, in the years I used Blue Host I only had a few occasions where my sites went down and it was only for a very small amount of time.
Secondly, the reason Blue Host has had a few downtime moments lately is because they are growing and adding a huge amount of clients to their servers.
This is a good thing. It shows that they are a well respected company who is acquiring a lot of funds to build new servers and make their customer support stronger.
7. Choice of various blogging platforms
Now, I only recommend that you use WordPress to power your blogs but Blue Host gives you a choice.
For example, you might want to try Drupal or Joomla or something like that. Blue Host has a lot of different blogging platforms to choose from.
It is often a good idea to become familiar with these platforms in case a project you are working on requires something a little different. My experience, however, is that WordPress works for every blogging need.
8. A bunch of free programs and software
Blue Host gives its customers access to a lot of really cool extra features that you just might want access to someday.
Some of the coolest ones include Site Lock, a bunch of free SEO tools, Spam filtering and Spam Assassin for your emails, free WordPress themes, site builders and much more.
They also give you a free $75 Google Adwords credit when you first sign up to help you advertise your new blog and get it off the ground.
Sure, you won’t want all of these things right away but they might be useful for you or a client down the track.
A quick tour of Blue Host
What I’d like to do now is give you a quick little tour of a few of my favorite features at Blue Host.
1. The Control Panel (cPanel)
Below is a screen shot of part of the control panel which runs on the very popular cPanel system. As you can see, there are little icons that you click to perform various functions like installing blogs, creating email addresses, etc.
A screen shot of the Blue Host cPanel where you install blogs, email accounts, etc.
You might also notice that you get a bunch of additional features like the ability to add shopping carts to your sites. This can be very handy in the future if you ever decide to launch a product.
2. Simple Scripts
The next screen shot I want to show you is from the amazing Simple Scripts which is how you install WordPress with just one click.
A shot of the Simple Scripts installer area.
Now, Simple Scripts can be used to install a massive array of different site types but here I am showing you the WordPress installer. All you need to do is select the domain name you want WordPress to be installed on, select a password for your account and click the button. It’s that easy! If you’d like a step by step guide on how to install a WordPress blog using Simple Scripts I’ve thought of that too! Check it out right here.
3. A huge knowledgebase of answers
One of the main advantages of being with the big guys like Blue Host is that if something goes wrong there is a massive knolwedgebase of answers to browse through to find your answer.
Just a few clicks away from tens of thousands of answers.
Now, I normally just go to the live support chat right away but sometimes you can just have a look through here and see all the problems other people have had and how they solved it. It is an excellent back up resource that saves a lot of time.
What is your hosting experience?
I’d really like to turn it over to the wonderful Blog Tyrant community now and ask what your experience has been with hosting. Who do you use? Are they any good? Are you paying for hosting or using a free option?
Please feel free to add as much information as possible as it might really help someone who is starting out on their blog hosting journey.