What is web hosting and how does it work for my website?
Every website needs two parts, a hosting service where your files can be stored and executed as well as a domain name, which tells the browser where these files can be accessed (ex. www.yourwebsite.com). When you start your search for the right web hosting service, you’ll quickly notice that there are dozens of reputable options […]
Apr 23, 2018 | 12 min. read
Every website needs two parts, a hosting service where your files can be stored and executed as well as a domain name, which tells the browser where these files can be accessed (ex. www.yourwebsite.com). When you start your search for the right web hosting service, you’ll quickly notice that there are dozens of reputable options at your disposal, which is why it’s important to assess your website goals and needs in order to determine the right web hosting solution for your business, as this is a key component to the success of any website. Web hosting can have an affect on your website performance and speed, uptime, and the amount of resources and server space your website has access to. If you have a large website that draws in a substantial amount of traffic, a basic web hosting service may not be enough to support your growing website needs. By identifying the goals that you have for your website, you can more effectively ascertain which web hosting service will be the right fit for you.
What is Web Hosting?
Web hosting is an essential service to any website, especially when taking the overall performance of the website into account. Whether you own a business and are attempting to create an effective web presence or you are an individual looking to create a personal website, web hosting is a service that allows you to store the website files and make your website accessible on the internet.
The providers of this service are the companies that host your website online. Depending on the service you choose, the web hosting provider will often offer you a variety of web hosting solutions while also offering support to assist you in troubleshooting any website issues that you run into, such as downtime where your customers are unable to access your site (which can and will happen!)
All of the information involving your website, such as the code you use for the web pages and features of your site, will be hosted or stored directly on servers that are owned by the web host. When a prospective customer clicks on your website in a search engine or enters your website URL in their browser, the customer’s computer will connect to the server that hosts your website in order to obtain access to your web pages.
There will invariably be issues that occur with your website as you go about trying to bring in new customers, which can include everything from your website going down briefly due to too much traffic or the pages taking a long time to load properly. These problems can cause your customers to leave your site and will often be unlikely to return, which is why you want to make sure that the hosting service you select has the expertise and tools necessary to deal with these problems. Most web hosting companies offer a variety of different plans (with varying levels of server storage, resources, and support) to fit within the needs of your business.
How Much Does Web Hosting Cost?
Web hosting costs vary widely depending on the resources and server space that your website needs. While these services can often be as little as $1 per month, it is also possible for them to reach as high as $100+ each month, which depends entirely on your expectations of growth and website performance. If you expect your website to be popular and bring in an average of 5,000 page views per day, you will need to have enough service space to account for this number of users, as limited server resources will lead to slow loading times and possible downtime in which your customer cannot access your website.
At the end of the day, your business needs to decide what its goals are and what resources are required to effectively support your website and online growth. If the metrics and data that you’ve studied cause you to believe that your website will quickly gain new customers, it’s important that you take this growth into account when selecting a web host.
Where Can I Get Web Hosting?
Depending on your website platform and your specific requirements, you may or may not need a web hosting provider. Typical “do-it-yourself” platforms such as Squarespace and Wix provide canned solutions that often include web hosting. With these services, you can host your own website with the tools that are available through the platform. However, you should be aware of the the fact that these services are typically limited in capabilities, as businesses quickly outgrow the basic features offered by these platforms. If you don’t expect your website and business needs to change much over time, these solutions may be the right fit for you.
For custom solutions and complete control over your own website, you will need a hosting solution to store the website files and provide the necessary resources for the website. There are a wide array of web hosting services available for you to select, ranging from inexpensive services with minimal features to more robust and advanced services that can accommodate the needs of a larger website. If your web hosting needs are minimal, there are numerous low-cost providers that you should consider, including GoDaddy, SiteGround, and HostGator.
GoDaddy Web Hosting
GoDaddy is among the more popular hosting services around and has become a quality service that you can count on, particularly in regards to their stellar customer service. They offer three basic types of hosting that include shared web hosting, virtual private servers, and dedicated servers, which get progressively more expensive as you go along. Whether you pay monthly or via an annual commitment, the cheapest option available with GoDaddy is their Economy basic shared hosting package at less than <$10 per month. With this plan, you’re provided with a free domain name if you don’t already have one, 100-gigabytes of storage, unlimited data transfers, and the ability to host a single website. If you have multiple websites, you might want to consider a more expensive package. They offer Windows and Linux-based servers and are known for having great uptime.
SiteGround Web Hosting
SiteGround is another low-cost hosting service that offers a large variety of hosting plans for you to consider. All of their plans make use of SSD drives when storing your information, which ensures that speeds are always high. Each account with their service is provided with a free SSL certificate that helps with security and SEO, while their three types of plans can be divided into cloud hosting plans, web hosting plans, and enterprise hosting, the latter of which is the most expensive and comes with the most features. Their web hosting plans start from just under $4 per month with their basic plan offering 10-gigabytes of space and a wide range of basic features like free site transfer and free website builder. Their basic service is designed to accommodate up to 10,000 page views in a month while their premium web hosting plan can support up to 100,000 visitors each month.
HostGator Web Hosting
As for HostGator, they are regarded as one of the better low-cost web hosting services available, due primarily to their inclusion of numerous types of hosting plans to account for a variety of different websites as well as some of the best uptime rates out there. Along with their standard WordPress hosting, VPS hosting, and dedicated hosting packages, they also offer several cloud hosting packages that will keep all of your website content and information on cloud servers, which are known to be much faster and more scalable than physical servers. If you’re considering a cloud package with HostGator, their packages include hatchling cloud, baby cloud, and business cloud, the first of which offers a single domain, 2-gigabytes of memory, and a 2-core CPU. If your business is larger, the business cloud package offers an unlimited number of domains, 6-gigabytes of memory, a 6-core CPU, a free dedicated IP address, and free SSL encryption. They also offer 24/7 online web chat and telephone support, which is essential when you want to make sure that you have as little downtime as possible with your site.
If you’ve identified your website goals and objective and have found that more advanced servers are necessary to ensure that you get the resources you need and that the website performance remains optimal at all times, there are a range of providers that can serve these needs well, including Media Temple, Amazon AWS, and Microsoft Azure.
MediaTemple Web Hosting
When it comes to Media Temple, they offer extensive web hosting services to accommodate any kind of website, application, or blog. They offer their own managed WordPress plans, shared hosting plans, and VPS hosting plans while using Amazon AWS servers for their cloud hosting plans. One of their premier services is the option of managed VPS hosting, which means that the hosting services and any website emergencies are handled directly by their in-house engineers to allow you to focus on other aspects of the website. Their basic plans start at $20 per month, which provides you with the usage of up to 1,000 e-mail addresses, 1-terabyte of monthly bandwidth, and the ability to host up to 100 websites.
Amazon Web Services Web Hosting
As for Amazon AWS, they are considered to be among the best in the business for offering robust hosting services. They have data-centers worldwide, which means that your website can be hosted in any area of the world that you want it to at a reasonable speed for the customer. Their services are fully compatible with any content management system, from Joomla to WordPress, while their web hosting solutions are designed to dynamically scale to your website needs, which means that the resources they provide can grow automatically when there’s a huge spike in traffic and will shrink back down once this spike has ended. A unique aspect of their service is that they only charge you for the resources you use, allowing you to avoid any up-front costs or contracts.
Microsoft Azure Web Hosting
With Microsoft Azure, you’ll be provided with web hosting services that are handled by one of the largest and most reputable companies in the world. Both Windows and Linux platforms are supported by their hosting services while auto-patching is provided to immediately handle any necessary fixes to your site. They have over one million servers situated in many areas around the world, allowing your customers to quickly and effortlessly access your website no matter where they live or work. They offer seven web hosting plans that include free hosting, shared web hosting, basic hosting, standard hosting, premium hosting, and isolated hosting plans. Save for the first two plans, the remainder of these plans allow you to host an unlimited number of websites or applications. They are also known to provide exemplary service at all times.
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