The blogging industry is one that has definitely evolved since I started my first blog back in 2006 and that is something that I don’t think will ever change–or is it that it is always changing? 😉
However, there are a couple of things that remain constant and those are that you need a domain name and a web host if you’re interested in launching your own blog.
Over the years that I have been blogging, I have had experience with quite a few domain registrars, web hosting companies, and other tools and service providers that help make all of this possible. Therefore I thought it would be helpful to share my preferred tools that you might find useful if you’re ready to take the step into blogging–or you find yourself where I have been before, unhappy with your current providers.
Before I share the service providers that I have found to be the best, I need to disclose that this page includes affiliate links. That means that I may receive a referral fee or commission if you sign up for any of these services through the links shared here.
However, I can assure you that I will not recommend any service provider here that I do not personally use and stand behind as a quality company that has treated me well.
Domain Name Registrar
There are a plethora of domain name registrars and I’ve used a handful of them over the years. Awhile back I transferred all of my domains over to Uniregistry as they provide a lot of great features that others charge extra for on a per-domain basis.
As an example of the features that I’ve always enjoyed is that they include two nice security and privacy features: 1) Free two-step verification on all accounts; 2) Free WHOIS privacy from Privacy.Link on every one of your domains.
Uniregistry provides the ability to register over 420+ domain extensions and their interface is extremely easy to use with an assortment of drag and drop features that make your administration tasks as simple as can be. They provide great support and assistance with the domain transfer process and provide seamless integration with Google Apps for Business and the ability to easily redirect any domain name to your social media profiles or other domains.
With Uniregistry domains, you will pay a approximately $10/year for your domain for standard extensions with a number of features included that other registrars charge additional fees.
If you’re interested in giving them a try, you can begin your domain name search right here:
Once you have a domain name registered, the next order of business is to secure web hosting services.
One word of caution–be careful about registering your domain name and hosting your website with the same service provider. It is tempting to do that for the simplicity, but I have seen more than a few bloggers that have had issues with their service provider and their entire website is at the mercy of a single provider.
Similar to the domain registrars, I have had accounts with a handful of web hosting providers and there are plenty that I would steer clear of given their tendency to nickle and dime you for every service.
When I changed to my current web hosting provider, DigitalOcean, it was primarily because I wanted to implement SSL across all of my domains. My prior hosting company wanted to charge two fees–one to just enable the ability to utilize SSL and a second fee for the actual SSL certificate–for every single domain.
DigitalOcean provides a wealth of options that you can select from based on your budget and/or resource needs. For most websites, you will likely be perfectly fine with their most economical option that will run $5.00 per month.
If you do happen to sign up with my DigitalOcean referral, you will receive $10.00 in credit–or two months of hosting for free.
Without a doubt, my recommendation is to use the self-hosted WordPress.org platform to run your website. It is not always recognizable, but there are many top-rated websites running on the WordPress platform and the learning curve tends to be quite short for many people.
As an added bonus, DigitalOcean provides a seamless one-click app that will have your entire website up and running in less than one minute.
When considering your blog platform, you may contemplate using WordPress.com–which is the same platform as WordPress.org but provides built-in hosting as well. My recommendation would be to avoid that as a starting point because most bloggers quickly learn that there are limitations to the “.com” version and then are faced with migrating their website to a new host.
Other options include Drupal, Joomla, Blogger, Wix, and a handful of others.
Again, my recommendation is just don’t do it. Start with the best option out there and eliminate the headache of having to completely migrate your website to a new platform and/or service provider.
As I mentioned, I’ve been involved in the blogging world for over 12 years and have had a number of experiences that I would prefer to forget. However, the service providers mentioned above have served me extremely well and I do not hesitate in recommending them to anyone looking to get started with blogging or those that are currently mired in a nightmare with their service provider.
Hopefully you find these resources helpful, and if you have any questions please connect with me on twitter and let’s discuss it.