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Creating your first blog is an exciting adventure for any new blogger, but it comes with a variety of challenges, such as choosing the topics or subjects to cover, building an audience and hosting your blog. One of those demands needs to be addressed immediately   web hosting. You need to know what you want and the right questions to ask of your new host. The most important criteria include security, space, speed, uptime, cost and support.

Security
You need to consider several security factors when you re ready to start a blog for profit. For example, if you plan to accept credit cards for services or products you sell directly from your blog, you need to choose website hosting that offers shopping carts as part of the hosting package and secure sockets layer (SSL), which encrypts data sent to and from your website. This means that if a hacker tries to intercept the data while it transfers, the information is useless to them. The best hosting companies also offer secure shell (SSH), which allows you to safely connect from your computer to the server hosting your website.

Once you get your blog going, you re going to have gigs of data and pages of design that is essentially your bread and butter. If a hardware or software failure or an outage results in a loss of data, that can be detrimental to your business. You can easily lose readers if they follow links to old blogs and those links are dead or broken. Servers go down unexpectedly, and sometimes this can result in lost data. Web hosts that offer backup services are vital to bloggers. Most web hosting providers give you the option of daily, weekly and monthly backup services. If anything goes wrong with your site, your web host should offer restoration of your site, which puts everything back to normal from the last time the host backed up your data.

Space & Speed
Your new blog requires constant attention, whether you re adding new posts on your chosen subject, new design elements to your website or useful plug-ins to make your site better for your readers. Waiting several seconds for a page to load can seem like an eternity for a reader who wants access to information as soon as possible. It s important that your web host can meet your site s needs as you grow your audience. A site that s heavy with multimedia needs lots of server space for you to store the data and bandwidth so your readers get fast loading and response times when they visit your site.

Uptime
As long as your website is up and running, you have the potential to attract new readers who could become loyal followers of your blog. If your website won t load because a server or connection to your server is down, you re potentially losing those readers   and money. The best small business web hosting companies share their uptime statistics so you can get an idea of how often you may have to deal with downtime.

Although many web hosting businesses claim close to 100 percent uptime, it s not always the case when you have to choose lower-priced shared hosting plans. You can ask web hosts what the maximum number of clients is per server and get a better idea of how congested their servers are, to an extent. Your site could be placed on a server that houses only 11 other websites, but if those sites are giants that pull in lots of traffic every hour, that could slow your site down. Similarly, if you re on a server with 99 other sites, but they re all small blogs that don t garner big traffic numbers, you could be just fine.

Cost
Starting a new blog can be pricey when you consider all of the services you need to begin: web hosting, website design, marketing, social media presence. Some of these require money, while others require your time   either way, it s a cost to you. Shared web hosting is one of the most affordable options when you re just starting out. Look for a web host that gives you options to start small but that expands along with your blog s audience. Most web hosting services offer a handful of shared hosting options that are low-cost. Cheap web hosting is harder to find as your site s needs increase and you need to graduate to a virtual private server (VPS) or a dedicated server. However, this means your blog is successful and you should be able to spring for the higher-priced plans.

Support
Whenever you rely on a third-party company to manage any part of your business, you re going to need to contact the support team. Whether you have questions about your bill, using the cPanel features to manage your site or technical issues that arise from time to time, you re going to have to email, call or chat with a customer or tech service representative. It s important to find a hosting company that offers as many options of contact as possible and to choose the hosting service that offers the longest hours available; many web hosts offer 24/7 support.

You have a lot of work ahead of you as you create your blog and build your audience, but finding a supportive, quality and affordable web hosting service should be the easy part. Read about the best web hosting companies in our review, and compare the services each company offers so you can find the host with the most for you and your blog.

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