What I look for in a blog hostDecember 24th, 2006
The world of web hosting can be a bit overwhelming. Website hosting companies almost scream about their fat hosting packages on their sites inorder to get people to spend money on hosting. But what is it that you really need to host a blog?
Disk Space. Its the age of multi gigabyte hosting packages but do you really need that much disk space? Unless your going to host your own massive photo or video galleries you will rarely need much space. In my case I bought 100MB hosting for this site but I am really only using about 30MB! IMO a 50MB disk space quota should suffice for most blogs.
Speed of webserver. This is more important than any disk space or bandwidth quotas. Most web hosting companies are into overselling. Some of them oversell to the point that it affects their server’s speed. To test whether a host is slow you need to find out the addresses of other websites it hosts. You can then input these in various speed testing websites such as the one at iwebtool.com. You could ask the host’s customer service to give you links to a few of their customer’s sites or you could ask them to give you their nameservers. If you do the latter then you can learn what sites they host by inputing their nameserver in a reverse ip tool like the one at domaintools.com. Most webhosts also provide speed test files but these aren’t very useful IMO because they don’t make use of the web server’s CPU and database servers like a real dynamic site would.
Uptime.Uptime refers to the percentage of time a webserver continues to function and make available your site to users who visit it. All servers suffer some downtime due to hardware or software failure and backups so most hosts promise uptime of around 99%. It helps if you verify a host’s uptime yourself by using a service like host-tracker.com to track the uptime of site’s hosted by your web host.
Add-on domains. The addon domain feature allows you to manage multiple domains/websites from one hosting account. This allows you to make full use of your available bandwidth and disk space quota. When I bought hosting I only wanted to host just this one site. But I later decided to start other blogs but my host did not allow add on domains so I had to buy hosting elsewhere.
Mysql databases. If your going to host multiple blogs in addon domains you will need multiple mysql databases so make sure that your host allow this.
Bandwidth. Lots Bandwidth isn’t really a requirement on new blogs. Typically hosts will offer something like 10X your disk space quota as your bandwidth quota and that should suffice. So if your disk space quota is 50MB you’ll get at least 500MB bandwidth.
One final tip. Visit the web hosting sections of webmaster or technology forums for a good deal. Lots of web hosts post their offers in these forums and you can ask them questions or even open your own thread specifying your requirements and inviting offers.