Setting up your very first blog is exciting. You see a future filled with possibilities and dream of the day you can quit your 9-5 job.
If you’re like every other first-time blogger you probably have more questions than answers.
Like, “Why do I even need web hosting in the first place?”
That’s a good question.
Now let’s explain what web hosting is and exactly why you need it.
But first, a quick definition and explanation.
A website is made up of lots of different file types, including text documents, images, and videos. Right now those files are probably stored on the hard drive of your desktop or laptop computer, where only you can see them.
So you need a way to upload those files to a shared space that can be accessed by everyone else.
A web hosting company provides you with an online “hard drive” as a central location for your files. One that is accessible to anyone with a web browser and an Internet connection.
You lease this online storage area from your web hosting company for a monthly fee.
Your web hosting company can be located anywhere in the world i.e. a person living in the UK can use a US-based web host, and vice versa.
That is, after all, why we call it the World Wide Web.
When you’re new to blogging it’s all too easy to get confused by the jargon and terminology. Like hearing that a domain name and web hosting are basically the same things.
They’re not. But, allow me to explain why that’s the case.
Web hosting is the “hard drive” where all your website files are stored such as images, data, content, etc. This drive is assigned a unique identifying number by your web host to keep your stored content separate from all of the other drives.
This number is called an IP address. Amazon’s IP address is 188.8.131.52…which would be too difficult for most people to remember.
We get around this problem by using something called Domain Name Services to translate your IP address into yourdomain.com. A domain name is the .com, .net or .whatever people type into a web browser to access a given website e.g. Amazon.com
You need to purchase both web hosting and a domain name to get your site online – DNS comes free with your domain name.
Can you purchase web hosting instead of renting it?
Although this would be ideal for you as a blogger, web hosting companies would go out of business overnight if they used fixed pricing as a business model.
Because fixed fees don’t take into account the potential increases in cost for electricity, computer hardware, or other resources required to run a hosting company.
Are there legitimate reasons you should pay for web hosting each month instead of using some kind of free web hosting instead? And web hosting cost is the major cost to run a blog or website.
Yes, there are.
And we cover each of them in detail below. Keep reading if you want to know why paying for web hosting is a smart business decision.
Using a free site like Blogger, Wix or WordPress can and will save you a few bucks every month. But these free platforms can shut your site down without warning, or for accidentally breaching their ToS (Terms of Service).
Or they might just go out of business overnight. This has happened numerous times in the past, Squidoo being a prime example.
Either way, you’d be left without income from the site and your audience will wonder where your site is gone.
No sensible business person – and blogging is a business – would ever build their website on somebody else’s platform.
It never ends well when online businesses do this.
Imagine handing your business card to a potential customer, and they read the URL back to you.
Which of these sounds better?
- webinfopond.com, or
More importantly, which of the above would convince a potential customer to take your business seriously enough to spend money with you?
You already know what the answer is: The company uses its own domain name.
It will be very difficult to be taken seriously as a brand or business if you’re using free services in your branding.
When you get a paid web hosting account you have full control over your site. You can install WordPress.org, Joomla, or even Drupal if you really want to.
Hint: WordPress.org is far easier to use.
Once your site is live you can then extend its functionality with plugins and page builders.
These allow you to create the exact look and feel you want for your online business, as well as additional features and functions your audience might find useful.
Only paid hosting services provide this level of flexibility.
A good web host will either offer regular backups of your website files or they’ll show you how to configure a plugin to do that for you.
So you can always restore your site if the worst happens.
Paid web hosting also provides your site with basic protection against cybercriminals trying to hack into it or shut it down with a Denial of Service attack.
Something will eventually go wrong with your website. Paid web hosting comes with dedicated tech support people to help resolve any issues you encounter.
With Wix, Blogger, and WordPress.com you’ll either have to wait for support to get back to you (possibly days later), or attempt to use their knowledge base to fix the problem yourself.
So, as you can see there are lots of reasons why you need web hosting. Some of them have to do with customer/visitor perception, but the majority of the reasons are entirely practical.
That obviously does mean that running a blog will result in additional monthly expenses in the form of web hosting fees.
Although this can be as little as $5 per month if you choose the right host. But think of it as an investment in a future where you have more than enough passive income to live your life as you see fit.
Are you still wondering if there’s any way to cut down on web hosting costs? But the simple truth is that serious bloggers and business owners use paid web hosting.