So you’ve decided to get yourself an author website using self-hosted WordPress (and if you have, congratulations! good choice). The first step is to find hosting.
This is the aspect of WordPress.org that’s the most different from WordPress.com. With WordPress.com, the platform itself is your hosting provider.
But with WordPress.org, you can install the software wherever you want. If you were feeling brave you could get a server running in your bedroom, hook it up to the internet, and take it from there. But I really don’t recommend that.
Instead, you’ll need to rent server space from a hosting provider. There are lots of them out there, and it can be daunting to choose one.
Don’t just sign up with the one that’s cheapest, or the one that has the best adverts, or the one your nephew uses. You need to find a reputable hosting provider that will ensure your site is robust and reliable.
Just as investing time in setting up a professional author website is important, so is ensuring you have the right hosting so your site will last well into the future.
So where do you start?
Below are some questions that I recommend researching before choosing a hosting provider.
You should be able to get the answers to these on the provider’s website. If you can’t, try emailing them or sending them a tweet. If they’re any good, they’ll reply with a convincing answer (not just a ‘yes’).
- Do they offer twenty-four-hour support?
- Do they offer an uptime guarantee, so you get money back if your site is unavailable through no fault of your own?
- Do they have good reviews and ratings from independent sources (try googling the name of the provider followed by ‘reviews’)?
- Do they include cPanel with your hosting plan? This is a dashboard that lets you manage your hosting and domain name. You’ll rarely need to touch it but if you don’t have it, you have less control.
- Do they offer a one-click WordPress installer? This makes installing WordPress quick and easy, although you may prefer to install the software manually (not as hard as you might think).
- Do they offer a WordPress-specific hosting plan? Providers who know WordPress will be able to give you better support.
- Do they have an email address or phone number you can use to contact them if you need to? Some companies hide behind their support systems, and if you’re not getting the help you need there, you need an alternative.
- If you contact them to ask questions about their services, do they reply? Does their reply make sense or is it full of jargon?
You might have some questions of your own. And you may pick the right provider before getting to the end of this list. If I had to choose one of those questions above all others, it would be reviews. Find out how other people rate them.
After all, you know the power of reviews for your books: it works the same way for hosting providers.
Good luck finding hosting and getting your author website set up!