A website is basically your affiliate marketing home.
You need a website to create and post your content while providing your potential customers with all the information they need—about you and your offers—to make sure they’re making the right purchase.
Running a website isn’t as simple as installing WordPress and starting to work, however. That doesn’t mean it’s difficult, either; you only need to consider that you need to host your website before you start doing anything else.
If you want to WordPress for your blog, it might be tempting to use WordPress.com for free hosting. You must remember that’s just a subdomain for your site, and having that “xxxx.wordpress.com” extension can really mess up your branding.
Hosting your website is only complicated if you want to buy your own servers and do everything yourself. The most common—and efficient—approach is just to pay for a hosting service.
That leaves us with only 2 steps: getting a domain and finding a good host. Today, I’ll help you with that, so if you’re hesitant about making a choice, you’re in good hands.
How exactly does hosting work?
Hosting is fairly self-explanatory. Traditionally, the concept of hosting is mostly synonymous with “housing”: keeping someone or something in your property. Hosting guests or a party if having them take place in your home, and parasites need organisms that can host them.
Well, web hosting is basically the same, but everything happens via data and communications. Hosting companies house websites and content in their own servers; this makes it possible for your content to exist on the internet.
Before hosting your website, you need to get a domain name. It’s an address that directs to your content, and by hosting this address, all the content related to the domain is hosted in the same server.
That doesn’t mean all hosting companies work in the same way. Some use better technologies than others, and not everyone offers the same customer service experience, and web security depends on company-specific practices.
Your web host also plays an important role when it comes to SEO for your website. Loading speed, responsiveness, and stability are very important for Google, and your web host is majorly responsible for ensuring these criteria is met.
With that in mind, let’s go into my personal recommendations for your own web hosting needs.
My 4 picks for the best web hosts
Now, everyone has their own needs. Maybe you prefer good speed over enterprise-level security, or perhaps you favor outstanding customer support over affordable prices. Then, we have how affiliate marketing has its own needs for a website.
You can definitely be an affiliate marketing and make money from it without using a website. I wouldn’t recommend you do that, and if you’re reading this, then you already made up your mind about creating a website.
With that in mind, you need to know what exactly you should expect from a web hosting service. Hosting your website is as easy as creating an account and paying a subscription, but that doesn’t mean you can pick the first option that comes up in Google and pay for it.
You want your hosting company to offer the most modern practices right now. That results in better stability and responsiveness, so you should always take a look at the information available about a host’s technologies.
Good criteria includes using SSD instead of HDD for storage, good bandwidth—unmetered if possible—and security measures against malware, spyware, bots, and similar attacks.
Finally, you want your hosting company to offer stellar customer support. Especially if it’s your first time, having someone to help you out in case anything goes wrong is a big lifesaver.
If you’re using WordPress, which is the most popular approach, then you also want to go for a WordPress hosting plan. This option is fairly different from other types of hosting; for instance, it means installing this CMS is a lot easier—like Bluehost, which offers a single-click WordPress installation.
All my recommendations below follow these criteria, and they’re services I—or people I know—have used to host their own affiliate websites.
Bluehost is the main recommendation for WordPress users, so it’s very likely you’ve already seen its name elsewhere. It mainly targets smaller businesses and individual entrepreneurs, and that’s what makes it amazing for beginner affiliate marketers as well as advanced ones.
With that aim, the company has ensured their service is as intuitive as possible for people who’ve never hired hosting before. Publishing your website is seamless, and the same goes for designing it, thanks to its free themes for WordPress.
You can get a Bluehost plan for just $2.95, and all of their other plans are still very affordable—even more so if you compare them to the competition. Making it even more cost-efficient, it comes with a free domain name for all plans.
Other great features include a website builder, unmetered bandwidth and storage, and support for all the email accounts you need. It’s also an extremely reliable service, and if anything goes wrong, you have full-time customer support ready to answer any question you have.
It’s its reliability what makes it my top recommendation for both newcomers and experienced entrepreneurs.
HostGator is also an extremely famous hosting service, and this translates into several million domains currently being hosted in its servers. It’s also known as a very affordable solution for entrepreneurs.
Just like Bluehost, you can also get a free domain and unlimited storage and bandwidth. HostGator has its own website builder, too; it comes with thousands of templates for free, and it’s a very reliable platform guaranteeing almost 100% uptime as well as a refund period of 45 days.
Its main disadvantage is the fact that it’s not very intuitive; its cPanel is a lot better for experienced entrepreneurs, and beginners might have a tough time finding their way around the dashboard.
On the other hand, you have access to a powerful backend with lots more features than many of its competitors. This feature makes HostGator a surprisingly flexible solution for entrepreneurs with tech knowledge.
You can also install several marketing apps with a quick installer. Speaking of marketing, one of my favorite bonuses with HostGator is its $100 credit for both Google and Yahoo advertisement.
You can also become an affiliate for HostGator, making $50 for every person you refer to their service, so you can basically make HostGator pay for itself.
DreamHost is a hosting service focused on business ventures, and it offers better features that you’ll have a hard time finding in other services. These additions include SSL certificates, privacy security, and a domain name for free.
Granted, it’s a noticeably more expensive alternative to the other services in this list. Thankfully, it’s more than made up by still offering unlimited bandwidth and storage as well as 100% uptime guaranteed with free credit as compensation if you ever experience anything less than that.
Besides, the refund period for over 3 months is also a great incentive to try out the platform.
You just need to keep in mind that its backend doesn’t work via cPanel; it uses its own dashboard, but it’s optimized for entrepreneurs’ needs. You can install all the plugins and tools you need for either your website or your marketing, and it closes the deal with excellent analytics and reports for your website.
Just like HostGator, it also offers a $100 credit for Google marketing.
My last recommendation is another common one: SiteGround. It’s a perfect fit for WordPress users thanks to its WordPress-focused functionality, including single-click transfers for your domain from any other host.
With SiteGround, we’re back to the easily affordable side of this list. It starts off with slightly less than $4 for the cheapest plan, and you’re still getting a free domain and builder for your website. You also get your SSL certificate and email accounts for free.
Sadly, it’s also the only limited option in terms of storage space: capped at 10GB for the cheapest plan. Still, it’s more than enough if you run your website correctly, but it’s an important consideration.
SiteGround is another very friendly platform for beginners, so if you want something other than Bluehost that’s still intuitive, then SiteGround is a great choice. The backend panel works with a simple visual editor, and both customer support and onboarding is stellar as well.
While you don’t get any marketing credit like with HostGator and DreamHost, SiteGround offers amazing SEO features as well as in-depth analytics integrated right into your websites.
Hiring a hosting service
Once you’ve chosen a hosting company, the hardest part is essentially done. Hiring your service is easy, regardless of which one you’re going for.
You just need to choose a plan that fits your budget and needs. The rest is just creating your account: personal data, your address, and payment details to cancel for the service. After you’ve paid your hosting term, the rest is just editing your site with WordPress.
Depending on your hosting company, you’ll also get a nice visual builder and free themes to make your web design process a lot easier.
Choosing a hosting service isn’t something you should take lightly. Everyone has their own needs, and that’s why I made sure to offer a varied list with different feature sets to accommodate different goals.
The only universal rule I could recommend for choosing a hosting company is customer support. You might value some features more than others, but if something goes south, having a good helping hand is always a good thing.