8 Important Features of a Good Webhost for Blogs

With all the web hosts available, how do you choose one? For a basic blog, you don’t always need all the features and features most hosts offer.

Webhost Features to Look For

The following aren’t the only qualities and features to look for in a good web host, but if you’re planning to set up a blog, they’re important ones.

  1. Easy to use hosting admin panel. While most web hosts allow advanced users to do a manual installation of their blog software, most beginning bloggers probably don’t know how to do that. Then again, even advanced blogmasters who manage multiple blogs sometimes want an admin panel with easy installation and management features. One-click WordPress installations and upgrades are a big plus. For example, CPanel is a powerful admin panel option that some hosts offer, but make sure it comes with Fantastico. Other hosts have custom developed admin panels with their own one click software installations.
  2. Useful software and configuration options. Budget webhosts are a dime a dozen, but if they’re not offering the options you need, it doesn’t matter how cheap they are. Start by checking if they offer one-click installations of the blog hosting software that you want. E.g., WordPress or Drupal. To use either of these two (and other) blogging platforms, the host will have to offer mySQL databases, PHP and some other options.
  3. Ease of upgrading installed software. If, for example, you install WordPress 2.6 and find that version 2.7 comes out a short time later, you might want to upgrade. Look for hosts that offer simple click-click-click upgrades that don’t require exporting your blog’s content, trashing the database, and starting again.
  4. Reliable service. No host is going have your website up 100% of the time, no matter how much they claim to. What’s important is that web server “uptime” is fair.
  5. Prompt customer support. If you’re paying for a budget host, you might find yourself having to call for support once in a while. While it’s okay to have email support, some web hosts don’t offer any phone support, and make it complicated to carry on an email conversation. Simple things such as including the text of your initial email to them when they reply would help, but not all hosts do this. Then there are the hosts that do offer phone support but try to sell you all kinds of services you don’t need. Look for some form of prompt customer support with no nonsense.
  6. Informed CSRs. Ever dealt with a friendly CSR (Customer Service Representative) who happily displayed their lack of knowledge. While it might be be nice to talk to friendly reps, if they’re uninformed, they’re wasting your time.
  7. Customer-centric. For example, if your web host is planning to change web server defaults that will affect your site – possibly costing you revenue – then they’ll email you ahead of time. Some hosts have been known to block Google’s search engine bots, causing some of their customers’ sites to losing their Google Page Rank value. Others have changed server defaults that caused the WordPress or other blog platform’s home page (index.php) to stop displaying and instead show the static index.html page that might say something like “website coming”. Of course, if you only manage one website, that’s not hard to spot. However, if you manage multiple sites, you might be losing money before you notice the problem.
  8. Affordable services. This is of course a relative thing. More serious web publishers need quality service, and if paying a little bit more brings reliability, then most will take it. A budget host is fine for most hobby or beginner bloggers, but don’t always expect informed help. Another aspect of affordability is the availability of payment options. For example, it might be easier for someone to pay by PayPal rather than on credit card.