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When you set out to start your first CashCrate blog you have a choice to make. Do you go with one of the free blogging platforms and get a totally free blog or do you buy a .com domain and pay for hosting?

Many people start out with a free blog from Blogger and that is fine as you can make just as much money from that as you can with a blog on a domain you pay for. If anyone tells you otherwise, they are either clueless or lying to you. Getting your blog to the top of Google’s search engines is what makes you money and not what platform your blog is on.

The only problem with having a free blog is that you don’t own it.  Having your flagship blog on a free platform like Blogger means that you don’t own your own blog and it can be suspended or deleted by Blogger (Google) at any time. Although this is unlikely if you play by the rules and don’t break their terms, it is unsettling knowing that all the work you have done to create a quality blog can go down the drain in an instant. If you start a blog and start earning money with it, it is nice to know that you own the blog. It belongs to you and you control what happens to it.

If you build your blog up correctly, it can be a source of CashCrate referrals and other affiliate  income for you for many years to come. It is something that you should want to protect as it is really an asset. For this reason, you will always see many people recommend you buy your own domain and get your own hosting so that you will own your blog free and clear. Another reason to own your own blog on your own domain is that you can sell it down the line to someone else. If all you have are blogs on the free services, you can never sell them.

The hosting company I use for this blog and all my blogs is HostGator. If you do an online search for opinions about Hostgator, you will undoubtedly find many more positive ones than negative ones. If you poke around on some Internet forums, HostGator will always be mentioned as one of the top 2 or 3 hosting companies. My experience has also been 100% positive and I am glad I chose them over some of the others.

There are many hosting companies to choose from and when I say many, I really mean a lot. They spring up all the time and advertise low rates and great service but many of them do not have a proven track record. HostGator is one of the biggest hosting companies and one of the most reliable and that is why I decided to use them. The main problem with the fly by night hosting companies is that you may have downtime with your sites. That is the #1 problem I hear complained about and with HostGator that has only happened once in two years and it was something we were notified about before hand. When your site is down, it just disappears and it is panic time so with HostGator I don’t worry about that.

With any hosting company, you want to know that you can contact a live person that will help you if you need help. I have had trouble three times now where I needed to talk on the phone to a real person. In each of those cases, I was able to contact HostGator and speak to a live person within minutes who was knowledgeable and answered my all of my questions. In each case, we got the problem resolved. Knowing that a reliable company with real people is there if you need them is very important when you pay that monthly fee. Your websites will become a source of income for you and you need to feel comfortable with your hosting company.

I use the Baby Croc plan that allows me to have as many domains as I want all for the price of $7.95 per month. You can get a cheaper plan at $4.95 per month but that will allow you to have only 1 website (domain). The Baby Croc plan is what most people should get and it is a plan that you will most likely never outgrow. Again, you can have as many different blogs as you want (separate domains) on that plan all for $7.95 per month. HostGator is the only web hosting company I would recommend because it is the only one I have ever needed to use and the word on the Web is that it is indeed one of the best.

I want to emphasize again that you don’t “need” to have your own domain and blog to make CashCrate referrals. You can make them with a free Blogger blog too, if you know what you are doing. At some point though, if you become successful and start to make money, you may wish you had started with your own URL and hosting so that you would actually own your blog and all the hard work you have put into it. Remember, with a free blog from Blogger or Weebly or wherever, you do not own your blog. That means you can never sell it and it can be suspended or deleted by the staff and you may have no recourse.