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Web hosting is vital for your business and, more specifically, your website. Web hosting can be confusing to new business owners, so we have taken the liberty of explaining the basics you need to know and outlined them below.
What is web hosting?
Simply put, web hosting is an online service that allows your website’s content to be accessible on the internet. If you purchase a hosting plan through a web hosting provider, you are technically renting space on a physical server to store all of your website files and data.
A server is a powerful computer that holds all the files that make up your business website. It is the physical space where your website “lives.” To break it down even further, you can think of your website as a collection of files that includes text, images, and other elements. The server is the filing cabinet where those files are stored for safekeeping.
When someone visits your website, they are connected to the server, where they can then access your website. If someone says, “my website is down,” that can mean many things. But something could be going on with the server on the backend.
If you are a business owner or just an individual with a web page, you want your audience to have the most seamless experience possible. Therefore, you will want to seek the most reliable web hosting company that is constantly checking its servers to ensure everything is running smoothly. This is also known as uptime or the amount of time a server is online.
It is possible to purchase, run, and maintain your server to host all your websites, but it can be extremely costly and even complicated. Most website owners opt to pay a company, known as a website hosting provider, to rent space on their servers. The provider specializes in housing and maintaining servers. Security is another main reason a business owner seeks a web hosting provider. Website hacking is widespread and can have detrimental effects if it happens to your website. Reputable web hosting providers should be well equipped with multiple layers of security measures in place to protect their clients from hackers, cybercriminals, and other potential threats.
What are the different types of web hosting?
As all websites differ in content and purpose, different web hosting platforms exist to accommodate everyone’s needs. The type of web hosting that is best for you and your business will depend on the type of business you own, the amount of website traffic you anticipate, and how many visuals are on your site.
These are the different types of web hosting services, explained:
- Shared hosting plans: Shared web hosting plans offer a single server that is shared among multiple users. This is the most common service that business owners choose to host their websites. It is best for small businesses with moderate traffic and is usually the most affordable option.
- VPS hosting: A VPS (virtual private server) is a single physical server divided into multiple virtual spaces and used to host individual websites. It is best for businesses with a significant online presence, lots of website files, heavier traffic, and those that want to spend more in exchange for more storage space, server resources, and control.
- Cloud hosting: Cloud hosting is a virtual server that runs in a cloud computing environment and stores data across a “cloud” or network of servers. It is best for small- to medium-size websites that may require more resources than shared hosting and VPS hosting. Cloud hosting is known for being able to handle sudden traffic increases.
- Dedicated hosting: This type of hosting is dedicated to one single client. It is ideal for big businesses with very high traffic volume that need a lot of resources and can afford a dedicated server.
- Ecommerce hosting: This is a specialized type of hosting designed explicitly for Ecommerce, like online stores that need shopping carts, inventory management, and payment processing features. This is best for online stores or retail stores selling their products through their website.
- Reseller hosting: Reseller hosting lets a client purchase a large amount of server space, divide it up, and resell it to other customers. This is best for individual businesses that have the technical knowledge and want to earn extra income by selling or renting server space.
What essentials should I look for in a web hosting provider?
When you are shopping for the best web hosting provider, there are a few essentials that you must consider:
- Domain name registration: All websites need their own domain name. Many hosting providers offer domain registration with their services. Typically, additional fees are associated with registering a domain name, so choosing a service provider that will include these fees in their overall package price is a good deal. Some web hosts like GoDaddy and Weebly offer domain registration and website building.
- Speed: Speed can tremendously affect customer experience when visiting your website. Customers will want to see a fast-loading website, which is essential when shopping for a web hosting provider. Google factors speed into its overall score of a website’s quality which affects SEO. Look for companies that use Solid-State Drives (SSD), a Content Delivery Network (CDN), and have servers in multiple locations, contributing to faster speeds.
- Storage: Choose a provider with large enough server space to accommodate the size of your website. For example, a shared hosting space will suffice for smaller websites that are text-heavy with a few pages. In comparison, larger websites with many high-resolution images and streaming features will require a lot more server space, like VPS hosting or Dedicated server hosting.
- Bandwidth: Similarly to storage, bandwidth can vary from site to site. A website with thousands of visitors daily will require more bandwidth than a website with only a few hundred visitors daily. Usually, shared hosting services will advertise unlimited bandwidth and are geared toward smaller businesses new to launching their website instead of a more prominent, seasoned company with many visitors who view their website daily.
- Scalability: When a company is scaling, its storage and bandwidth are expected to expand to accommodate growth. Some types of hosting, such as cloud hosting, allow the company’s websites to increase resources immediately upon sudden growth. If your website has outgrown a shared server due to scaling, you will need to upgrade your service to either VPS hosting or dedicated hosting.
- Uptime: Uptime refers to the web hosting service provider making routine check-ins to ensure that their servers are running as close to 100 percent as possible. Some hosting options offer excellent technical support and 100 percent uptime guarantees, which should factor into your decision when signing up.
- Email accounts: Having dedicated email accounts with your domain name is vital to establishing your business’s professionalism and authoritativeness. Each hosting package will outline the number of email accounts you can have per website.
- Client support: As with any other service provider, having a reliable and accessible customer support system for web hosting work is crucial. If your customers are having trouble with your website, you will want to ensure that they have the proper resources and can easily find them on your website when needed.
What web hosting terms should I familiarize myself with?
Here are a few web hosting terms that you can familiarize yourself with when looking for the perfect service to get a hosting account:
- Web server: A large computer that provides data to other computers by running specific software.
- Hosting service provider: A company that provides web hosting services. Many companies offer paid plans and free web hosting options.
- Internet protocol (IP) address: A unique numerical address that identifies your website and connects visitors from their browsers. Your IP address is stored on the domain name system (DNS), which is used in tandem to direct traffic to your site.
- Domain name: This is your website’s specific name entered in the search bar to access your website. You can pay sites like GoDaddy to register your domain.
- Uptime: Refers to the time a server is up and running to as close as 100 percent. Additionally, downtime (the opposite of uptime) is vital to know.
- Bandwidth: A measurement of how much data can flow through a connection in a given time.
- WordPress: This website builder allows individuals to create websites and blogs. It has connections with many web hosting providers, which will provide cost-effective WordPress hosting services.
- Cpanel: It’s an abbreviation for control panel. The control panel is a graphical interface to publish websites, organize files, and create email accounts.
The bottom line.
Web hosting is required for business owners who intend to have a website. Many options and apps offer various add-ons, configurations, and services. When shopping around for the right web hosting service, there are a few things to keep in mind, like the size of your website, the amount of web traffic you receive, and what you intend to do with your website.
Are you looking to start or grow your business? We can help. Come visit us over at Entreprenuer.com today for more information.