A self-hosted website is a must-have for solo entrepreneurs and small businesses. Sure, a strong social media presence is important, too.
But don’t let that be the sole source of your web traffic (and your income). The old adage “don’t put your eggs in one basket” also applies to your web properties. In this article,
I’m going to show you why you need a self-hosted website. I’ll also share my criteria on how to select the right web hosting company for your expert website (and yes, my personal recommendation, too)!
But first, what is a self-hosted website?
Self-hosting means having full control over every aspect of your website. Yes, it’s certainly a challenging undertaking. But, in my opinion, the benefits more than outweigh any initial difficulties you’ll encounter.
3 components of self-hosting:
1. Domain name
Your domain name is your website’s address. It can be YourName.com or YourSmallBusiness.com. In my case, my domain name is Rogier.live.
2. Your website
Your website is what people see when they type your domain name in their browser or when they click on a link in Google. For instance, your website can be any of the following:
- A simple one-pager introducing people to your brand and your services
- It can have a few landing pages like you see on my site
- A blog where you publish your thoughts and opinions
- A web shop or eCommerce site with an easy checkout solution
- Your course website with its own community or forum
- Or, anything you want it to be really!
3. Web hosting
Your website is composed of many files – HTML files, images, audio files, documents, etc. All these files need to be stored or hosted in a safe location – this is your web host.
Here’s a quick analogy:
- Your domain name is your house address.
- Your website is your house.
- Your web host is the land underneath your house.
As you can probably tell, the quality of land where you build your house is very important. You want to build your house on a good piece of real estate. The same thing goes for web hosting.
There are literally thousands of web hosts to choose from. You don’t want to build your site on a poorly managed web host with security issues, slow load times, downtime galore, and more.
How to select the right web hosting company: 5 essential features
There’s no such thing as a perfect web host. The truth is that each web hosting company has a list of pros and cons, just like most things in life. That said, for your expert website, these are 5 of the most essential web host features:
1. Free SSL certificate
SSL stands for ‘secure socket layer.’ It’s the s that comes after http:// on a website. A website without SSL will only show http on the browser bar, but if you have SSL installed, then your web address will be https.
An SSL certificate is necessary for online course websites and when using a checkout solution like PayPal or Stripe. Fortunately, many popular web hosting companies, like Siteground, offer free SSL certificates. So, that’s one less thing you need to worry about.
2. Fast, knowledgeable support
Some web hosts will make you pay for tech support. But in my opinion, a good web host will offer at least some level of technical support. This is especially important for non-tech savvy entrepreneurs who may need help with some issues. Many companies also have a robust knowledgebase to help users solve common problems on their own.
3. Staging environment for your WordPress website
I personally love this feature. A staging environment is great for helping you build beautiful, functional websites without worrying about breaking or destroying it! WordPress is notorious for this – a simple update to a theme or plugin, and your whole site can come crashing down. This isn’t something you want to happen to your site, especially when you’re already getting tons of traffic!
4. Free website migrations
If you already have an existing website, and you’re looking to transfer to a better host, then it’s extremely useful if your new host offers this service. Manually moving your website files from one host to another can take hours (and there’s risk of you doing it incorrectly, too). Fortunately, some hosts (like Siteground) employ ‘migration experts’ to welcome new customers!
5. Daily backups
A website backup is important. Without one, you risk losing your entire website with just a single malicious attack from hackers or bots. Can you imagine how you’d feel if you lost all your hard work in one fell swoop? Yeah, me too. I’d be heartbroken. And disappointed with my web host. Get hosting from a reputable company that offers daily backups, like Siteground.
And my recommended web host is…
Siteground. If you read the entirety of this article, you probably already saw this coming. But you know me, I only recommend products and services I personally use. I’ve been a Siteground customer for years now and can attest to the quality of their service. I’m currently on their GrowBig plan which lets me host an unlimited number of websites all for a low monthly price.
Right now, I have my own website, a WooCommerce course, and my partner’s website – all in one account. This plan helps me save a lot of money in hosting costs. And the good thing is, I can always upgrade my account anytime I want to!
Now, in addition to the examples I’ve mentioned earlier, here are a few more memorable experiences with Siteground:
- They helped me setup a new WordPress website with Elementor and WooCommerce already pre-installed (saved me tons of time!).
- They fixed and resolved a serious hacking problem on one of my sites (this level of service isn’t normal for most hosts).
As you can tell, I’m a huge Siteground fan. They tick all the right boxes for me in terms of selecting the right web host for my websites.
A lot of work goes into building a website your audience will love. The right domain name, your site’s design and overall functionality, and yes, even where you host your website.
Now that you know how to select the right web hosting company, the next step is for you to start developing a strategic website success plan.