Many bloggers start out with a free hosting platform, usually Blogger or WordPress.com. These platforms provide the perfect way to “dip your toe” into the wonderful world of blogging without investing any money in it. You can get started really quickly, and all you need to worry about is writing your stories. However, after you’ve been blogging a while someone usually says to you “You should go self hosted”. There are many great reasons to go self hosted, but for many bloggers it’s a big leap, and a scary one too. The first thing you have to do is to select a web hosting company. There are many such companies out there, and it’s very hard to choose between them. I think bloggers who want to move to self hosted find this a big barrier to getting started, and this is where personal recommendations come in. The best way to find out what a hosting company is like is to talk to someone who already uses them. When I wanted to change hosting company, a year and a half or so ago, I asked around to see which companies my fellow bloggers would recommend, and one name was mentioned again and again – TSOHost. I had already see this company in action when a fellow blogger had her site taken offline because she exceeded her monthly bandwidth allocation. She cried out for help on Twitter, TSOHost answered, and her blog was moved to the new hosting and back up and running the same day. Now that’s great customer service!
Since I signed up with TSOHost I have been so impressed with their service that I have recommended them to everyone I talk to about self hosting. Eventually they noticed me constantly being nice about them on my social media platforms, and they invited me down to their new, custom-built server centre and offices in Slough to meet them all and to see how they worked. I had a great day, recorded a little customer testimonial video for them, and got to eat pizza with all the team at the monthly team get-together. They were a welcoming and friendly bunch, and meeting them in person cemented my opinion of their ethos and great customer service.
Here’s why I think TSOHost are the best hosting company for UK Bloggers:
1. UK-based customer support: The phone lines are manned from 9am to 11pm 7 days per week (excluding public holidays), and during that time you can call and the person who answers the phone is a UK based support technician who knows the service status and can help you with your query. No call centre, just direct dial to genuinely helpful people who sit in the same office as the developers and the server technicians.
2. Free migration: Many bloggers just don’t know where to start when moving to self hosted WordPress. Simply log a support ticket and the TSOHost migrations team will do all the hard work for you, and get your blog all set up on your shiny new hosting account. For free. I don’t know any other UK hosting company that will do this for you.
3. Price: TSOHost’s hosting packages start from £14.99 per year. If you think going self hosted is expensive, then think again. And another thing with TSOHost – all their hosting offerings use the same platform – if you’re paying just £14.99 per year your blog is sitting on the same hardware with the same speed connection to the Internet and the same resiliance as someone paying for one of their more expensive offerings. (And having seen their data centre I can vouch for their resiliance!)
4. Reliable service: The real test of a hosting company is whether they can keep your blog up and running. And I have had no complaints in that regard. Really. I have only ever raised one support ticket in the time I’ve been with them, which corresponded to my blog suddenly running slow one evening, and the problem got resolved very quickly. (Not only that, but I was able to call for an update at 10.50pm and speak to the support guy looking at it for me). I don’t believe any hosting company can manage 100% availability, but from what I’ve seen the team at TSOHost work very hard to get as close as they can. I know they host blogs much bigger than mine which need to be able to cope with much more traffic, and from what I’ve seen, they’re managing it well.
5. General helpfulness: Another reason bloggers worry about going self hosted is that when you’re self hosted you have to be your own first line support. Your blog got hacked? Many hosts will say that it’s down to you to sort it out on your own. But TSOHost will help you – they will restore your site from a backup, and work with you to get you back up and running. This is the same spirit that I saw when they helped that blogger move so quickly, and it comes from the fact that the guys who started the company are still very hands on, still sit with the team, and still do a lot of the “doing” themselves.
So there you go, that’s why I use TSOHost to host this blog (and several of my other projects!). And I’ve got one more great reason for you to sign up with them – they’ve given me my own special discount code. Simply use the code geekmummy during checkout and you’ll receive a 10% discount on your first year’s hosting bill. Please note this is an affiliate code so I will receive a small commission payment too, but that is absolutely not why I’m recommending these guys. I’m recommending them because I’m a very happy customer.
Disclosure: I was invited to the TSOHost offices, and TSOHost paid my travel expenses. They even fed me pizza (although that was for a team event that they were having that I managed to gatecrash!). I am under no obligation to write about them, and all opinions are my own and are 100% honest. If you make a purchase using my discount code of geekmummy I will receive a small commission payment.