Many people do not understand what web hosting is, or its function. Hosting is the place in the internet where the data for your website is stored. Websites usually contain a lot of information, with photos, videos, and just the files for the design of a website are huge. Companies and people with computer experience can have their own servers, but there is a lot of knowledge required, expense for upkeep, maintenence, electricity. There is also a real risk of losing all that information, which happened to me personally. Just to clarify, “hosting your own site” is not usually referring to that.
All websites are hosted in a physical location, somewhere. When data is stored in the cloud, someone is hosting it for you. Sites that you log into to retrieve data, like banks, or journaling sites, or Facebook; they are hosting that site and your information. When you build a site in WordPress, you are using the WordPress platform, but you have a choice of letting them host it, or store it; or using a hosting company to do it for you. If they host it, it’s free on WordPress.com, if you host it yourself, it is WordPress.org.
Why pay to host your own site?
There is a huge advantage of hosting your own website with a hosting service, the main one being having total control of your content.
Anyone can get a free website, including hosting at WordPress.org, but you do not have control over the content and much of the options for your website. Down the road, that may be important to you.
If you are dabbling, and just want to see if you enjoy blogging, this is a great option to start out with. However, if you have a passion to share your information, make money, or create something that lasts, I recommend hosting your own site from the beginning.
People talk about WordPress a lot; it is the number on blogging platform available. It is a program that builds a site easily with minimal knowledge of coding, and there is a lot of information available on YouTube on how to use it. It has made it possible for people to be creative without needed years of training.
There are two kinds of WordPress: “.org” and “.com.”
WordPress.org hosts the site for you and it’s free. WordPress.com is the application that can be download, and create a website that is hosted somewhere else. There are plenty of these companies to choose from.
There are thousands of companies out there to host your website; how should you choose one?
GoDaddy is one that offers their own website building platform, WEBSITE TONIGHT. I have used it and it is fairly easy- if you can use Word, you can figure it out. The disadvantage is that it doesn’t have the functionality of WordPress, and all the features available. There is a reason the majority of people that build their own sites use the WordPress platform.
Hostgator is another really popular hosting company, and their prices are really reasonable. They have a c-panel option if you are an advanced user. I haven’t missed having a c-panel and it is not necessary, especially if you have a new or intermediate computer knowledge.
DreamHost is the company I have been using since 2010, after trying those listed above and several others. For the reasons why I like it, and what qualities you should look for, see my list 5 Tips on How to Choose a Web Hosting Company.