Having an online presence must be a vital part of your business plan. The internet creates a space for persons around the world to congregate for business and/or pleasure. More than 50% of the world population is already online. So, it should go without saying that if you are serious about growing your business or personal blog, now is the time to create your website. Whether you are planning to build your own site or hire a web developer, you will need website hosting services in order to publish your website online. The purpose of this article is to help you understand everything there is to know about web hosting. This way you can be confident in the web hosting solution you choose.
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What exactly is Web Hosting?
Web hosting is a term that refers to the physical space that stores your website and the necessary connections required for others to gain access to and use your website. This space is located on a server(s), which can either be on physical machines or created virtually.
Types of Web Hosting Services
There are a number of website hosting options. In fact, each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, which you should consider before selecting one to host your website.
Shared web hosting
With this hosting option, you share all the resources on a server with multiple websites that also reside on the same server. This includes storage space and bandwidth. Shared hosting is the cheapest web hosting solution. In addition, it is great for beginners, bloggers and small businesses that don’t handle customer’s personal information.
- It is Cheap
- limited resources
- Security Concerns
- Insufficient Configuration
Virtual Private Server
A Virtual Private Server (VPS) is a step up from shared hosting. It’s often referred to as an ideal mix of shared hosting and dedicated server. That is because it allows you to control and customise your server as you would with a dedicated hosting plan yet with the simplicity of shared hosting. It also falls in the middle as it relates to price.
With VPS, even though the main server is shared with other websites, each user gets their own private space on their own virtual server. Although the physical server is shared, you are entitled to your own bandwidth and resources.
With VPS, you have the option of choosing between managed VPS and unmanaged VPS. When it comes to Managed VPS, you usually pay a bit more and the web service provider oversees the running of your server. With Unmanaged VPS, you are in charge of the complete running of your server. It is less expensive than managed VPS.
- Cheaper than dedicated server
- Customisable in allowing you to pay for just the features you need
- You get dedicated resources for your website
- More control over the configuration of your server with virtualization software
- Better Privacy and protection than Shared Hosting
- More expensive than shared hosting
- Server Resources may not be properly allocated
- Requires more technical knowledge
Interested in VPS hosting services? Check our powerful virtual private hosting plans here.
With dedicated servers, an entire machine is dedicated entirely to your website. This is one of the most expensive website hosting options; with it, you are guaranteed 100% of all the server resources.
With dedicated hosting, you can configure the server to meet your specific needs. Making it one of the most reliable, secure and fastest performing hosting solution. Dedicated hosting is a great option for larger businesses that require more speed and storage.
- Great performance which influences high SEO ranking
- You have total control over your server
- Guarantees a higher level of security
- It’s capabilities and resources are limited only by your budget
- Increase Uptime
- Dedicated servers are expensive
- They require a great deal of technical knowledge
Learn more about dedicated hosting from this article where we debunk popular misconceptions about this service.
Cloud hosting works by connecting several machines together that collectively share the resources that power your website. It works almost in reverse when compared to VPS hosting. With VPS hosting one machine is used to create several virtual servers whereas with cloud hosting several machines work together to create more virtual servers that are shared across them. Your website will be unaffected should one server crash. That’s because there are several other servers connected to it.
- Cloud servers result in less downtime
- Automatic access to the latest technology
- Stored files accessible from anywhere via Internet connection
- Great Disaster Recovery solution for businesses by providing a second copy of important files.
- More vulnerable to cyberattacks
- No access to data without the internet
- Many cloud storage services provide specific bandwidth allowance
- Inability to manipulate your files locally
5 Important Web Hosting Features to Look For
Grasping the basics of web hosting means understanding the importance of data storage, bandwidth, uptime and their impact on your website. And now that you understand the four common types of web hosting options, it’s time to learn about the features to look for before purchasing a hosting plan. Bear in mind that these features vary based on the web hosting company, and the plan you select.
Understanding these web hosting features will help you figure out how to choose the best web hosting provider.
1. Data Storage
This refers to the amount of space you have to store pages, images, video, files, etc. Another key point to note is that you measure the storage space in gigabytes (GB) or terabytes (TB). It is for this reason some hosting plans differ in price. In fact some Hosting providers may even offer unlimited disc space. Whenever this happens, the space limitations are shifted from your website to the universal resources of the server your website is on.
Bandwidth refers to the speed at which data is transferred between your website and site visitors within a specific time. The goal is to have high traffic on your site, however, as the number of persons visiting your site grows, it will require more bandwidth. Higher bandwidth allocations make it possible for more visitors to access your website simultaneously while maintaining good user experience. Lower bandwidth connections result in delays, slow loading times, and even errors.
Many hosting providers offer plans that include unlimited bandwidth. The limitations of bandwidth are moved from your website to the universal resources of the server that houses your website.
If you have a new website, it’s possible you won’t need the highest bandwidth right away. Simply choose a plan with the one that meets your traffic needs and website content.
3. Domain Registration and Free Email
Many of the best web hosting companies offer both domain registration and free email services. The email service should also allow you to create multiple domain names under the same account. That’s because as your company grows you may need more company email addresses. Also, it’s easier to manage all your emails in one location, because setting up a new account or each domain can be frustrating.
4. SSL certification
Secure Socket Layer (SSL) is a security certification that adds encryption to your website in order to protect your personal information, and the personal information of your site’s visitors. Major website hosting services will provide an SSL certificate. However, you can also purchase it from third-party security companies.
If a web hosting provider doesn’t offer SSL certificates or does not have a strong SSL certificate, you should probably consider another option.
5. Web hosting backups
A web hosting company should offer backups, as this is a safety net should you lose your primary site data. You should ensure that all your website and company files are backed up properly on the hosting server. With a credible web hosting backup solution, you can relax knowing that in a worst-case scenario you will be able to restore your website.
There’s no way around it, your company needs a website and it requires web hosting services to go online. However, this is not a decision you should rush into without first doing your research. First, you need to be clear on the type of web hosting that’s best for your goals. Given the points above, create a checklist of the features you want. Then finally, use a reputable web hosting company with hosting plans that meet your requirements.
What are your website goals? Also, what kind of web hosting service are you interested in? Now that you have thought about it, you should have a better idea of what you need. For further reading, learn about the main differences between VPS and Shared web hosting in this article.