A Short Guide to Hosting for Bloggers

With a staggering amount of blogs in operation on the World Wide Web - some 152 million at the last count - it’s clearly a platform that’s here to stay. Many very recognizable online brands have been born out of blogs, while news networks use blogs as an integral part of their online offering and others use them simply as a platform to rant!

For all those budding bloggers who are aiming high, it is always important to bear in mind some of the implications of running a successful blog. Not least among these worries is how to host a website that may hit the big time. Below we highlight three of the major stages that many websites and blogs go through from start up to fully fledged Internet sensation.

Free blog hosts

You could call this phase one and many of the services that offer free blog hosting are very well known, these include wordpress.com, typepad, blogger and the microblog tumblr. The great benefit of these free blogs is that people get the chance to try their hand at running a website or blog to see if it is something that may work for them. Therefore, there’s no need to worry about what type of hosting or other website maintenance may be required. Often it’s possible to chart the rise of a website through the use of in-built analytics that are often provided by free blogs.

However, there are limitations of free blogs. Often, users have to make do with the suite of tools offered by the hosts and this can become limiting - especially if a blog grows in popularity or the website owner is looking to revamp the look and feel, where costs may kick in for technical updates to the HTML or CSS. In this instance it may be necessary to move to phase two…

Shared hosting

Once a website is ready to move to shared hosting, most owners will know that this means things are starting to get a little bit serious. In its simplest form, shared hosting happens when several websites use a web server that is connected to the Internet. It is also the cheapest form of hosting and offers users the opportunity to add, edit and remove files from the server using direct file transfer protocol methods -meaning that blog owners can have a lot more control over the style and functionality of their site, although some technical knowledge is needed.

While this method is good for bloggers moving to the next level, there can be significant issues, especially when it comes to space on the server. For example, if the occasionally restrictive bandwidth on a shared server is exceeded, there may be issues with website downtime. This is a serious consideration for a blog or website that is gaining in popularity, especially if it could be subject to sudden and unpredictable spikes in traffic. In which case it could be time for phase three…

Cloud hosting and Virtualised hosting

While it may be the buzzword of the year, the cloud and more specifically cloud hosting can often offer a viable solution for blogs or websites looking for a hosting solution. Virtualised servers or virtualised private servers (VPS) are a logical step for owners of multiple websites or those who operate one with a large amount of traffic. In part, this is because the functionality of a VPS is improved as the environment is not shared with other users - therefore website performance, such as page load speed can be enhanced.

Cloud servers can go one better by allowing users all this functionality, as well as the ability to scale resources to deal with traffic spikes or website development that may use more bandwidth, which is not always a viable option with a VPS. This means that by using a cloud server, website owners are able to pay for the level of service they require, which is an evident bonus when it comes to budgeting.

While this article would appear to be singing the praises of cloud hosting, it is important to note that the sophistication of hosting can vary between providers so it is important to do thorough research, while also remembering that cloud hosting may not be ideal for everyone.

Jonathan is a freelance writer who has a blog uses cloud hosting

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