This post is for you if you’ve always wanted to start a blog but you’re overwhelmed by the process. I’m going to do you a solid and help you decide on the host you should use. I’ve also created blog posts detailing how to set up a WordPress website with your chosen host.
I started blogging back in 2012 and since then I’ve had several blogs and websites. Right now I run BGB along with my personal blog and a few sites affiliate sites. I create all my sites on WordPress because it’s free and offers tons of flexibility.
Over the years I’ve used two hosts. Hostgator was my first host because it’s cheap and works well. I loved them but in 2017 I switched to WP Engine and I’m really happy with them too. I’m going to break down why you might choose one over the other so you can make an informed decision.
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I started off on Hostgator and I’ve used them for over 5 years. Hostgator is a great affordable option and if you use my link you’ll get an even better discount. The reason that Hostgator is so cheap is that you’ll be on a shared hosting plan. This means you share your hosting space with other websites. Sometimes shared servers can be vulnerable to attacks, although I’ve never experienced it, and they don’t scale well.
I switched from Hostgator because some of my sites were getting too much traffic for a shared server to handle. I could have gone with a dedicated Hostgator server but I switched for reasons I’ll in the WP Engine section.
Hostgator is definitely the service to use if you want something simple that will cover your bases but not make you pay for options you don’t think you need. You can also use Hostgator whether you build you site on WordPress or another CMS like Squarespace or Blogger.
They have unlimited disk and bandwidth, amazing 24/7 support, and you can always add options like SSL Certificates (more on that below), and daily backups. They also have a one click WordPress install option that will make creating your website extremely easy. You can purchase your domain through Hostgator which a lot of newbies do. I use Namecheap for my domains (read why here) but I think purchasing a domain directly from Hostgator is perfectly fine.
I didn’t know anything about creating or maintaining sites when I started blogging and I used to break this site (ok, every site I owned) all the time. Whenever I didn’t understand something or I got the white screen of death I’d call Hostgator and they always helped me out. I’ve never ever had a bad customer service experience with them after over 5 years of service which says something.
If you’re starting out and price is a concern you should go with Hostgator. You can start your website for as low as $3.95 with my link but depending on the plan you choose it could be $5.95 a month. I always recommend buying your hosting for one year. If you can’t commit to blogging for a year you probably won’t see results like growing your audience or making money so keep that in mind.
Use this link to get a very special offer courtesy of yours truly.
I also have a blog post breaking down the exact steps you need to use to create a WordPress website with Hostgator. You can find it here.
Now, on the surface level WP Engine seems much more expensive but when I did the math it evens out. I also think their dashboard is easier for beginners to understand. WP Engine is built specifically for WordPress which means they know WordPress in and out. It also works out to be cheaper than a dedicated Hostgator server. I design websites for other people so I was especially excited about the ease of their staging sites.
WP Engine also has a very easy to understand interface since they focus on WordPress alone. You can’t buy a domain through WP Engine because they only focus on hosting but it’s very easy to purchase a domain from Namecheap and set it up to work with your account.
The startup plan is $35 a month (or $350 a year which gets you two months free). This gets you one website, lots of storage, 24 hour support, and a free SSL certificate (which is usually an extra cost with other hosting plans). They also do daily backups and make it easy to do manual backups at any time. (Pro Tip: ALWAYS backup your site before you do anything, especially when you don’t know what you’re doing).
The growth plan (the one I use) is $115 a month (or $1150 a year which gives you two months free). You get 5 sites with the option to add more along with the other perks.
If you’re interested in WPEngine click this link for the 20% off because I got y’all.
I also wrote a step by step guide on building your blog with WP Engine so that you can set your blog up easy peasy. Check it out here.
If you have any questions let me know in the comments or on Twitter.